Once upon a time I worked in a restaurant. On this particular day, the owner was leaning against the wall as the store crew navigated the lunch rush.
I was manning the front counter that day, taking orders as fast as I could for the crowd when one of my regulars stepped forward.
“Hey, Mrs. R!” I called out happily. “You want your usual? How’s work?”
The woman smiled, nodding as she shared a slice of her day while I punched in her order.
“Annie, come here,” the owner called out when I finished. Expecting trouble, the manager motioned for one of the other workers to replace me while I obeyed the request.
“Was that lady a friend of yours?” the owner asked.
“No, sir,” I replied cautiously.
“But you not only knew her name, you entered her order without her even telling you what she wanted,” he persisted.
I brightened. “Yes, sir! Mrs. R comes in every weekday for lunch. She always orders the exact same thing so I’ve got it memorized.”
The owner of the store frowned. “But how do you know her name?” he persisted.
I blinked. “She wears a nametag. I always call people by name when I can work out what it is. Nametags make it easy,” I replied.
He asked a few more questions about the practice. I explained the tips and tricks about using names to cultivate rapport in response.
Then I stood there for several long moments as he gave me a long look. Did I do something wrong? I wondered at the unusual examination.
The man motioned for the general manager to approach.
“GM, give Annie here a five-cent raise on her next paycheck,” he informed the woman. “Annie, let me know if it’s not there. I want to show you that I appreciate the effort you go to in order to make the customers happy. Thank you.”
Five cents isn’t much for a part-time employee. It translated to a mere dollar a week, less than that after taxes. That wasn’t the important part, however. The important part was that he’d noticed me and had rewarded my efforts in some small way.
I worked even harder after that.
Employers, Take Note
It doesn’t take much effort to say that you appreciate the efforts of an employee. It doesn’t take but a moment to pat someone on the back and say “well done.” It barely affects the bottom line when you toss someone an incremental raise.
Yet those tiny things mean so much to us workers.
It encourages us. It shows us that we are noticed. It demonstrates that we are appreciated.
And it benefits your bottom line because it motivates us to work even harder.
You think about that. Happy workers translates into loyal workers. Loyal workers are the ones that will bust their ass for you when you need it. They are the ones that will come in when you call on their day off. They are the ones who will look out for you and prevent shrinkage when they catch it. They are the ones who will show up, each and every shift, determined to do the best they can to make your business grow.
Remember that the next time you catch one of your workers doing something awesome.
Readers, share this post with your friends. Share this post in a place where your boss can see it because I suspect that many small employers don’t realize just how important the little things are to us, and how tiny little efforts can motivate us to work even harder and increase employee retention.
It will benefit all of us to increase awareness.