Teams That Celebrate Together, Stay Together

When was the last time your team celebrated?

Perhaps you think it’s not that important? Or you might think you’ve got nothing big enough to bother celebrating. In both cases you’re almost certainly wrong- and ignoring this important gesture is potentially very dangerous for your team’s motivation.

Why is celebrating success at work so important?

The science is clear, it tells us that the idea of making progress is actually the biggest motivator for employees. Not money, not incentives: rather it’s the idea of making progress towards a goal that generally shapes how we feel about our jobs, and how enthusiastic we feel about coming into work each day. It’s what the Harvard Business Review calls ‘the power of small wins’.


Happy young man in formalwear looking at computer monitor and gesturing while sitting at his working place


Therefore, as a manager, it’s vital to alert the team to any progress they are making, however small- as this recognition will boost their motivation, happiness and productivity going forward. This regular practice of celebrating to mark progress is particularly important when your teams are working on long-term projects and can easily suffer a loss of enthusiasm.

Celebration in virtual teams

Those of you that work in virtual teams might think that team celebrations don’t apply to you: after all, lots of you have never met in person, let alone had a work party.

It might sound like a cliché, yet teams that celebrate together often stay together. And in virtual teams you have to be even more careful to recognise and reward making progress as a team than you do in a physical workplace.


Teams That Celebrate Together Stay Together Zestfor 2


Many virtual teams are slowly getting the message that successes need to be marked and celebrated to keep momentum and enthusiasm. But there’s still work to be done in celebrating them in a meaningful way, one that replicates that feel-good, champagne popping in the afternoon feeling of a success in a traditional workplace.

So, how can you celebrate successes as a virtual team?

-Organise a virtual celebration with a conference call- and set the tone to be happy and jovial, not just another work meeting.

-Whether it be champagne, cupcakes, flowers or a gift, get something delivered to the members of your team. Something physical is better than an online voucher delivered by email. Even better, have something that you can all open or enjoy together during the Virtual conference- even if it’s a delivery pizza.

– Your team will probably work better as a team if they get the chance to meet and socialise in person- so if you are able to make that happen once a year, do so.

-Use a project management software that marks progress and small successes, so it’s not difficult to keep track of milestones, large and small.

-Always keep in mind what you would celebrate and congratulate if you walked past this person’s desk each day. Send a congratulatory email alerting everyone to  a recent project success, or share the positive feedback you got from one of the clients. Each success deserves its recognition, and without it, virtual workers often feel they are working in an empty void.

With the end of year bearing down upon us (how does it happen so fast?), this is the perfect time to reflect on the progress that has been made, however small, in order to motivate your team towards great success in the future.

Where will you start?

Until next time,


Julia Carter