What do innovative companies have in common? They take the time to celebrate and recognize employees.
Workplace celebration is a key driver of employee innovation. Coworkers who cut cake together work well together!
So don’t treat workplace celebration planning as an afterthought — you’re missing out on important opportunities to strengthen teamwork, engage employees and motivate excellent performance.
Read on to find out why workplace celebration is so critical to workplace innovation, plus examples of companies who do it right.
What Makes a Great Workplace Celebration?
Imagine a team working for months on a project, overcoming challenges along the way and brainstorming creative ways to meet client demands, and after the project is finished — nothing. Without a word of thanks, everyone is rushed off to the next project.
Now imagine the company pays for a victory party with treats, but management stays in their offices with doors shut and doesn’t participate in the festivities.
A workplace celebration that’s nonexistent or ignored by leaders sends a bad message — that the company is doing employees a favor by even throwing the party.
But a workplace celebration isn’t a favor, it’s a chance for everyone to connect. It’s also essential to reinforcing the importance of great work. When employee success isn’t recognized and celebrated by the whole company, innovation is devalued.
Now imagine a workplace celebration where leaders are active participants and praise the team in person, letting them know exactly how their hard work contributed to company successes. The celebration is a bonding experience for everyone, and employees are inspired to get back to work with renewed enthusiasm!
An effective workplace celebration:
- Brings everyone together.
- Commends individual and team contributions.
- Recognizes all wins, big or small.
- Happens regularly, not just once a year or at the holidays.
- Includes heartfelt, personalized gratitude from management.
- Is part of a comprehensive recognition program that’s directly inspired by company culture.
How Workplace Celebration Fuels Innovation
Celebrating feels good! It’s fun, engaging and blows off steam. It’s also crucial to the creativity and innovation that drives business success. Here’s how:
1. It builds trust and camaraderie.
Innovation involves a certain degree of risk, and when employees feel comfortable with each other and trust each other, they’ll be more willing and able to take those risks. Workplace celebrations let employees get to know each other as people, not simply as coworkers.
Some companies even reward risk-taking by itself! Tata Group is “one of the few companies that recognizes the innovative ideas and bold attempts behind what most see as failures. The company’s ‘Dare to Try’ award celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit that pushes employees to take risks,” writes Entrepreneur contributor and Namely co-founder Matt Straz’s article, “4 Ways Innovative Companies Are Celebrating Their Employees.”
2. It gives your brain a much-needed break.
Work without break leads to burnout, not innovation.
“Wore-down workaholics don’t produce the highest quality content, [and] you want your employees to be fresh and excited to be at work,” according to the Young Entrepreneur Council column in Forbes, “6 Ideas to Promote Innovation in Your Workplace This Year.”
A workplace celebration allows employees to kick back and clear their heads, then return to work refreshed and invigorated.
3. It reinforces the value of innovation.
Business doesn’t grow without innovation. When you celebrate employee innovations, you’re reinforcing the value of innovation to your company — and reinforcing innovative behaviors for repeat performance!
Be sure employees understand exactly how their work influences company success — and celebrate it. According to Straz, content marketing agency Influence & Co. does this by publicly rewarding employee achievements with “The Belt,” a professional wrestling-style championship belt “used to recognize employees who make creative contributions to the growth of the company.”
4. It recognizes the “profound joy” of accomplishment.
Honoring the joy of accomplishment is one reason software analytics company SAS is routinely tops the World’s Best Multinational Workplaces list. The Fast Company column, “How SAS Became the World’s Best Place to Work,” explains why:
“The first time [CEO Jim] Goodnight programmed a computer, as a college junior at North Carolina State University, he found profound joy in the accomplishment. He knew he was developing software that other people would use and benefit from, and it gave him a terrific feeling.
In that moment, Goodnight intuited that everyone thrived on doing significant things, and from knowing their work had inherent value. And ever since, he’s seen it as his role to ensure his employees take great pride of ownership in all the work they do knowing ‘what they produce will be used all over the world, by people all over the world.'”
Honor employee accomplishments and celebrate alongside them — they’ll be inspired to grow and innovate again!
Make Every Day a Workplace Celebration!
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