Building engagement through celebration

cel • e • bra • tion   /ˌseləˈbrāSH(ə)n/ noun – The action of asking one’s pleasure at an important event or occasion by engaging in enjoyable, typically social, activity

What is the best recognition you have ever received? Were you given an award or congratulated publicly? Did you find a thoughtful handwritten note on your desk? Did someone take a moment out of their day to stop and say something to you?

There are countless ways that you can be celebrated. But generally, there is a certain type of celebration that means the most to you…and a version that makes you cringe. The best way to recognize Susan may be on a stage with spotlights and a ginormous plaque. On the other hand, Joey might prefer a quiet congratulations given in private. Understanding and knowing the difference between them is key.

How can we intentionally see our coworkers for who they are? Do you know how the individuals you work with prefer to be honored? A great place to start is learning their personal strengths and motivations. Gallup, an international leader in employee engagement research, encourages business leaders to employ Strengths-based development. We get higher levels of engagement and retention when we understand people’s hardwiring and natural strengths. Their strengths serve as a filter through which they perceive life and reveal the motivation behind their behavior.

These strengths or motivations can be divided into four categories: Executing, Influencing, Relational, and Strategic Thinking. Knowing which motivational lens, a colleague operates through, can help you identify specific ways of recognizing them which will in turn increase engagement and belonging.

To sharpen your method of celebrating coworkers, first, discover what types of appreciation are meaningful to each employee and tailor your approach. Second, listen for what exactly motivates them to ensure that the way they are recognized is actually inspiring to them. Finally, find out who you should involve when recognizing or praising this person.

Questions to ask yourself and your colleagues:

  • What is the best recognition you have ever received?
  • How would you like others to recognize you?
  • What type of recognition is most motivating to you?
  • From whom would like to receive recognition?
  • What recognition have you received recently?
  • What form of recognition do you need?

Intentionally honoring the people around you is a sure way to increase engagement and add a positive element to company culture. Find someone to recognize and be mindful of how they would feel most celebrated.


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