Why Celebrating Wins at Work Matters (And How to Do it Right)

Why Celebrating Wins at Work Matters (And How to Do It Right)

By Betsy Finchum | Authority & Thought Leadership

Feb 20
A group of coworkers smile as they group high-five, celebrating an important business milestone.

As a manager, celebrating wins at work isn’t just a nice thing for you to do. It’s an essential step in the goal-setting and completion process.

An uncelebrated team lacks motivation to push through to the finish line. Here’s why — and how you can build a healthy culture of recognition.

The Importance of Celebrating Wins at Work

When you celebrate the big and small wins, your team feels more connected to their goals and to each other. Think about setting a big goal for the year. Celebrating when you’re halfway there keeps everyone excited and focused on hitting that final target.

Giving a shout-out for good work boosts everyone’s spirits. It’s normal to get a bit down when the going gets tough. Having little celebrations along the way helps everyone stay motivated to keep climbing.

For instance, if your sales team lands 20 new customers in a month, treat them to lunch from a place they love. This kind of reward encourages them to keep up the good work.

The idea of getting a reward really speaks to us. We all like the feeling of working towards something and then getting recognized for it. Setting up these small goals and celebrating when we hit them taps into our love for achievements and keeps us going.

Start S.M.A.R.T.

Celebrating wins at work starts with proper goal-setting. I cannot stress enough the importance of creating S.M.A.R.T. objectives for your team. Every goal should be:

  • Specific: An objective like “increase social media followers by 15% in Q3” clarifies success metrics and who is accountable for what.
  • Measurable: Building measurement markers into your goals allows you to track progress and determine when it’s party time. For example, you might allocate a budget for team mani-pedis when your business hits 1,000 customers. Hitting a quantifiable target deserves a quantifiable celebration.
  • Achievable: Choose goals that align with your organization’s current capabilities. There’s no glory in attempting impossible tasks — you’ll never have anything to celebrate.
  • Relevant: Make sure celebrations link back to priorities for the quarter or year. Random pizza parties won’t help your team reach its annual objectives. A celebration only motivates a team when it’s linked to meaningful work.
  • Time-Bound: Maintain momentum using deadlines and regular check-ins. Remember, primitive brains crave the mental security of defined time periods.
Quote: Why Celebrating Wins at Work Matters (And How to Do it Right)

How to Celebrate Wins at Work

Now that you’ve set your S.M.A.R.T. goals, you can plan a celebration.

For workplace celebrations, one size doesn’t fit all. Every party or event should cater to your unique team. A group of introverts might despise rowdy Happy Hours and karaoke sessions, while a group of extroverts craves them.

If you don’t know what environment your team thrives in, find out who on your team does and chat with them ASAP. Together, brainstorm events suited to your team’s personality, values, and interests.

The key is choosing events that are uniquely meaningful to your group so they feel seen, valued, and motivated to crush their next goal.

Remote Work Calls for Remote Celebrations

Nurture connection and community however your team works. For a remote staff, you could send gift cards or clever care packages when milestones are met.

The medium matters less than the message of celebrating progress. Get creative about making your far-flung team feel recognized and motivated despite physical separation.

Celebrating Wins at Work: General Dos and Don’ts


  • Do something out-of-touch, like bringing a recovering alcoholic to a brewery tour.
  • Be inconsistent. If you’re throwing a Christmas party, make sure you can do it every year.
  • Plan lavish celebrations without the budget to support them. Start small, then build toward larger celebrations.
  • Guilt-trip or force gratitude. Don’t hold a prior celebration or reward over someone’s head to manipulate them.
  • Celebrate outside of work hours. Hold celebrations during work hours. Even if a post-work celebration isn’t mandatory, it excludes team members who logistically can’t attend it.


  • Delegate someone to help you execute celebrations, like an assistant or office coordinator. Just make sure to celebrate them, too!
  • Set norms to remove decision fatigue and give your team something to look forward to. For example, we celebrate our team members’ work anniversaries with a gift card. We may do something special to celebrate a major milestone like a 10th work anniversary, but otherwise, a default celebratory act eliminates decision fatigue.
  • Plan a celebration that’s on-brand. For example, if your company manufactures golf clubs, a team retreat to a golf resort would align with your team’s expertise.
  • Make it fun. Friendly competition can relieve stress during tense periods, like the weeks leading up to a product launch.
  • Be generous in budgeting for festivities, but plan within your means. Include a line item for celebrations in your project budgets.
Infographic: Why Celebrating Wins at Work Matters (And How to Do it Right)

Other Tips for Celebrating Wins at Work

Get creative by connecting celebrations back to what makes your team members unique. Find fun, obscure holidays like Administrative Professionals Day or National Doctors’ Day to spice things up.

Or, celebrate your individual colleagues’ quirks. Recognize your team for the many hats they wear outside of work, like single parents, cancer survivors, or bulldog lovers. The more personal, the better.

Also, what accomplishments already exist that deserve applause? Give “Most Epic Excel Pivot Table Creator” or “Meeting Meme Queen” awards in good fun.

To craft appropriate, individualized celebrations, actively listen to your crew. What sparks joy and motivation for them? Capture details about personalities and preferences.

Document these unique characteristics so you can refer back to them for celebrations big and small. Along with details like birthdays and work anniversaries, keep records of pet peeves and favorite snacks. Thoughtful personalization makes recognition resonate.

Most importantly, don’t use sarcastic, degrading humor in an individualized celebration unless it fits the person’s personality and you’re 100% certain they’ll feel known by it. (That only applies to about 1% of people.) When in doubt, don’t.

Use your platform as a leader to honor others, not put them down — especially during a celebration.

The main takeaway? Customize celebrations around what makes your team members shine as human beings.

Celebrating Wins at Work: Final Thoughts

Having great celebrations can really push your team towards the next success. We all like feeling recognized because it meets our need for rewards. Celebrating wins at work intentionally, budgeting sufficiently, and customizing rewards to your specific team fosters a loyal, connected staff.

Now get out there and start popping bottles. Your team has earned it.

About the Author

Betsy is the Head of Operations at Fluxe, bringing with her a wealth of experience in administration, leadership, and customer service that fuels her passion for organization and team development. She manages operations with an eye for efficiency, always ensuring our clients' and company goals are met. Betsy is committed to fostering an engaging work environment and a healthy company culture. Her focus and passion not only lie in managing projects but also in nurturing a team culture that prioritizes collaboration and growth. Originally from Connecticut, Betsy has made Nashville her home over the last decade. She enjoys gardening, being a mother to three boys, and traveling alongside her husband, Brennen.

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