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Making Small Victories Bigger


We often see organisations celebrating large wins by employees – closure of a major deal or perhaps getting a large and established client onboard. But what about small victories that employees have achieved?

Regardless of whether an achievement is deemed as significant or less significant by the organisation, it is still an achievement nonetheless. And recognising this feat that your employees have accomplished goes a long way in motivating and engaging your employees in the long run.

Recognising small victories does not necessarily require additional costs but simply thoughtful strategy and effort.

Why it is important

In a 2019 article Forget Cash. Here Are Better Ways To Motivate Employees by specialist in behavioral science, Dr Ashley Whillans from the Harvard Business School, he mentioned that “what really matters in the workplace is helping employees feel appreciated.” The article highlights that while cash such as bonuses, incentive pay and off-cycle salary increases are often seen as motivators to drive loyalty out of workers, it may not always be the best incentive.

In fact, what employees “crave” more is to feel appreciated by their managers and are not afraid to show it – be it through a gift card of pulling off impressive projects or even a simple “thank you” for a job well done. Such recognition, whether it comes from a manager, co-worker or even client, is priceless and makes the most impact on your employees.

Where organisations fail

In many companies, providing recognition and rewards based on work performance tend to be trapped in senior management or HR, where only a handful of people have the ability to recognise and reward achievements by employees. Given that there tend to be a limit as to how much these people can give out in terms of cash or recognition, the decision then falls upon these group of people to decide which achievements are deemed worthy of praise and to actually administer it. This then leads to a system whereby significant contributions go unnoticed, noticed too late, or noticed but not recognised at all.

How to accomplish it

Bypassing that system by giving your entire team, regardless of whether you are from the HR department or Marketing department, the ability to publicly recognise employees’ achievements is one of the best ways to transform small victories into large wins. This allows your employees to recognise and be rewarded in that moment of accomplishment before the impact fades. At the same time, employees who are constantly recognised for their efforts and achievements are likely to feel more engaged and invested in putting in their best efforts for the organisation.

Supporting a culture whereby small victories are recognised and rewarded beyond monetary incentives goes a long way in driving employees’ morale. This additional efforts from your senior management, managers and even co-workers cost nothing but the return on this investment is no doubt priceless.

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