Create a memorable experience for your employees.

Employee Recognition with $50 and 4 Hrs

In the midst of all this analysis-work with Smartie-Pants, I remember coordinating a grill-out lunch for my employees. I’d planned to grill up a bunch of chicken and burgers, while the employees provided sides. Potluck style. Simple, casual, relaxed, delicious.

I had been internalizing our company mission – To Turn Emotions Into Memories™ – when I came up with an idea. I wanted to surprise our employees and give them a small reward for their hard work the past few months. I didn’t have a ton of money to spend, and I only had 4 hours before the grill-out began.

$50 and 4 HrsI wondered what I could possibly to do to give something of value to my clan with such a short amount of time. I eventually landed on the idea of giving cash to each employee. One $50 bill to each person. Instead of handing out the money to each person I decided to be less obvious about it. I folded the $50 bill neatly into the napkin that was wrapped around the plastic silverware. I set the silverware in its holder at the start of the buffet line. Then I watched and waited.

The first few people through the line had their sights set on the meat and didn’t take any notice of the silverware. Eventually, someone took notice as they saw the corner of the $50 bill peeking out of the napkin. Their facial expression told me there was no way they thought the bill was real money. Much less, real money meant for them. One mumbled to the next giving them a clue to look at the napkin, and in one fell swoop, the secret was out.

My employees laughed and smiled as they realized the cash was for them! They loved the memorable delivery. The event certainly made an impression; we still have people who talk about it today.

This was the first time I got to see how something I did, created a memory for one of my employees. It was the first time that my heart connected with our core purpose. I felt “it” for the first time! The “it” encapsulated what we stood for. That is the moment I fell in love with creating emotions and memories that make people say “WOW!”

This experience was special for me because I could see my employees get a moment of recognition and see their reaction to receiving it. From that moment on, I was hooked on making this happen. I didn’t know it at the time but I had just become Head Memory Maker. My job was to make memories for my employees.

I was refreshed knowing that the core purpose we’d come up with actually could be used in real life to connect with my employees. I bought into the idea but still had an element of skepticism floating around. The reaction I saw in this event gave me hope that the work we’d been doing with Smartie-Pants might actually pay off!

Coming up with employee recognition ideas can be challenging. Let’s get our creative juices flowing, how do you recognize your employees?

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