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Why Celebrate Your Team?

Updated: Jul 1, 2019

I was driving to the airport last week when a bus at the Delta terminal caught my eye.

It proudly displayed their brand and on the side it read "Transporting the World's Best Employees."

That was a big swing, and one that definitely puts pressure on their service, but it must feel good to the team members who ride that bus from their parking area to the terminal each day for work. This is a nice touch because working at an airport isn't easy. There are security hassles, parking hassles, and of course, the prickly travelers waiting for you on the other end of the bus ride.

It reminded me that celebrating your team is an effective way to motivate and inspire them - it can be the difference between a team that gives that extra 10% for their customers or chooses to do just enough.

That extra 10% is where guest loyalty is won and lost. Call it discretionary effort, the last yard, the extra mile - it is the difference between going above and beyond for guests or not. As a leader it is your job to coax that extra effort from your teams.

Celebrating your team is an effective way to build engagement and empowerment.

  • Make Sure Your Team Feels Appreciated Making teams feel appreciated goes beyond simple gratitude. Of course you want to ensure that you recognize and celebrate great accomplishments, but it is also about a culture of appreciation in general. Great organizations are very intentional and specific when it comes to recognition. They rarely thank someone "for all they are doing." Rather, they recognize "that you had to work several weekends in a row to ensure a great guest experience." These organizations are also adept at creating excitement around friendly competitions or contests. I have worked with many chefs over the years and some of the best used this idea of healthy competition to motivate. They would ask their sous chefs to whip up a soup or an appetizer and then choose the best one to be on the menu that weekend. This was a way to spark creativity and give the team chances for bragging rights. More importantly, it made them feel appreciated and like they had a voice that was being heard.

  • Show Care with Action Over Words Team members can spot lip service a fiscal quarter away. Team members are always watching leaders for queues on how to behave, but also to see if they are living the brand they demand from their team. They want to see if they give great service to consumers, clients, and guests. They are watching to see if their managers live up to commitments or placate them with empty platitudes. Team members want to see that you can deliver - and this goes for whether you manage front line employees or a team of executives. Can you get them the funding they need or support for a new program? Can you ensure that the cash registers work or the supplies they need to do their jobs are on hand? This kind of enablement is a true sign of care, because it requires influence from high level leaders that teams naturally gravitate toward. Employees want to deliver the very best for leaders who deliver on their promises.

  • Demonstrate Everyday Courtesy and Care This goes beyond recognition and being nice. It is a daily commitment to showing your team how important they are. This could be what they call rounding in the healthcare space or what most call daily engagements. These are simple daily conversations that allow you to get to know your team beyond the daily work, but also understand what may be going on in their roles. This could be anything from training they need, a piece of equipment that needs to be fixed, an idea they have for improvement, or a tool that would help them be more effective. Also remember that there are simple little things you can do to drive results here. Keeping your head up (not buried in a device) to say hello to your team goes a long way. So does knowing the names of your team as you work to strengthen your connections. The example you set can start a chain reaction of courtesy throughout your organization.

The upside here is three fold:

  1. It enhances your team's performance, productivity, and service

  2. It improves your reputation as a great place to work in the community

  3. It leads to improved retention of your very best talent

These key moves can be differentiators when it comes to prioritizing your team's experience at work. The result is the beginning of a world class service culture that goes above and beyond for guests - even during days when they may be tired, overworked, or dealing with a difficult customer.

Thanks for keeping your guests top of mind and center stage.


Tony Johnson, CCXP Customer Service Leader | Author | Speaker

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Check out my latest book "TOGETHER WE SERVE" on Amazon.


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