Entrepreneurs are by nature focused, and typically very driven. When racing towards a greater vision, it is important these individuals pause to reflect and take stock. In slowing down and recognizing the milestones, leaders can enjoy the successes, and share these moments with their team.
2016 HR strategies are expected to prioritize employee engagement, in order to improve retention. As unemployment levels in the U.S. continue to decline, businesses will fight for employees in an increasingly competitive environment. Yes, this means the average salary is expected to exceed the average 2 percent rise of prior years. But also, this means leaders will be pulling out the big guns to ensure their teams are satisfied, and won’t stray.
Maintaining happy employees is closely tied with keeping open lines of communication, this includes recognizing the highs, but also the lows. As a new year begins, with new goals and milestones, the act of celebrating successes not only forces entrepreneurs to slow down and acknowledge their achievements, it can also be a powerful tool in engaging employees.
Celebrating successes is, according to Forbes, “the secret to long-lasting morale.” This could be on an individual level, recognizing the great work that one person has done, or as a team, enjoying the moment of big win.
There are many ways to celebrate achievements that outshine the traditional bonus structures, and familiar “employee of the month” award. Groupon celebrates employee work anniversaries by giving their employees a bright green Adidas jacket – complete with personalized nickname. Zappos’ coworker bonus scheme allows employees to award an extra $50 each month to those who they feel have gone above and beyond. Here companies can get creative, it doesn’t need to be grand, or costly. A company picnic, a day off work, or even a slack channel to continue celebrating even the smallest wins all go a long way to defining a culture of recognition.
Delivering critique can be somewhat harder. Forbes also explains that of the average 60,000 thoughts every day – 95% are the same thoughts, and 80% are negative. Leaders need to be careful in the way in which values are reinforced and criticisms are delivered. This can be particularly difficult when it is in the case of an underperforming employee – avoiding cliches, and using a little tact and humility to motivate individuals is necessary.
These four startup founders share their best pieces of advice for business leaders in delivering constructive criticism and celebrate successes in a working environment.
Share Each Milestone With The Team
Share any type of milestone or win with the team. This might seem obvious, but I’ve experienced many organizations where small and sometimes large wins were never recognized in the moment, and were instead forgotten. We slack everything – using public channels we call “feedback, stars and pipeline” to celebrate, and to also deliver constructive news. – Jason Hamilton-Mascioli, Testlauncher
Transparency Creates Trust
Whether it’s good news, bad news, or just constructive criticism, it is best to be as transparent as possible. Transparency creates trust, which is of course critical in any relationship. – Jon Stolmeier, HappAppily
I have learned over time to embrace the mistakes. Mistakes happen and there’s no replay button. But mistakes can be remedied – when dealt with head on – and I’ve found that addressing the underlying issues that may have caused a mistake has helped make our company better almost every time. – John Lanza, Snigglezoo Entertainment
Don’t Make Criticism Personal
We celebrate successes as a team, each accomplished milestone is reflected on the whole team. As for bad news, we try to contain it to the affected team, to not affect the morale of the whole company. For constructive criticism, we try not to make it personal and work closely with the employee by revisiting his progress, helping to create a framework in order to avoid future mistakes. – Ali Benmoussa, Searchub
Effectively reviewing milestones and targets, and where appropriate celebrating, is an important part of the journey towards a grander vision.
Negative experiences reportedly have a longer-lasting and more profound impact than positive, as social psychology professor Roy F. Baumeister discovered in his study, ‘Bad is stronger than good.’ Tread carefully – a good leader will balance the good with the bad, set goals and benchmarks and challenge an individual, without pushing them over the edge.