Celebrating At Work: How To Do It Better

Workplace celebrations don’t have to be stale or awkward. I was reminded of that today when I walked into a lunch that the Motley Fool marketing and editorial teams hosted to celebrate hitting a company goal. I took away a couple of…ahem…takeaways that could be helpful as you think about celebrations at your organization.

First, it’s worth describing the scene. The group of 40 or so was spread out in one of our bigger conference rooms and everyone was relaxed. In one corner, a handful of our writers talked up their favorite baseball teams. In another, one of our video producers chatted up web and marketing designers. All the while, Pandora offered up a smooth soundtrack of late 90s classics from Blues Traveler and Third Eye Blind.

Dylan Lewis, an energy analyst who’s only been at the company for two weeks, enjoyed the fun.

“It’s nice to know that the company sees the need to celebrate success” Lewis said. “It’s nice to have events like this where I get to interact with people I haven’t met yet.”

One lesson I took away from the lunch is that companies don’t have to go overboard in order to make people feel good about their work. Today’s lunch included burritos and chips and salsa from Chipotle. Kristen Coia, the writer-relations manager who planned the event, said that lunch cost the company around $670. That’s not chump change, but it’s not going to break the bank, either.

The second lesson I took away is that employees appreciate when their company takes care of the event for them. Alison Southwick, our producer, commented that lunches like these are light-years better than traditional pot lucks. I couldn’t agree more. For the folks who aren’t great in the kitchen, cooking for a pot luck can deter participation. Having the company pitch in removes that barrier.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that today’s lunch wasn’t the first the teams have had. Last month, they did a “get-to-know-you” gathering when it was announced they’d be working together. Employees seemed to appreciate the continuity and follow up. “It feels awesome to have our efforts celebrated,” Erryn Neckel, a marketing manager, said. “We all recognize it and we feel like a team.”

The bottom line here is that if you’re planning a celebration at your organization, you should remember that little gestures go a long way. While we all love big blowouts, sometimes burritos and good conversation are all it takes to get your employees in a festive mood.

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