Celebrate Success

How to Celebrate Success at Work

6 min read
Lynsey May Sutherland
Lynsey Sutherland

For many of us, celebrating success can feel like a foreign concept, but bringing a different attitude to the table can be a huge boost for employee engagement and morale. 

Celebrations shouldn’t be consigned to our personal lives; they can be part of our professional ones too. Most people understand the joy of celebrating things like birthdays, weddings or other big personal milestones, yet struggle with the idea of making a fuss when it comes to achievements at work. 

Open your teams up to a whole new level of wellbeing and professional satisfaction, by creating an environment where all achievements are worthy of celebration. 

The importance of celebrating success at work

So, what is it about celebrating success that makes it worth the effort? There are actually a wide range of benefits around taking the time to acknowledge and praise professional milestones, large and small. Some big benefits include:

  • Uplifting morale and motivation
  • Reinforcing a positive work culture 
  • Helping to create a sense of worth and belonging
  • Inspiring further efforts and ambition
  • Driving productivity and encouraging career development
  • Contributing to a high-performance culture 
  • Reducing churn by ensuring that employees feel valued
  • Building trust – 90% of employee recognised by a boss trusted them more, according to Forbes

What’s more, according to research from McKinsey, the feeling of being valued is far more important to employees than other benefits. The majority of companies are struggling to get their head around this. 

Feeling that you have strong relationships with your manager and peers is among the biggest motivators for employees to want to stay in their jobs. Feeling a sense of belonging and being valued by their manager and the organisation were up there as the most important factors. 

Celebrating success improves engagement

Celebrating success and making it clear that you appreciate the effort employees put in also helps to improve employee engagement levels. Gallup has a great, short video that showcases the links between employee recognition and engagement.

It’s also worth thinking about the bias the human brain has for searching out problems and challenges. This bias is excellent for helping us solve issues and keep ourselves safe, but it also means that we tend to put a lot of focus on negative situations and areas that need improvement. 

Readdressing the balance to welcome more positive reinforcement can help improve mood overall and quiet that negative bias. 

What kind of successes should we celebrate at work? 

This can feel tricky at first, especially if you’re not in the habit of taking the time to celebrate at work, but there are loads of occasions worth commemorating. They don’t have to be big, either. In fact, celebrating small wins along the way can help normalise the process and change opinions about celebrating overall. Here’s a little inspiration: 

  • The first big win, completed project or successful sale for all new employees
  • Achievements that often slip under the radar, like laying the groundwork for a big deal
  • The successful handling of a tricky situation or problem
  • Any behaviour that closely aligns with company values or exemplifies the kind of culture you want to foster
  • Positive reviews or feedback from customers, clients and partners
Peer To Peer Reward

Tips for making sure you’re celebrating success effectively

While celebrating success is undoubtedly a good thing, you can improve the effectiveness of your efforts by bearing a few important tips in mind. 

Create a celebration strategy

Start off by identifying opportunities for celebration and put time into considering teams and individuals who often go unrecognised. Consider seniority too, someone more junior might need more positive reinforcement than a seasoned executive. Always ensure that when you give recognition, you outline exactly what has been achieved and why it’s worth celebrating.

Get the timing right

If you want to foster the kind of culture that is quick to celebrate success, you need to be consistent in your efforts. Celebrate achievements all year round and offer easy ways for colleagues to celebrate each other – peer-to-peer recognition can help build momentum and increase team bonds. Keep things timely too. Don’t wait for an employee awards ceremony in 3 months’ time. Recognise accomplishments when they happen.

Carefully consider the person being recognised

If you want an impactful programme for celebrating success, it’s essential to consider the personality type and needs of the people you’re planning to celebrate. Not everyone likes a public shout out. Others love nothing more than a moment in the limelight. Tailor your celebrations to suit individuals and they’ll land better. 

Show top-down recognition 

Peer-to-peer celebrations and recognition can be powerful, but the most impactful appreciation comes from managers. According to Gallup, the most memorable recognition is often from an employee’s manager (28%), followed by a high-level leader or CEO (24%).

How to start celebrating success at work

Get your strategy off to a good start by choosing clear goals and benchmarks for what success means and tailoring these for different teams. Success for the sales team will be very different to a win for HR. 

Celebrate growth and learning as well as lessons from failures. Be sure to reward employees for great work with recognition platforms like the one we have at Mo. Remember to recognise both individual and team contributions and look for ways to connect celebrations to your company’s mission and vision.

Provide regular positive and constructive feedback to acknowledge progress as well as celebrating exceptional work. Small wins celebrated consistently can be more effective than splashy one offs. 

Mo can help you stay on top of this – our Assistant feature provides timely prompts to appreciate team members who haven’t been acknowledged in a while. Our Boosts also make it easy to build recognition into your day-to-day rhythms. 

New Assistant Image

Ways to celebrate success 

Once you’ve identified opportunities for celebration, it’s time to start thinking about the various ways to do it. Acknowledgement is about a lot more than a pay rise (not that those aren’t appreciated too). Here are just a few ways you could make a difference and truly recognise employee achievements

  • Personalise recognition through handwritten notes and conversations
  • Organise team-wide celebrations like lunches and virtual parties 
  • Balance spontaneous acknowledgments with planned events
  • A public shout out in all-hands employee meetings
  • An extra special treat, like a paid day off or late starts for a week
  • A small gift (it’s easy to gift with Mo, thanks to our reward credit system)
  • Set up a public praise wall using features like Mo Moments 

It’s also an excellent idea to invite your employees into the process and ask them for their input in planning to create meaningful celebrations. Use Mo’s challenge feature to source ideas from employees and offer them a way to vote on their favourites.  

How not to celebrate employee wins

Watch out for a few common pitfalls, such as:

  • Throwing a tone-deaf party after redundancies or news of stagnant wages
  • Only ever recognising the top 1% of employees and failing to recognise progress 
  • Giving recognition to the head of a team without acknowledging the contributions of their direct reports
  • Only showing gratitude once a year and ignoring all of the achievements and hard work goes in every day
  • Organising a celebration outside of work hours for someone who has caregiving responsibilities

How to celebrate success at work virtually

With so many organisations embracing hybrid and remote working, it’s essential to also consider the ways you’ll celebrate success virtually. Many techniques work equally well online as in the office, including gifts, digital shout outs and one on one conversations. Others will naturally lose some of their impact – online parties are never the same as in-person ones. 

This is where the extra effort of a handwritten note or a small token of appreciation sent to the employee’s home can make a real difference. The extra level of attention and the personal touch is especially valuable when you’re not regularly meeting up face-to-face. 

Transform your culture with Mo

Recruitment Collaboration
Book a free demo to learn how Mo can help you:
  • Improve employee engagement scores
  • Reduce employee churn
  • Build a collaborative culture
Book your free demo

Mo is a new kind of reward and recognition platform that makes it easy for busy managers to meaningfully recognise, engage and connect with their teams.

We equip managers with weekly suggestions to energise and connect with their people, help teams build habits of recognition into their day-to-day rhythms and go beyond simple rewards as a way to motivate staff.

Join companies like SHL, OVO Energy and William Hill in delivering meaningful improvement on engagement results with Mo. Book a free demo today!

Join our Community

Sign up to our monthly newsletter for industry insights, employee recognition tips, and news from the world of workplace digital transformation ⚡️