What Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl Can Teach Us About Employee and Company Celebrations

Thanksgiving is a typically American holiday...The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production.

Ayn Rand

As I thought about the uniquely American “spectacle” that is Super Bowl Week, I couldn’t help but recall this quote from Ayn Rand that ended my Thanksgiving blog post.

It points out some similarities between the two truly American events, and it highlights the way such events can be perceived. Both events are the results; better yet, the celebrations of hard work, commitment and sacrifice. The overwhelming commercialism of the Super Bowl can be looked at in terms of a lavish expenditure of money that could be used for more altruistic purposes. Likewise, at Thanksgiving we spend money on travel, abundant meals, etc. that could be used elsewhere.

But, we need to recognize hard work and success. We need to celebrate achievements if for any other reason than to acknowledge that there are different levels of accomplishments and there are models we should aspire to if we are to grow, improve and generally be better at whatever we do.

I think the engineering and construction industry has much room for improvement in this regard. There are significant commitments, sacrifices and contributions made in the execution of each project. Each project has its own innovations and obstacles that are overcome – and we typically do not recognize those improvements.

Study after study indicates that employees leave jobs more because of lack of respect and recognition than because of compensation. Certainly, we must always assess our failures in order to learn from them, and we also must endeavor to make sure those assessments are done in a constructive manner. But, we must also make sure we are at least balancing out those failure assessments with the recognition and celebration of our successes and accomplishments.

Celebrations are key weapons in the fight to maintain a positive culture. They create a model of accomplishments and communicate the type of work the Company values. They help defeat the sometimes mundane and monotonous work environment. So why don’t we do it more? Keep in mind that some celebrations just don’t happen. Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work for the hosts. The Super Bowl itself is a huge undertaking.

Nonetheless, we can do more.

So, let’s commit to doing a better job of celebrating. Let’s put the effort into recognizing employee and company accomplishments. It’s a lot easier than recruiting and training new employees. Let’s be pioneering in how we recognize our creativity, innovations and hard work.

“Attitudes are contagious. Do you want people around you to catch yours?"
Bob Moawad

“Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Management is nothing more than motivating other people."
Lee Iacocca

See also – All in the Family: Recognition of Employee Service