Want to Empower Workplace Culture- Celebrate Shared Stories
The other day I was looking through some family photos that we took several years ago while on vacation. I was surprised at how many little details I’d forgotten or simply hadn’t thought about for a long time. But looking at those pictures I was able to re-live some truly great moments.
They say that our lives are made up of the stories we tell ourselves. That’s not just true of our personal lives, stories are a key ingredient in our business lives as well.
Day in and day out we are bombarded by a constant stream of information. In order to make sense of this information our minds package it into little bits of narrative. Some of these bits become part of our larger story. Others fall by the wayside, like forgotten family photos.
Turning Moments into Milestones
Sometimes when we talk about milestones in the context of work we limit the conversation to six or seven stops along the employee journey - job application, hiring, training...up through the exit interview. I tend to think of these events more in terms of landmarks than milestones.
When you think of the meaning of the word “milestone” you realize that it’s something that you encounter fairly often as you travel. Some milestones are more meaningful than others. Perhaps Mile 12 is where you turn East to go to the lake.
What makes a milestone at work significant? It really depends on the employee. For Roxanne a ten-year service award might not seem like a big deal. She is focused on team outcomes and wants to see the next uptick in productivity. That same award might have meaning for the rest of the team, however, because it shows that the company values service and experience.
Let’s say we have a company potluck and Jim, a new hire, brings a seven-layer dip that’s a huge favorite with the workgroup. People want the recipe. Shelly, the team supervisor, takes a picture of Jim’s creation and later that day sends high a digital “high five” that’s posted on the corporate intranet.
For Jim that potluck is a crucial milestone - it’s part of his social success story at work and the first step toward deeper, more meaningful collaborations. Thanks to Shelly that moment was recognized, captured and made a permanent part of the team’s story.
Company Milestones Are Part of the Story Too
I like to focus on the personal aspects of recognition and feedback because that’s where they have the most impact. But there’s a case to be made for memorializing events where everybody participates.
Corporate milestones such as the 500th store opening, the rollout of a new product or service, or the highest year-over-year sales can be considered personal achievements for every employee. I’d argue that every worker is due a “high five” and that this recognition should be part of their Social Trophy Case.
By making corporate milestones part of everybody’s story you are drawing everyone into the shared culture.
Shaping Culture with Stories
When you have a robust set of tools like those in TemboSocial Recognition you can look for opportunities to celebrate employee stories that align with corporate values. Doing this will help reinforce those values and cement them into the workplace culture.
For instance, you can set Achievement Badges that correspond to values such as innovation or excellence in execution. The next time a coworker gives a presentation worthy of becoming a TED Talk, the recognition they receive can count toward that Achievement.
As employees add achievements to their corporate profile they will be shaping a narrative of personal success that aligns closely with the organization’s values.
When success stories are celebrated in the organization and memorialized online in a way that makes them part of the daily employee experience, they can have an ongoing positive effect on workplace culture.