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Friday, February 22, 2008

Amazing Grace at Wal-Mart

I have been talking about recognizing employees at work. This also applies to total strangers. Not too long ago my wife and one of my daughters were at Wal-Mart. They were there to buy tote bags and supplies to decorate the bags. While they were checking out, the cashier noticed what they had bought. Now she happened to be very young and very pregnant. She told them that she wanted to buy one of their bags for her baby's diapers and other baby supplies. My wife and daughter told her they were decorating the bags for personal use, not for sale. She said "OK" and finished checking them out.

This is the powerful part of the story. My wife and daughter proceeded to drive to Penny's, bought that girl a tote bag that was already decorated, and returned to Wal-Mart. There was a long line at the girl's checkout line. My wife handed the bag to the young girl. She was so overcome with emotion that she could not even look at my wife and daughter...but all the people in that checkout line saw what happened. Best sermon they might ever hear.

An individualized, positive response to one of your fellow employee's needs can be just as powerful. For example, the plant manager at a manufacturing facility with 400 employees hears from one of his supervisors that a new employee has a child that has some serious health issues. The plant manager then takes the time to go out to the production area and talks with that new employee about her child. The conversation lasts for about (10) minutes. How will the new employee now feel about her new employer and the plant manager? She is thinking-"I had never met this guy, I am a brand new employee that is still learning her job,yet he takes the time to show concern for my child." She will never forget this act of kindness.

There is also a strong probability that this new employee will be a very loyal and productive member of that plant manager's team.

In your opinion, which of the following is the most effective way to recognize an employee for a significant accomplishment at work?