May 15, 2015
By Dave Braun
LO President

Dave Braun When was the last time you celebrated a success at your work? One thing we recognize regularly at our company is employee birthdays.

Although gathering to share cake and coffee at 9 a.m. to honour the birthday man or woman may not qualify as a huge celebration, the times our office staff members have shared at these simple events have come to mean a lot to all of us. It’s a tiny way that our company can demonstrate how meaningful each person who works with us is to the whole.

The last time I remember a formal work celebration around a company milestone was many years ago, when we built a new building. In other words, birthday party celebrations are significantly more frequent at our company.

Clearly, one celebration every so many years could be improved upon. We’ve recently realized that we don’t celebrate often enough. Celebrations shouldn’t have to be about massive accomplishments, either. You don’t need to wait for your company’s 100th anniversary to celebrate — both Connon and Sheridan rightly celebrated their incredible longevity.

There have been numerous studies that demonstrate the positive ripple effect when one person smiles at another person, so why shouldn’t this principle work, at work?

Continuing to move forward without pausing to acknowledge the great work already done may be practical, but it’s not terribly exciting. Employees feel it when their bosses take notice and appreciate their job well done — it improves their performance. I know, because I’ve seen the evidence.

As a company reward for reaching his team’s sales target, my friend was taken to Las Vegas and saw Steppenwolf drive out in an F1 car to perform his massive hit ‘Born to be Wild.’ The CEO promised that if they exceeded the next year’s goal, they would all be brought back to Vegas again.

Even if you’re not a Steppenwolf fan, can you imagine how motivating that must have been? You probably guessed it — they did return to Vegas the next year for a massive celebration that topped the year before.

The nice part is, your celebrations don’t need to be nearly as extravagant as a Vegas trip. I asked our mechanic during the interview process what motivated him. He told me simply, “Barbecues.” To him, working at a place that held barbecues was important. Well, we now have the first of four company summer barbecues scheduled for June 4, right after the biggest rush of the season is over.

There was some debate and discussion about whether or not it was worth the investment of time and resources it would take to host barbecues every spring and summer. As we soon realized, when you do the math, it’s an easy equation. Sure you may lose on temporary productivity when you host a party, but the gains will far outstrip the costs in no time.  

An unmotivated employee is much more costly than any party could ever be. Equally important, we hope that if we create an environment where we celebrate our successes, that we will attract and retain the kind of employees who will make our company better at every turn. So, can you afford to celebrate your success? You can’t afford not to.
Dave Braun may be reached at