A Year of Celebrations – What We’ve Learned

January 28, 2022

Knowing how challenging the last two years have been, we decided to take a closer look at the data around our Life Events®, Community Celebrations®, and Service Milestones® solutions.

We wanted to share some of our observations over the last year – what we’ve learned about “bringing our whole selves to work” and how these tools can help bring communities together and deepen connections at work.

Here are three discoveries we made:

Celebrations are the new water cooler.

As more and more companies incorporate distributed teams or remote work, employees working in hybrid environments are looking for ways to stay connected. Life Events and Community Celebrations have become critical virtual meeting places where colleagues can connect on a personal level – keeping that human connection alive even when we are not always occupying shared spaces.

For example, when Workhuman iQ® team member Hannah Trepte recently earned her master’s degree in analytics, her team presented her with a Life Events award to congratulate her on her graduation. Being noticed and recognized across the organization for her hard work and accomplishment was a big motivator for Hannah, who was grateful for the kudos and support.

Because they offer essential glimpses of what our colleagues care most about, these tools encourage us to humanize one another, let our guards down, and relate to co-workers in a more open, honest, and generous way. Instead of jumping right into an agenda at a meeting, it's not uncommon for employees with Life Events and Community Celebrations to start video calls by congratulating each other on milestones or conversing about shared experiences or interests. That’s because observing what our peers care about – and feeling supported by them – helps us to care more about them in return.

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Celebrations are important to your organizational culture because they help employees to:

  • Acknowledge and focus on positivity
  • Increase their emotional connection to colleagues
  • Come together and bring joy into the workplace
  • Understand and celebrate company values

Celebrations increase the reach of your program.

Celebrations are a powerful way to connect people on an emotional level and build community across your organization. But did you know they also help you to increase adoption for your platform?

It turns out, celebrations get more attention than routine recognition. For example, Life Events, Community Celebrations, and Service Milestones see 10-15x more media and comments for every award compared to ordinary recognition moments.

Celebrations also boost the use of the platform overall. After a Life Events, Service Milestones, or Community Celebrations visit, we noticed that employees became 75% more active on the site, visiting 150% more often to view, nominate or congratulate peers. That means considerably more connection among employees when celebrations are put in play.

Celebrations can even inspire activity among traditionally non-participatory employees. We noticed that colleagues who have never logged in to the site before would often make their first visit into the program in order to participate in a Life Event for a peer. The great news is once they visit, they are more likely to leave congratulations for other awards and come back to the site in the future.

Employees will take ownership and make celebrations their own!

When we first conceived Life Events awards, we knew they would be terrific for celebrating things like weddings, babies, and new homes – but this past year has shown us that Life Events can be as adaptable and diverse as your employees are!

The wonderful thing about Life Events is its ability to extend to embrace any milestone or accomplishment that your employees care about. Some examples we saw in 2021 included: getting a certification, the arrival of a new grandchild, adoption of a new pet, acquisition of a new car, getting engaged, earning a black belt, running a race, completing a triathlon, meeting a significant weight loss goal, and many more.

As we have observed the ways employees are making Life Events their own, we have been inspired and humbled. Consider incorporating a general "celebration" award reason into your platform, and watch how thoughtful and creative your employees are in recognizing peers for their life accomplishments.

Allowing this kind of flexibility not only empowers employees to make Life Events their own. It also increases inclusivity and belonging – recognizing the whole individual and making room for celebrations you might not have anticipated.

This is important for encouraging adoption of the platform, but it also impacts the DE&I and culture metrics that matter most. According to our research, when celebrating just one Life Event with their work community, workers are 19% more likely to feel like they belong and nearly 2x more likely to believe their company has a human work culture. And according to Gallup, when employees have a greater sense of connection at work, organizations can realize 12% higher profits, 7% more customer engagement, and 46% fewer safety incidents – among many other benefits.

How did employees use celebrations to connect across your organization in 2021? What will you incorporate in 2022 to build community and help colleagues connect? We’d love to hear your stories.

Interested in getting started? Learn more about Life Events and Community Celebrations.

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