Years ago, I had an opportunity to consult and guide a company to elevate its human capital development strategies. One of the conversations was how employees could give honest and open feedback. When I enquired about their current systems; mostly, it was through a feedback box that was placed at one of their team facilities building. After my first discussions, we took a walk through the building, and I asked their HRM to open the box; what we found was dead spiders and cockroaches and a few pieces of paper. I wasn’t surprised though the HRM was shocked and gave a grim look to his assistance. After the walkthrough, I said the first thing we need to do is to remove that “feedback box”; throw it to the dustbin. No one is going to give you any feedback through that box.
The next day, during their town hall, I let the HRM announce that if their employees have any feedback or want to improve service, they can visit the HR Office or speak to them directly. The announcement came more of as an invitation and hope. They also then form an employee committee, covering representatives from each department. Following this development, in the same year’s employee engagement index; on the attribute of open feedback sharing mechanisms, they achieved 80% vs below 60% previous years. I remember having a conversation post-survey feedback, the importance of celebrating small wins; win to remove that feedback box 🙂
Often what we see in many organizations is that we wait for the monthly town hall or gathering to celebrate and announce all the wins during the past 30 days or more; By then it’s already late, and some of those achievements are outdated. Great companies are outstanding in creating a culture of celebration. The celebration brings momentum and increases the speed of organizational performance. It creates profound energy, and everyone feels appreciated and recognized.
Late Jack Welch, former CEO & Chairman of General Electric was considered as an extraordinary leader when it comes to working place celebration. He emphasizes a lot to his leadership on making small victories big victories by celebrating them on the spot and making a big deal about it. When I used to manage a Volleyball Team, we would lose now and then, and most of the time we would be defeated by a team that we never expected; the debrief of these matches will start with a conversation on “let’s discuss what did we do well”. I remember when we begin that conversation, all players feel energetic and get involved in the conversation and the post-match action plan becomes quite teamwork.
Here are a couple of ways you could create a culture of celebration within your Teams. Do these daily; Every day 365 days.
Instant Recognition programs: Many companies are good at conducting monthly Townhall events and make a big deal about it; that’s all right and should be continued. Often what is missing is the instant recognition. Instant recognition, could be a small handwritten note, an email, a pat on the back, face to face conversations following an achievement or reaching a target, internally created “star cards” or “good job cards”. One of the great attributes of exceptional leaders is they instantly recognize their employees, regardless of the moment or situation.
Daily Messages of Inspiration: be consistent in your daily messages of communication. Communicate organizational values daily. Share notes of motivation to inspire your people. These are steps you can take to create a culture of celebration. Encourage your teams to post inspirational messages, stories to your internal communication platforms. When they share, be the first one to like it and comment. October 2019, I had an opportunity to visit the PIKE Place Fish Market in Seattle, USA, (The World’s Famous Pike Place FISH CO, where FISH! philosophy story was created), they use their daily team huddle by asking a question from everyone; “What did you do yesterday to make our customers happy?” with that everyone will share few seconds of customer stories and feedback; that then gets celebrate during the day.
Recognize and share Stories of Employees: Successful stories of your employees, feedback shared by your customers should always be shared on the spot. Make it a habit to spread these messages daily. Post those to your social platforms and have your employees and brand ambassadors share it. Create and engage in a culture where everyone in your organization is encouraged to ask for positive feedback or ways to improve.
Use digital platforms to recognize: You can create a digital notice board or use any e-platforms to communicate with your employees daily. If your Team hit the daily sales target, celebrate it and give a virtual pat on the back to everyone in your organization. This can be done through your digital platforms. Workplace by Facebook, Yammer, Beekeeper, or StaffConnect is famously used around the world. If you cannot afford one of these, create a WhatsApp Group within your Team and use that as a messaging platform; What matters is not what you use; it’s how you use it. Imagine towards the end of the day, your employees receive a message from you stating how appreciative you are of them for their work and achieving the daily sales or target for the day. There is no doubt in a culture like this, your employees will put 120% effort the next day.
You can apply the same on a personal level. Celebrate every victory. Feel good when someone compliments you. Have the habit of putting together all the small victories to make one big victory. If you celebrate small wins daily, you will build a level of energy that will help you to get through the day. Remember, no one is going to do it for you; you have to do it.
Be an encourager; be someone who lifts the spirit of others by celebrating small victories. That’s what we need more in our community.
What are you doing today to celebrate small wins?
About the Writer: Afeef Hussain is Keynote Speaker, Coach, and a proud Hotelier and member of the LUX Resorts and Hotels and Advocate of People and Culture