Virtual PieVirtual PieFor the last year, my colleague Gretchen and I have been writing a workbook together about online community engagement. Last week, we finished a major section, and decided to celebrate. Since we work remotely (she is in California and I am in the Netherlands), we came up with the idea of virtual pie (we wore hats for extra celebratory effect).

It got me thinking about why it’s important to celebrate success.

Taking the time to celebrate helped us to acknowledge an important milestone and gave us a chance to assess the work that was done. In a lot of ways the process is the same as when you’re climbing a mountain. If you just look forward, it seems endless. But if you take a moment to look back, you can’t help thinking “Wow! I’ve come a long way.”

We spent months writing, wrestling with words and format, and trying to decide how to present information. Sometimes it was boring, sometimes it was frustrating, but when we looked at what we had created, we were both extremely proud. Not only did we inspire each other to do great work, we also had fun and are motivated to start the next section. For me, that’s the ideal!

Celebrating success is a way of letting off steam after a lot of hard work. It’s a way to help motivate and tackle the next chapter.” – Florian Hoornaar, Entrepreneur

Showing appreciation and saying thank you can boost morale. But more importantly, not showing appreciation can decrease morale. People like being acknowledged and recognized for their talents and achievements. Furthermore, going unappreciated for too long can build resentment.

A lack of appreciation from leaders can make employees feel resentful and used. Being appreciated for insignificant contributions or things that are not of value to the employee causes the same feeling.” – The Globe and Mail

As community managers, it’s useful to acknowledge the achievements of your members. Not only does it show appreciation when you highlight your members’ accomplishments, it also helps your organization attract prestige by promoting the existing talent and knowledge.

It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or cost a lot of money. Sometimes even just an email or a quick phone call is enough. At the end of a project I managed, I took the team out to dinner and bought everyone a plant for their cubicle. The plants ended up having a couple of unintentional benefits: 1) they made our office space more beautiful, and 2) they served as a subtle reminder of the good time we had working together.

Remember to include remote workers in your celebrations. Remote workers can feel especially disconnected. But this is one area where you can get creative! At a former company party, one of the remote employees joined via Skype. Another company sent a gift certificate to a local restaurant in lieu of the worker not being able to join the team dinner.

Take a moment to think about the success and achievements happening in your network. What can you do today to say thank you?