Why is the feeling of accomplishment so important?

Every employee wants to feel a sense of accomplishment in their workplace - that’s obvious. Who would want to feel like their hard work wasn’t worthwhile?

Gaining a sense of accomplishment, and feeling proud of the work you’ve done, helps people feel like they’re progressing in their work. An accomplishment feels like making a positive step forward for yourself, your company, your clients and your co-workers.

In fact, according to research from the Happiness Research Institute, reaching goals you’ve been set is the fourth most important influencer in employee engagement.

When you feel a sense of accomplishment, you naturally become more engaged in your work, and more motivated to maintain and improve their good work. Feeling a sense of achievement is a key cornerstone of creating a productive work environment: without being able to feel a sense of accomplishment, there’s little to motivate people to go that extra mile.

man teaching someone on a computer

Can employees work without feeling accomplishment?

Employees can–and many do– work without feeling accomplishment. But that doesn’t mean they work as hard or productively as they could, or in a way that they’re happy with. In other cases, people might feel a personal sense of accomplishment in their workplace but can feel like their hard work hasn’t been recognised by their colleagues and managers.

This is absolutely key to understanding how to enable your employees to feel a sense of accomplishment in their work. Hard work needs to be recognised in order for employees to really feel like they’ve achieved something.

Why is a sense of accomplishment so rare?

Some jobs naturally don’t receive as much praise. Those in front-facing roles, for example, are more likely to receive direct praise for their work, whereas those in finance or managerial roles might not receive as much direct praise.

But that doesn’t mean that those people don’t need or deserve the same level of recognition for their accomplishments - in fact, it’s more likely that they need even more praise as their achievements are less instantly tangible. Without that crucial sense of recognition for your work, it can be easy to feel demoralised and disengaged with your work.

How to encourage a sense of accomplishment

1. Set achievable targets

If a task seems too complicated, unachievable or like it’s too far outside your skill-set, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed and disheartened. When faced with an unmanageable task, most people will ultimately detach themselves from their work – why bother engaging with something when you don’t feel able to complete it to the best of your ability?

That’s why setting realistic and achievable targets are so important if you want your employees to feel a sense of accomplishment in their work. It’s pretty simple, really: when employees feel that they’re capable of completing the tasks given to them, they’ll feel motivated to do it well. 

And when they can do something well, not only is the productivity of your whole team enhanced, but their personal sense of accomplishment is heightened - and it gives you the opportunity to give them positive feedback and praise.

That said, it’s important to keep challenging your employees. Most people will soon get bored with repetitive tasks, and that can lead to a dissatisfied workforce, a decrease in productivity and low morale. Setting achievable targets is about knowing your employees and their capabilities, and giving them tasks that challenge them enough to let them grow, but without overwhelming them with unmanageable tasks.

2. Offer support but don’t micromanage

If the task you’re setting is a particularly complex or important one, and you really want to make sure that it’s done properly, it can be easy to sometimes slip into the trap of micromanaging - checking on their every move and making sure it’s being done to the standards you’ve set.

But micromanaging can foster a sense of mistrust and frustration between employees and management: it basically tells your employees that you don’t trust them to do the task that you’ve set them yourself.

A more encouraging and productive way of managing big projects is to break them up into smaller, more achievable goals. This way, you can iron out any problems you might encounter along the way and can manage your team effectively without being overbearing.

Another added bonus of breaking up tasks into more manageable goals is that it gives an opportunity for more positive reinforcement and praise - and therefore more sense of accomplishment for your employees - along the way.

Man celebrating

3. Look at failure constructively, not degradingly

Sometimes things don’t go to plan, and there are failures or shortcomings in a project. It’s a natural part of any project - there will always be a margin of human error, and you can’t avoid or control these things.

What you can positively control, though, is how you respond to it. There’s no point in dwelling on failures or simply pointing fingers - it won’t help anyone to productively identify where they went wrong, or work on how to avoid the same problems in the future.

Sit down with your team and talk about what could have been better, and what could be improved upon in the future. Get their feedback as well as giving your own - how could your leadership have better? How could you have supported your team more fully to prevent these issues in the first place?

Being understanding and focusing on improvement rather than criticism, will create a culture of feedback in your workplace where colleagues feel comfortable sharing, asking for and receiving analysis of their performance. Studies have shown how important constructive feedback is: nearly half of workers are actively disengaged when they receive little or no feedback, and a near majority of 82% of employees appreciate both positive and negative feedback.

As a side note - if you find yourself struggling to keep up with getting regular feedback from your employees, consider using a pulse survey tool. You'll be able to gather and act on employee feedback, all while improving employee engagement. Replacing cumbersome annual reviews with something more agile can really streamline and improve your feedback process, helping your business to grow even faster.

group laughing

Read next: 19 effective employee engagement ideas

4. Reward hard work properly

It can be easy to forget to recognise and reward your employees’ accomplishments. We all know what it’s like when your workload starts piling up, and you've a million things to think about - at times like that, giving your employees positive encouragement and praise can feel like the last thing on your to-do list.

But don’t worry - it’s not just you that sometimes forgets the importance of praise and rewards. In a survey conducted over the course of ten years, interviewing a whopping 2.5 million employees in 237 organisations, from 89 countries, only 51% of workers were satisfied with the recognition they received for a job well done. That’s nearly half of the world’s workforce that feel under-appreciated!

One concrete way of showing your employees how much you appreciate them, and for those really big accomplishments, is to give them a material reward - whether that’s an experience, gift or voucher. One of the hardest things can be sourcing and implementing an employee reward system, at a budget that suits you.

That’s where Celebration hub comes in.

Celebration hub

Celebration hub is an engaging, hassle-free platform that lets you recognise and reward your employees’ - wherever in the world they are. Whether it’s acknowledging the ‘Unsung Hero of the Week’ for their contributions,  recognising someone going ‘above and beyond the call of duty’, or congratulating people for a completed project - Celebration hub lets you showcase and reward them. Other people can also see why someone has been recognised, adding a social aspect to recognition.

And why keep recognition and rewards for accomplishments to just a top-down system? Having a productive work environment is about working as a team - and teams work best when they recognise each others’ hard work and communicate about their accomplishments. With Celebration hub, people can recognise each other, whether they're across the desk from each other or across the world.

Celebration hub also lets users create polls to reward and incentivise each other’s accomplishments, and promote healthy competition. Even better, you can set polls that align with your company’s goals and values, and endorse specifically valued contributions to the company ethos.

And for when work really is outstanding and deserving of a material reward, Perkbox has that sorted. You can choose from a range of rewards such as big brand gift cards, experience days or subscription boxes. You also have the option to create custom rewards, so the recipient gets something that's just right for them. 

In summary

When you recognise and reward your employees, you're showing you care about them as individuals and invaluable members of your team. It shows that you acknowledge the hard work they’re putting in, and appreciate the discipline and innovation that they’re bringing to work every single day.

But without a good employee rewards system, it’s hard to keep that up - and even harder to maintain a consistent sense of accomplishment and motivation for your employees. But if that sounds like too big of a job in your already busy schedule, don’t worry - we’ve streamlined it all for you into one, easy-to-use system.

4 steps for how to create a sense of accomplishment: 

  1. Set achievable targets
  2. Offer support but don't micromanage
  3. Look at failure constructively, not degradingly
  4. Reward hard work properly


Celebrate your employees with reward and recognition

  • Send and receive recognitions and rewards
  • Choose from 35+ rewards or create your own
  • Assign company values to recognition
  • Create team and company-wide polls