Employee Engagement

Engaging Your Team: How to Celebrate Your Team’s Wins—and Losses


Gamification in the workplace not only encourages in-the-moment acknowledgment but creates an opportunity for leaders to develop added incentives for wins—and even losses. Many businesses encourage celebrating everything: a win because it reinforces good behavior and a loss because it acknowledges the hard work that goes into a project as well as the opportunity for growth.

Celebrating achievements of any team is crucial to company success. Here are a few ways successful businesses relish in their accomplishments and growth potential.  

Don’t Break The Bank

Rewards for wins shouldn’t hurt your bottom line. At Influence & Co., a content marketing agency, employee wins are acknowledged with “the belt”–a pro wrestling-style championship belt that puts a funny spin on an important achievement. Plus, who doesn’t want to run through the office singing “We Are The Champions”?

If pomp and circumstance isn’t your team’s thing, take inspiration from Red Velvet Events. At their weekly team meetings, one employee is required to pass “the troll” to another employee while offering praise of their work in the previous week. The troll is handed off each week and is a small, but powerful, sign of individual accomplishment.

If a tangible gift is more appropriate, take queues from how people spend their time. In the age where everything we enjoy is on a smart device, gift cards to Amazon and iTunes can go along way. Some companies want to encourage their team members to take time for themselves by treating top salespeople to a movie or even a trip to feed the sharks. With Blueboard, employees can create their own rewards and experiences.  

Words Are Powerful

Everyone wants the CEO to know their name for a positive reason. One company explains that whenever there is a game taking place among the sales team, the VP of Sales is copied on emails relating to the competition and invites the winners to eat lunch with him.

To spread good news even faster, Slack is a quick and convenient way to keep management in the progress loop. Knowing that the VP is aware of and appreciates their hard work is a powerful motivational tool.  

Have A Little Fun

A celebration shouldn’t feel like a burden on everyone’s time and schedule. A few quick moments of joy are enough to get the dopamine flowing. Whenever something exciting happens at Ninua, the team does a synchronized jump.

ON24, a cloud-based webcasting and virtual communications software, encouraged their sales team to increase their call volume by broadcasting the sales performance of 75 representatives across ten teams. Whenever a call is made, a meeting set or an opportunity created, a digital gong sounds off automatically, and the entire global sales team instantly sees the update. Much like Pavlov’s dog, a simple gong sound serves as a reminder that a goal was achieved.  

Spread The Love

In addition to your sales team helping you reach your goals, your customers also contribute to the team’s success. Apply a Kickstarter-like logic and give a gift to top customers whose orders help the team beat sales records. It can be as easy as sending a personalized card or a gift card to popular places like Peet’s Coffee, Target, or even a Mastercard.  

Let There Be Cake

At Spotify, when their team pushed their limits to complete a project, the People Operations team used this opportunity to experiment with a reward system in order to motivate the entire team. The experiment. which involved “Peer Appreciation Tokens” or PATs, ultimately did not succeed. When asked to evaluate the program, employees at Spotify “outright hated it.”

Despite the many reasons the PATs didn’t work, the People Operations team bought cakes for anyone who was involved in the experiment, and took the time to enjoy the failure that brought them concrete results in how their team responded to different rewards. At the end of every project, week, month, quarter, etc there’s plenty to celebrate and plenty to grow from.

What will help your team continue to push past any obstacles is knowing there will always be an opportunity to take a deep breath with their colleagues and appreciate all they’ve worked toward, regardless of the outcome.  

Whatever the reward may be, make sure it’s one that fits and works for your team. Try a few different trials of the types of incentives you can bring to your team, or take a poll. Your team’s happiness is the key to your company’s success.