Motivate Employees by Celebrating Milestones

How to motivate employees and keep them engaged is a question management teams continue to ask themselves. Long gone are the days when Joe joined the firm right after graduation, was promised a pension in exchange for loyalty, and stayed for 20+ years at the same company. Now, the reality is searching for jobs has […]

How to motivate employees and keep them engaged is a question management teams continue to ask themselves. Long gone are the days when Joe joined the firm right after graduation, was promised a pension in exchange for loyalty, and stayed for 20+ years at the same company. Now, the reality is searching for jobs has become more like a dating game. It’s not enough for a job to offer a livable salary and standard medical benefits. Employees ask themselves whether the brand matches their values, what the company culture is like, and how the organization will contribute to their personal and professional growth. 

 

However, figuring out the best practices to motivate employees isn’t just about getting the best talent to choose your company over others. A Forbes article states highly-engaged teams are on average 21% more profitable and have 59% less turnover. Earlier this month, we explored how employees could motivate themselves intrinsically and extrinsically. Here are some tips on how companies can motivate employees by celebrating milestones effectively.

Make sure the connection is clear

Motivate employees, Hardly

While my motto has always been the more celebrations the better, the event must be linked to a specific achievement or mission in a work setting. It’s like when you tell children, “Good job!” without telling them what it is for. They don’t know which behavior to repeat. So, it’s mucho importante to make sure whether it is a gift, party, or pat on the back, you provide a clear explanation to go along with it. 

 

Secondly, when celebrating an individual, team, or everyone in the organization, connect the dots to how their actions fulfill the mission. Oftentimes in the daily grind, we lose sight of the big picture, but zooming out reminds employees why they do what they do. By mixing the extrinsic motivation with intrinsic feelings of being part of a greater purpose, you keep your employees doubly engaged.

Celebrate personal milestones

Hardly team

Another way to motivate employees is to show you see them as whole people, not just workers. The best way to do this is to celebrate personal milestones. 

 

Try congratulating them on anniversaries, baby showers, and accomplishments related to their hobbies. One time at work, my boss took the team out for lunch to celebrate a colleague who had just run a marathon. Doing this shows your employees they are valued and cared for in more ways than one. Additionally, well-rounded employees who have a healthy work-life balance are less likely to burn out, break down, or quit. Celebrating non-work-related achievements, even in small ways, is a great way to encourage this balance and implement a company-wide “life first” policy.

Don’t go big or go home

Motivate employees, Hardly

As a manager, you might feel overwhelmed by the idea of having to make a grand gesture every time a team member does something celebration-worthy. However, when it comes to motivating employees, the level of thoughtfulness is more important than the level of extravagance. 

 

Something as simple as buying an employee’s favorite breakfast sandwich and leaving it on his or her desk with a note goes a long way. Want to celebrate the whole team but don’t have the budget for an office party? Give them an early Friday as a way to say thank you for their hard work.  

Encourage colleagues to celebrate one another

Motivate employees, Hardly

Remember, as a manager, it’s not all on you. The best strategy to motivate employees is to create a company culture of gratitude. By encouraging employees to celebrate their colleagues’ hard work and achievements, appreciation becomes woven into the fabric of the company. This creates a breeding ground for productivity, high performance, and loyalty. Just like in the Olympics, many athletes give it their all for their teammates. What drives them is not wanting to disappoint one another. They encourage one another to be their personal best. 


 While these tips are sure to motivate employees to continue doing great work, there is a bonus. Celebrations offer an opportunity for colleagues to connect in new ways and even become friends. In a recent meeting, a leader at Hardly expressed that one of the keys to having a happy and healthy work-life was comradery within the company. So remember, colleagues that play together, stay together!

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Hardly is a team dynamics platform that matches people with teams/companies based on both skill and culture fit.