The Benefits of Celebration at the Workplace

Celebrate graphic


Celebration literally wires us for Success!

The benefits of Celebration are many: it is good for us and builds thriving workplaces.

What is Celebration

Celebration brings people together in a more relaxed, open way and  means praise and appreciation for a positive event.  It can range from praise for a ‘win’, to remembering someone’s birthday or anniversary.  Celebrations can be small or big, brief or long, one-off or a positive ritual/habit.  And Celebration doesn’t have to be ‘ra-ra’.

Some examples are:

  • celebrating employees’ birthdays with words and a cake
  • celebrating the successful completion of a major project and at pre-determined points along the way
  • ‘ringing the bell’ at the workplace when employees have won a sale
  • ’round robin’ check-in’s at the beginning of team meetings which highlight ‘wins’ / ‘things I am grateful for’.


What happens when we Celebrate?

The act of Celebrating releases ‘feel good’ hormones in us, like oxytocin and dopamine.  These hormones activate the higher-level thinking part of us which helps to increase our empathy and innovation. 

Why is Celebration important?

Stopping what you’re doing and reflecting is increasingly important in our volatile and changing world.  This is because celebrating leads us to consider how we came to be successful.   The more we associate the actions that got us to a win and the celebration of its success, the more we’ll repeat the success pathway.  As psychologist Rick Hanson Ph.D. endorses, what fires together, wires together ( ).  The work of scientist Dan Siegel Ph.D. also supports the ‘firing-wiring’ connection ( ).  Celebration literally wires us for Success!

Judith E. Glaser Ph.D. has studied organisations and the links between creative cultures and celebratory rituals.  There are some strong links. ( ).

In summary, Celebrating is good for us as people and builds thriving workplaces.   It is also linked to staff engagement ( ).

Having recently been to several different types of work-based events, celebration seems to help align hearts as well as minds.  When that alignment happens – within people and between people – the bigger purpose of ‘why we’re here at this workplace’ becomes much more real.  Also, departmental silos tend to decrease.

An example

As an external team coach, working with a senior team in a firm, we began a ritual at participants’ check-in time before their meetings.  This ritual got people to reflect upon ‘what am I grateful for’.  In the first round you hear ‘grateful for finishing off that project profitably’.  It took only one more round to hear things like: ‘I am grateful for the support that my colleagues give me’; ‘for remembering my birthday’.  It is usually the more heart-based things that participants bring up.  Quite quickly the vibe changes, the room gets quiet and participants are listening intently.  

The more practised we get at Celebrating, the more we notice what IS good.  It becomes part of our language on a day-to-day basis. 

So spend some time reflecting upon and celebrating your successes.  Your mind and body and spirit will love you for it, and the workplace will hugely benefit.