Ideas: Appreciate your employees as Individuals

This idea is excerpted from Barbara’s book CARE Packages for the Workplace–Dozens of Little Things You Can Do to Regenerate Spirit at Work (McGraw-Hill, 1996) 

The Idea:

Sometimes in showing our appreciation we give others a generic reward or even what WE think they would like. To truly recognize someone in a special, caring way, concentrate on that person as a unique individual.

The Idea In Action:

At Blanchard Training and Development in San Diego, California, Ken Blanchard, whose new title is “Chief Spiritual Officer,” as a special surprise gave each of the 125 employees $50.00 with the following instructions:

“You each have one hour and 15 minutes to go out and do something special just for yourself. At the end of that time, come back and each of you tell us your story.”

This creative surprise to appreciate their employees not only added wonderful fun and spirit for that day but more importantly contributed to company legend by creating lots of stories.

Another way the Blanchards showed special appreciation for their employees was taking the entire company with the exception of a skeleton crew who volunteered to man the phones to the International conference of the American Society for Training and Development. This was not only a fun trip for them, but they also got to learn more about the training industry of which Blanchard T&D is a part, and they were able to attend sessions that contributed to their own professional growth and development. The eight people who stayed behind to man the office were treated to a special appreciation luncheon.

At Enterprise Systems in Wheeling, Illinois, $1500 in gift certificates are available for employees to give to one another for special appreciation. The presenter writes a sentence or two about why the award was given, and they decide the amount and the way they want to present the certificate. Each employee at the beginning of the year fills out a form listing things they would like to receive for recognition such as theater or sports tickets, dinner at a certain restaurant, a beauty treatment, etc. That way the presenter knows exactly what would please that particular employee and can give them a certificate for a uniquely special thank you. Also employees have come up with some really creative ways to present the certificates, so many spirits are regenerated!


Rewards and recognition, to be truly meaningful, should be given to the individual in a way that says, “YOU are special.” Keep an “R and R” file with a list of each employee’s or co-worker’s interests and hobbies. Then USE this when planning a thank you just for them!

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at and

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