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Success on the Fly

Posted: Wednesday, Oct 10th, 2012


When I managed a group of tourist attractions, I couldn’t pay my employees much - just the minimum wage. I didn’t even have benefits to give them, so in the benefit section of our policy manual I said they could have a free Pepsi on their afternoon break.

Since I didn’t have a budget to use for rewards and motivation, I had to be very creative with my appreciation techniques. I tried many different things over the 14 years I worked there.

Once, I decided to add a little personal note of thanks on the pay stub of each employee when I signed their checks. I wrote short comments like, “Joe, Thanks for the help with the XYZ project. Chris.” I had over 50 employees, so it took me an hour. Their response was warm and fuzzy, but it soon it wore off.

I always tried to keep my appreciation fresh - to find new and inexpensive ways to show it to my employees.

Fifteen years later, I was in a theater production, along with one of those previous employees. Somehow the subject of those old check stubs came up, and he motioned for me to wait a moment. He got his wallet out of his back pocket, opened it, and retrieved that pay stub. He still carried my little note of appreciation with him! As a manager, it’s important to remember the importance of valuing the talents and work of your people. The little things really do mean a lot.

Here are six free and easy ways to show anyone appreciation:

• Sincerely notice something and complement them.

• Give them some extra free time, at lunch or at home.

• Ask their advice for a challenge you face.

• Listen to their ideas, and try some of them.

• Understand and show support for their dreams and aspirations.

• Inspire people to appreciate each other.

Nobody ever went to their grave thinking, “I was always appreciated too much!” So, feel free to lavish it!

Chris Waugh is a business consultant, author and speaker who “lends wings to your success.” Visit ChrisWaugh.com or Facebook.com/chriswaughonthefly for more.

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