Corporate “You are guilty” culture rather than celebrate our work achievements.

Why do we complain more and blame more, instead of looking for reasons to celebrate within the company?

This article refers to an important element in the Continuous Improvement program, which is to increase the involvement of employees.

The scenario: On Monday we are celebrating good work and the results for the last quarter of our colleagues in the Quality Department. Below I would like to share with you some ideas and tips on how to celebrate this event as a part of the Continuous Improvement Program.

We underestimate employees too often and really we do not need much to appreciate them. It can be a shake of hand, you may go and become interested in what the employees have done, you can give a bottle of Coca Cola (although there is too much sugar),coffee and cookies or shake hands with the CEO.

It’s just about recognizing and celebrating our work.
This is a very important element of building relations and running a company. I would like to encourage the Management Board to integrate seriously in order to achieve this goal. It will be a clear signal to the employees that we appreciate them.

There are different categories of prizes. We can divide them into two main parts. Material and non material as well as personal and family ones. Here are some examples.

Perhaps this could inspire us to become more involved in the company’s celebrations!

Introduction to the celebration. I do not count the bonus (discretionary or calculated) as a celebration tool. A bonus is a payment for something. It is important to distinguish between payout and celebration. By the way, a quote from a line worker I heard last time: ” Mark, you know this bonus system was supposed to increase productivity and our motivation and you know what? That thing called A bonus has demotivated all of us. How often have you heard such an evaporated response from employees?- probably not once. My advice is when a person at the top, including HR or the Chief Financial Officer, is sitting on Excel with a great deal of concentration in order to establish a smart bonus system, that is already a bad signal. So much for now. Coming back to the celebration.

Material celebration
Consider: gym ticket for 3 months, Empik/Tesco vouchers for 100-150 PLN, pizza evening with employees, weekend in the spa, tickets to the theatre, free meals in the company for the next month, etc.

Non-material: the CEO’s handshake. A card from the Management Board/President thanking him for his good performance and commitment to be a good role model for others. Short meeting in the conference room over coffee, by the boards, a Coke and cookies, 15 min max. Training/conference, promotion for an employee as a “Lean Champion” or “Lean Leader”, and a pin that distinguishes the employee, t-shirt, cap, backpack or action “Plant a tree”. The employee receives a tree from the company, which will be placed on the company’s premises, with his name and surname next to it.

The celebration can be divided into personal and family ones:

A thing that a person/employee gets: coffee meeting, cookies. Coca-Cola bottle (I really don’t have a stake in this company). A thank you card from the CEO. Backpack. Invitation of an employee to take part in the A3 project (operator/leader of the line).

Something which the team gets for themselves: a microwave, a kettle, a desk, a pizza evening, a meeting with the CEO. Things they would like to have at work as a team.

This thing an employee can share with his family (it has great added value): Voucher to Empik/Tesco (because he can buy something for his wife, child or himself), cinema tickets for his family. Pizza voucher, family evening. Weekend in the spa or in the mountains.

The important thing is to determine when we celebrate…
My proposals:

1. When an employee or team has achieved their goals;

2. When a company completes its quarterly results (at least one important target);

3. When we finish the A3 project;

4. When it’s Christmas ( sharing a special wafer);

5. When the summer ends (barbecue);

6. Sponsoring trips for children during holidays (very appreciated);

7. A basket of delights (sweets, etc.) for the employees’ children before Christmas and Easter.

Low-cost and engaging
There are plenty of ideas for low-cost gratuities, but they are really building engagement in the company. It is important to ensure that all of this is well thought out, properly communicated and done with sincerity and willingness. Perhaps it is worth adding here for skeptics that the very fact that we celebrate in the company does not mean that suddenly we increase the engagement of employees. What I wanted to emphasize in this article is that celebration is rare and is just one of many more important elements to carry key indicators such as productivity and engagement.

Oh, and I just remembered one more thing. It is not about the so-called “company get-together” or – what is recently very popular in Poland – two-day workshops / company conferences, where employees meet at a company reception and party too much. This is not a celebration in my opinion. This should be something more than that.

These are only my reflections on how to celebrate within the common-sense principles of the Continuous Improvement Programme. With these small steps we show that we care about our employees and this is some form of concern and demonstration that we simply run the business in a people-friendly way.

If we want to build a unique company, reach the results beyond the standards, we have to start with ourselves! and this is a wide subject . From my experience, a well-planned “Building a Leadership Culture in Lean” programme contains everything a company needs to develop in a sustainable way.