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Take Time to Say Thank You —Cagle

November 2009
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Bits and Pieces

NOT TO wave the proletariat flag, but here’s a little something to kick around as you ponder year-end bonuses and holiday parties (hey, no snickering there in the back) for your faithful employees. Believe it or not, you’re being assessed at the moment, and a negative report card could end up costing you some incredibly talented people.

Business is business, and it would be incredibly redundant and obvious to get into detail about how difficult a year 2009 has been for everyone. But, as you ponder the 2010 budget and blue print an attack that will enable your company to separate from the pack as the economy improves, you first need to make some kind of acknowledgment to the people who have worked hard and sacrificed all year. 

That employee sacrifice has taken on many forms: less money, fewer hours and not quite as many co-workers at their sides. They bore the brunt of belt-tightening. 

Clearly, though, this is not the year to be tossing Ben Franklins to and fro, so how can you make some kind of year-end gesture that acknowledges employee efforts? Well, it’s time to be creative.

No one’s expecting you to piddle away several grand on a catered affair at the local country club. Round up the exec and sales teams to host a covered dish-type of thing either at the shop, someone’s home, or even the local fire hall (small towns with volunteer staffs usually rent them out cheap). Use decorations; make it festive. Play holiday music. Hang mistletoe. Plan activities. Fun is the operative word.

Perhaps your employee rolls aren’t as massive, so maybe you can dole out $50 gift cards. If you know what they like, get a specialty card. The one week’s pay bonus is nice, but when a modest gift is thoughtful, that has the tendency to trigger an emotional response.

If you need a less humanitarian reason to pay homage to your people, consider this: As the economy and the job market improve, those employees who emerge from 2009 dissatisfied with the circumstances and conditions under which they toiled may set a New Year’s Resolution to find work elsewhere. Any boss can seem like a hell of a nice guy when all is right with the economy, but the true measure of a person’s character is how they react under difficult circumstances.

 

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