We are meant to celebrate. It's a given right that many companies don't use to their advantage. Every company that I've worked for has implemented some kind of celebration in its culture, but they were usually far and few in between.
- One company celebrated every quarter.
- Another company sporadically did it maybe six times a year.
- Another company implemented an employee happy hour.
- The largest company I ever worked for had only one celebration a year.
I had a co-worker who once told me, "We should celebrate every day because who knows if we'll be this lucky tomorrow."
She was right. One of us might get a new job or become sick and wish that we had the same group of people to work with. Why not celebrate in small ways to keep the morale of the whole group going?
Here are a few ideas for a mini-party that will only take fifteen minutes.
- Buy ice cream for your team.
- It's cheap and fun.
- Celebrate a birthday with a card and some decorations.\
- Noise makers are always fun. They also let the rest of the office know that work should be enjoyable.
- Tell your team a joke
- Getting the laughter going releases endorphins which induce pleasurable feelings, making people feel relaxed.
- Give hand-written compliments to each member of the team.
- Making people feel special will create loyalty.
- Share a personal story.
- Making your co-workers or employees a part of your life makes you look human and approachable, like someone they can confide in or who can help improve the work environment.
Making the Mini-Party Happen
You don't need to celebrate every day, otherwise you'll run the risk of creating a boring routine. I had a company that tried to implement "Compliment Friday." We would blow up balloons and attach a thank you with each one. The first time we implemented the compliment program, it lasted three months, and eventually it faded away. We tried to re-implement the program and it only lasted for two months. It became a chore to think of some random compliments every Thursday afternoon so they would be ready for Friday morning. I tried to convince the powers that be that they should only do it once a month to build up tension and excitement, but they didn't go for it. The program never resurfaced while I was there.
Whether you are a manager or one person out of a team of fifty, you can create a "mini-party" program if you just take the initiative. The hard part isn't getting anyone on board, but finding someone on the team willing to take control to make sure that it doesn't become a stagnant process.
If you are the manager I suggest that you rotate turns on your staff (and that includes you, too). You can create a sign-up sheet with your name at the top of the list. You'll probably have a few that will sign up right away. Try to encourage everyone to participate, but don't push anyone to do something that they don't want to. Make sure that you allow them a small budget, so they can purchase mini-party materials if needed. Then see what happens. If they don't take to it very well then you probably have to start creating a little motivation for them to do it. Like all great coaches, you will need to build up the event as something that everyone is looking forward to or create a little peer pressure for everyone to join in. If they still don't participate then remind them that it's something that should be fun and it's a part of their job. There is only so much you can do with a downer, and if they fail to come through then leave them off the list in the next rotation and just document it in their file. This will probably only be a select few because most people want to create a fun environment.
Always make rules depending on the team. If you have a team that gets carried away make sure that the party only lasts for a half hour. If your team doesn't want to convene in one place, make sure that they understand that they have to at least attend for a few minutes before they go back to work. Every team will require individual rules that help them understand the "mini-party" system. Some teams will want to do it every week. Some may only want it once a month. Regardless of that you decide to implement, make sure you are consistent. It will make the difference between success and failure.
If you aren't a manager and you want to implement such a program, you will probably do it by yourself for the first few weeks or months, but eventually people will start joining in. I've seen an employee that always threw mini birthday parties for her co-workers and when she left the rest of the team began chipping in because they wanted to keep the tradition going. It was nice to see how close they had become because of one employee. Her department was one of the few teams that didn't have high turnover.
Work Productivity Will Improve
Whether you are a manager or an employee, you can implement a mini-party program and start reaping the rewards. You'll eventually start seeing a community of employees working together to make the mini-party an event that everyone wants to be a part of so they can feel connected to the group. It won't happen overnight and it will probably take a few months to become a part of the culture, but once it does you'll see improved productivity and happier employees.