Is it Okay to Celebrate Everything?

Is it Okay to Celebrate Everything?

Posted by Stephanie Hastings on May 16th 2018

This year the Awarding You sales team members have a wall calendar which assigns a topic to celebrate each day. For example, in this “Celebrate Everything” calendar yesterday was “Chocolate Chip Day” and today is “Drawing Day.” It provides excellent water cooler conversation which helps the team grow from an interpersonal relationship standpoint. Today Jan showed off her granddaughter's latest drawing and others chimed in on people who or moments which have touched them through the art of drawing. We are a positive group to begin with, and this helps reinforce the importance of recognition and appreciation of all things great and small.

Dino Drawing by Alli (age 5), photo credit: Karla Griesbaum

But when it comes to celebrating a team’s professional success, what is the right amount?

On the pro-celebration side of the topic, the consensus is all about the importance of goal setting, establishing commitment to goals, and taking time to identify and recognize what has been accomplished. In this Washington Post article written by a professional development expert, the arguments are simply this:

  • Celebrating marks progress
  • Celebrating allows you to set more aggressive goals
  • Celebrating builds confidence and breeds gratitude
  • Celebrations are an invitation to reflect and become more attuned to yourself and others

On the other hand, over-celebrating can back-fire and demotivate individuals and teams to reach goals. There are plenty of funny memes out there which imply the annoyance felt when “everyone gets an award.” There is a wiki-how article about over-celebration that uses the analogy that once a plant flowers, it dies. In another article, it is warned to be careful about celebrating partial wins and to not focus as much on what has been accomplished, but to focus on what is left to accomplish.

I sat down with our owner, Gary Tinker, who has been observing the trends and successes within the industry for over 25 years and this is what he had to say:

“The most successful awards programs are those which are iconic in nature."

"These are programs in which the awards are desired by the recipients, and the recipients feel a sense of competition and want to be able to say they received the award. If you create an award program that awards to often or too many minor accomplishments you can dilute the effectiveness of the awards and reduce the glory in receiving the award.”

Gary recommends creating an annual awards program and when doing so think strategically about what you are awarding and why. He also says established award programs can grow stale and it is important to re-evaluate your strategy every three years.

The most common award types we sell to our customers fall into three major categories:

  • Performance Awards
  • Anniversary Awards
  • Retirement Awards

Based on the popularity and commonality of these award types, it is safe to assume it is generally acceptable to formally celebrate work anniversaries, employee retirements, and of course to celebrate meeting goals and strong performance by your business, your teams and individuals. There is certainly not a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to awards programs and determining the right amount and frequency of work performance celebrations. No matter your approach, we can help you with all your awards and recognition needs. Contact us for award and recognition ideas for your next celebration, no matter how small, and we can work together to breed gratitude.