At work, I'm in charge of employee relations. It's a broad job that encompasses hiring, firing and a lot in between. One of my main goals is to make our managers even better all the time, so they make our employees better and happier. One of the things I've tried to teach managers is that sincere recognition means more to most people than anything we can give them. Yes, they are there to make a living, but that's expected. This goes beyond that, so we can show our staff that we really appreciate them.
Interestingly, I was able to utilize the simplest of these skills on the way home from work. I had stopped at a supermarket to buy food to make dinner. I used one of the self-checkout lines, and there was a young man at the end of these lines. He was bagging groceries as they reached the end of the conveyor, so all customers had to do after they finished checking out was pick up their bags and go.
He was a nice looking young man whose name tag said, "Ryan." (And no, I wasn't nice to him because he was nice looking. He was all of about 17 or 18, so it wasn't like that!) By the time I got to the end to pick up my bags, he had moved to the next line.
I put my bags in my cart, and, having noticed his name earlier, said, "Hey, Ryan." He turned and looked at me. "Thank you." And with that, his face lit up with a big smile. "You're welcome, sir."
With that, the world got a little happier and friendlier. So simple.