A recent Glassdoor survey found that 77% of job seekers research a company’s culture before applying. The conversation surrounding how employers care for their staff teams has never been more prominent, leading to radical shifts in flexible work environments, vacation time, family leave benefits and mental healthcare. In fact, 56% (and growing) of the workforce believes that a healthy work culture is more important to them than their salary. 

Offering incredible benefits can make employees feel more connected to and passionate about their company. But, that same level of connection and passion does not always translate to their feelings about their work. Even within faith-based organizations, employees can often feel that their job is just working through a task list and can struggle to feel how their efforts contribute to the whole. 

Leaders can help their teams find satisfaction and personal ownership in their work through the simple act of celebration. Countless studies all point back to the tried and true principle that “what is celebrated gets repeated.” When we take the time to recognize great things, we are setting the stage for repeat success. It’s a simple concept that many of us have seen proven in our own lives, but it can remain a value that is hard to instill in the day-to-day. 

In reality, this concept isn’t limited to our place of work, but it applies to our families, friendships, and our relationship with ourselves. However, in order to change culture, we must be willing to disrupt patterns and norms to create new ones. If we can fight through these growing pains, we’ll find ourselves in work and personal relationships that are deeper, longer lasting, and better producing. Let’s explore a few simple concepts that can help cultivate a culture of celebration in our lives. 

Prioritize Relationships 

In order to truly understand those we have a working or personal relationship with, we must take the time to learn their stories, struggles, and dreams by intentionally carving out time for this purpose. In the workplace context, deep relationships allow us to move past simply trying to instill the organization’s purpose. In our homes, it’s essential to prioritize time to invest in the relationship with our spouse and kids instead of settling for managing schedules, budgets, and behaviors. Taking the time to know others personally versus functionally allows us to invest in the person across from us and celebrate their individual purpose and goals. Doing this creates a culture where people feel safe to be vulnerable. To establish a fun culture, we must first foster an environment where others feel comfortable letting their guard down. 

Prioritize Clear Goals and Milestones 

There is nothing more exhausting than spending our energy and resources to get to an undetermined destination. By providing clear direction and milestones, we are able to help ourselves, and others develop a clear understanding of what is needed to achieve the goal from the beginning. In an organization, this also helps employees better understand how their individual work fits into collaborative success. Celebrating reaching goals and milestones further creates a sense of community and fosters relationships. As others begin to feel recognized and supported for their contributions, the environment and culture will naturally become more positive, collaborative, and supportive. In a sense, we “train” in the value of celebration, which can lead to impressive and lasting results when prioritized in relationships. It’s also important to do this as we work toward personal goals. Whether we’re striving for professional development, health milestones, hobbies/skills, or new habits- celebrating the steps along the way (and being vulnerable enough to include others in our personal growth track) can motivate us to stay committed to the path of growth. 

Prioritize Resources 

Adding anything into our rhythm comes at the cost of time, money, and comfort. Because of this, it’s natural to feel hesitant to cause a disruption to our norms and justify why the change isn’t something that can be tackled in the near term. Simply offering private or corporate affirmations of somebody can feel awkward and disorienting if that hasn’t been a part of our prior value system. On top of that, celebrating families or entire work teams can come at the cost of tangible resources. However, like all things, we cannot see a shift in trajectory without the willingness to change our methods. 

In the same way we budget for birthday and Christmas gifts, it’s important to budget according to the culture we want to develop. When we can embrace the concept that “what is celebrated gets repeated,” we understand that investing in celebration is a downpayment for future success and achievement.