Engage your Team (and customers) by Marking Milestones
Can you remember what you were doing on the night of 20/21st July 1969?
I can, as I’m sure you can too if you are my age or older, as, like billions of others, I was sitting with my brothers watching in awe as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon.
Watching the events relived this Saturday was still tense even though we knew full well the mission was a success.
Marking milestones in your business is a great way to engage both your team members and your customers. They don’t need to be as momentous as the moon landings; simply recognising any small personal milestone, proud moment or a significant event shows you care.
Here are some moments you may wish to mark to engage your team and/or your customers
Celebrate and share business successes
- At the end of the year remind your team of all your achievements over the past 12 months and create a buzz for the year ahead. What milestones have you achieved as a business and individually? What were the highlights? Engage your team by recognising their contribution. Team members are more likely to be loyal and work harder for a business they believe in.
- Let everyone know when you’ve had a good month, won a significant piece of new business, or achieved an important milestone. Share the success with your team (and customers if appropriate). Recognise and show your appreciation for those who have contributed to this success. Be sure to recognise all departments, including back of house staff, or those in non-customer facing roles.This can be a great morale booster; it’s a great way to thank them for helping get to this point and to gain buy-in for the potential work it will involve over time.
- Don’t forget key anniversaries for your business; it’s a great way to remind your team of your heritage and the values your business is built upon. Even if you’re not long established as a business track back to key moments in your own background (particularly relevant if you are a family run business), or research the history of your building or area, or key historical dates in your industry.
Proud personal moments
- Recognise and celebrate with your team members those important moments outside work: arrival of their first grandchild, child’s graduation, a significant fund raising activity for charity, a personal achievement such as passing their driving test.
- Make a note of the key dates in their world – significant birthdays and wedding anniversaries; remembering these can make that person feel that little bit special on their special day.
- Remember the anniversary of the date each of your team members joined your business or your department. If you’ve a large team you might decide to celebrate the anniversaries of everyone who joined in the current month. This is a great excuse to bring people together who might not normally work closely together.
Celebrate non-work events
Be aware of other celebrations happening elsewhere which may resonate with your team. Such as:
- Sporting success, such as those this month – we’ve seen Cricket World Cup, Wimbledon, Formula 1 GP, Women’s football.
- Charity events such as Red Nose Day, Children in Need, Macmillan Coffee Morning (27th September 2019).
Marking the occasion
It’s good to have the milestones marked on the calendar, but even better if you do something to celebrate.
Celebrations don’t need to be lavish. What’s more important is that they are sincere and will be appreciated by those you share them with.
- A simple card to mark the occasion is a pleasant surprise, and adds a very personal touch, particularly when hand-picked and hand-written.
- Allow the freedom to have some fun; this doesn’t mean being unprofessional, but looking for opportunities that create a relaxed and enjoyable place to celebrate in keeping with the occasion.
- Recognise that some people love the limelight, others hate it. Sometimes a quiet “congratulations and well done” is all that’s needed and will have more impact than any over the top celebration.
- If it’s an occasion to be shared, will taking time out for coffee and cake to celebrate the occasion be a more appropriate way to engage team members than taking everyone down to the pub?
- When your team members are celebrating a personal milestone extending the treat to be shared with their loved one(s) not only makes your team member feel good but shows your appreciation of the support given by their friends and family.
- It may be that the best and simplest way to help team members mark a special occasion is giving them the opportunity to knock off early, so they have more time to celebrate with their family and friends.
- External awards are a great way to give recognition for the whole team. Keep your eye out for awards which are relevant to your business or your market. Just being nominated an award is a great booster.
Inviting your customers to celebrate
Marking milestones with customers is a good way to stay on their radar.
- Many of the above ideas work well for customers, or a little unexpected gift (which might also be an excuse for them to visit again, but ensure it is something they will value, not just a blatant promotion for more business) can make them feel special and appreciated.
- If you’re a hospitality or leisure business, the most obvious things to celebrate are birthdays and anniversaries.
- Capture your customers’ birthdays, anniversaries and special dates on your database (with their permission of course) and then invite them back to your venue to celebrate, and receive something special of value to them. An easy win is to invite wedding couples back for their first (and subsequent) anniversary.
- For business customers congratulate them on a significant anniversary in their business, or the anniversary of when you started working with them (and this helps to reinforce your relationship).
- Keep your eyes on your local press for businesses winning awards or celebrating their own anniversaries, and send them your congratulations.
- Don’t forget anniversaries for your own business; it’s a great way to blow your own trumpet!
If you only do one thing:
- Look ahead for the next month and identify the milestones you might mark to engage your team and/or customers to show them you are thinking of them.