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Employee Recognition: A Simple “Thank You” Goes A Long Way

Kathryn Carlson /
  • Categories: HR

A common question we hear as HR professionals is “How do I retain my star employees?” My response is, “just say thank you.”

I recently advised a client on the importance of a thank you.  The CEO was bringing on an employee the next day. Typically bringing on a new employee took a minimum of a week to procure the laptop, upload all applications, create a user ID and email account, obtain a Blackberry, locate a workstation, as well as the additional plethora of stuff needed. The HR manager understood how important this employee was, so they relayed the importance to the Operations Manager and in less than 24 hours the employee had everything he needed and was up and running.

The CEO was thrilled; never had these desktop and network guys worked this well and so quickly. The HR manager called me and asked how to reward these employees. I advised the CEO and HR Manager to write thank you notes (and include a gift card).  The HR Manager stood over the CEO while he hand wrote five thank you notes to the operations guys that had worked so hard to make it happen, virtually overnight. They were pretty impressed to receive a hand written thank you note from the CEO. It made their day to be acknowledged and appreciated, and it went a lot further than a $25 gift card, which is really the point.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on gifts to appreciate your employees, but you do have to sincerely appreciate their efforts and tell them.

Appreciation and recognition shouldn’t be reserved just for end of year, anniversary milestones or quarterly meetings. Try to show appreciation and recognition to someone each week and try to avoid focusing just on the sales team.  Recognize your administrative staff, service technicians, finance team and yes, your HR team as well. A small thank you will go a long way.

Do you have a question about how to recognize good work at your dealership? Contact your HR advocate or email

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