The Advancing Leadership Blog

Sharing Success: Recognizing the Small Steps that Lead to a Big Win

Written by Catherine Osler, President of TEC Canada

If you’ve made it to the top, chances are that you had some help getting there. Important company milestones or awards are excellent opportunities to recognize the smaller accomplishments that were integral to achieving this success. Not only does it instill a sense of pride and ownership amongst staff, it also helps to build a corporate culture where employees feel valued, appreciated and motivated to reach your company’s next milestone, whatever that may be.

Celebrate company success as a collective achievement
Awards are often given to the head or leader of a company, but are there others who played and important role in the accomplishment?

Consider sharing the news of your employees’ good work – both internally and externally. Doing so shows your employees and the public that you respect and value the contribution that the people behind your company make it to your business. Social media (be it a corporate blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) provides an easy, fast and effective way to publicly share the story of how exceptional employees contributed to a major accomplishment.

Ceremonies often accompany major award announcements, but why not imbue small achievements with a sense of ceremony as well? Karen Jorgensen, a human resources expert who specializes in pay-for-results compensation programs, believes that all public recognition should be turned into a ritual, and that the result can be far-reaching: “The ceremonies you create around people, recognition and rewards send powerful messages that reverberate throughout the organization.”

By celebrating company success as a collective achievement, you communicate to your staff that you notice and appreciate their role in making it possible.

Make recognition and appreciation for good work part of your corporate culture
While awards can act as an excellent springboard (and reminder) from which to show appreciation, developing a deeply-rooted habit of recognizing exceptional work can contribute immensely to your business’ corporate culture and morale. Never underestimate the power of simple gestures. Vistage International Speaker and compensation expert, Catherine Meek, believes that “above all, employers just want to hear ‘thank you’ from their boss.” It is an easy but often overlooked act that carries surprising weight.

Managing by Wandering Around (a term which surprisingly, has its own acronym and Wikipedia page), is another simple way to give employees verbal and visual recognition. MBWA encourages leaders to get out from behind their desks to see what and how their employees are doing. When it is done in a curious and lighthearted manner, it can show that you care and are interested in what your employees do.

Encourage your employees to recognize the work of their colleagues. Some companies develop official programs where employees can reward each other for outstanding performance., but even leaving a few moments during group meetings to give kudos for jobs well done can be meaningful. Each employee is different, so get to know what makes them feel special; one employee might highly value a public showing of appreciation for their work, while another might prefer a quieter form of praise.

Encourage further achievement by providing opportunities for growth
Making continuous learning an ingrained part of your company’s value system is an excellent way to ensure that you stay on top. Ask employees what they are interested in learning more about, and seek out ways to help them achieve it. From providing training, to inviting speakers to present at your company, to sending employees to workshops and seminars, there are many ways to create a culture that encourages continual growth and development. Employees who embody this continuous learning mentality will often want to further their education in a more formal setting, so consider financially supporting their schooling. It is an investment both in their future, and the future success of your business.

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