A few months ago I received a “thank you” in a very unique and interesting way- and it was in a way that I won’t forget. My apartment complex had a resident appreciation day, and it was great! They gave each resident a nice mug filled with candy and complex information, but it gets better—each resident also received “breakfast-to-go” one morning! And wait, it gets even better than that, all of the residents also received dinner that night (free salad, pasta, and dessert)! I was most impressed that the whole staff was involved: maintenance men, office staff, and even the managers were serving the residents dinner. This complex went above and beyond in showing their appreciation for us as residents. I felt valued and appreciated just for living in my apartment.
Isn’t that how all employees, managers, and even CEOs want to feel? That they are appreciated and that they are not only valued as workers, but valued as people. As Margie Warrell relates in this Forbes.com article, Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, always looked for opportunities to express his appreciation. Walton said, “Appreciate everything your associates do. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.” Likewise, Donald Peterson, former chairman of Ford Motor Company, said the most important ten minutes of his day were spent boosting the people around him.
Two easy ways you can implement appreciation into your incentive program are birthday points and anniversary points. By giving these points you are recognizing life events and an employee’s time of service. Another easy way to show appreciation is by using “on-the-spot” cards. These recognize employees the moment they report an accident, go above and beyond, abide by safety rules, etc…but keep in mind that some people like public validation, while others prefer more private acknowledgement.
John F. Kennedy once said “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” Words of gratitude are powerful, but they have much more influence when they are acted upon.