I always enjoy chatting with you about the things that are happening in your business and your life, and hearing your questions and providing recommendations.
These conversations also remind me of how similar we are in our experiences and ideas. This post covers a topic I talk about often but haven’t written much about. The topic is “celebration” – what it means to your employees and your business.
Financial Compensation Is Not Enough
When it comes to employee compensation — benefits, bonuses, vacation time and even training — I believe that anything you provide your employees that your competition can also provide is not an advantage, but basic ‘table stakes.’ In other words, if they can get it from your competitor, what makes it so special at your place? And what keeps them from getting a bit more from the next offer?
It can be discouraging. We’ve all had key employees walk in and resign because they received an offer they could not resist (which is code for “they gave me bigger table stakes”). It’s rarely about opportunity for growth and development. What they usually don’t tell you (but plays a huge part in their decision to leave) is that they felt they were just not appreciated and therefore not secure in their future with you.
I thought about this conundrum many times over the years. What I discovered is that 99% of the companies don’t do one simple thing that is the antidote to many of their turnover issues. What’s the secret? Simply offering adequate praise and celebrating accomplishments goes a very long way toward providing an employee with a benefit they cannot and will not get most other places. Yes, it does seem simple at first — until you understand human psychology. We never get enough affirmation, praise and recognition. Never. One of the most important things an employee wants is a sense of being important to the company. This creates a greater sense of security, which translates into increased commitment, better effort and lower turnover.
Celebration Shapes Culture
Can you remember the last time you celebrated an achievement with your team? Or went out of your way to do something special for a key employee?
Research shows that celebrating people’s successes, both large and small, can keep your team motivated and build loyalty – to your team and to your company.
Celebrations are an important element of any corporate culture.
Organizations that focus too heavily on deadline after deadline, milestone after milestone — without taking the time to step back and allow people to enjoy their achievements — tend to end up with high turnover rates and often have a negative culture.
And when your culture suffers, your financial performance suffers.
Your people are critical to your company’s success. If they’re your most valuable asset, make sure that you thank them for their work. Sometimes, a “great job” or “thank you” is enough. It’s simple, but it’s not part of the fabric of every company. Paying your employees is not enough.
If you’re not rewarding your people and celebrating achievements, below are examples of things you can celebrate, and ways to do it. You’ll note that several of the ideas cost nothing but a little of your time — don’t let being on a tight budget prevent your from recognizing accomplishment.
Events for Celebration
- Your company’s birthday
- Winning a big account
- Completing something that your team sacrificed for
- Achieving a key metric, such as a customer loyalty goal or retention rate
- Individual awards, like the person who best personifies the company’s values, or provides the best customer service (or any other accomplishment you want to encourage more of)
- Launching a new website
- A well-run meeting
- Completing a strategy planning session
- A personal achievement of a member of your team
- Say “great job” or “thank you”
- Take an individual or team out to lunch
- Tell an individual or team how important their work is to the company
- Invite customers to an open house at the office
- Hold a barbeque or picnic
- Give someone a crisp $100 bill
- Organize a party
- Hold a retreat
- Provide hard-to-find tickets to an event, show or concert
- Send a note of thanks to the employee’s home address so their family gets to experience it
- Drop by their office/cubicle when they are gone and leave your business card with a note on the back
- Send the employee and significant other to an all-expense-paid dinner at a nice restaurant
- Walk around the office(s) and look for ways to connect with an employee
- Have lunch with employees
- Send a birthday card with a personal note and $20 in it – this worked extremely well for me
Remember, every milestone or achievement is an opportunity to share your story with your market, deepen your employee relationships, strengthen your brand, and enhance your culture. Take advantage of them as often as you can; your business will be better for it.