The impact of celebrations in organisations

Jonathan Mills
2 min readApr 28, 2024


“Every gathering is a chance to renew commitment” (Kouzes & Posner)

The HR Council defines recognition as follows: “Employee recognition is the acknowledgement of an individual’s or team’s behaviour, effort and accomplishments that support the organisation’s goals and values”. The key in this definition, of course, is for managers to draw the dotted line between the effort and the support of the organisation’s goals and values. Without linking the effort to what the organisation is attempting to achieve, managers miss an opportunity to bring focus and clarity to organisational vision and desired results. The lack of a link fails to emphasise desired behaviour that relates directly to what should be achieved if the organisation is to prosper. With the correct link in place, the recognition communication immediately highlights the kind of behaviour that will be recognised and rewarded in the organisation.

Organisations should acknowledge and celebrate great achievements, massive contributions, and innovative improvements as such gatherings renew commitment and enhance possibility thinking. In essence, as Alinda Nortje (Founder and Chairperson of Free To Grow) notes, organisational celebrations add the following points of value:

  1. They provide a common ground where managers and employees can mingle freely — all employees want relaxed time where they feel safe to enjoy relating to their bosses.
  2. They convene a collective spirit which creates energy, excitement, commitment, and loyalty — in a sense, the brand is presented positively, and this generates ownership amongst employees.
  3. They establish a connection between the organisation’s history, current realities, and future dreams — the celebration gives employees a sense of certainty in terms of future direction.
  4. They provide a safe venue to relieve tension and express emotions — emotional anticipation is itself a motivator.
  5. They provide a forum for sharing stories, breaking the ice, and linking joy and fun to work.
  6. They create opportunities to relive an accomplishment, thereby reinforcing the factors contributing to success.
  7. They reward hard work and recognise personal and work achievements and milestones — they give the organisation an opportunity to highlight employees and teams who have achieved over and above expectations.
  8. They build relationships among individuals, break down silos, strengthen bonds, and knit communities together — in other words, it has a family-forming effect.

Every organisational celebration is an opportunity to renew commitment, refocus energy, and build trust in the group. It also communicates what the organisation values strongly and serves as motivation for employees to contribute to the organisation’s journey.

Originally published at on April 28, 2024.



Jonathan Mills

Jonathan has spent over 30 years focusing his efforts on developing people throughout the world. He believes that people have the most impact when stretched.