Why would anyone go out of their way to do or give something extra if it were not even appreciated? I hope you realize that you did not appreciate it if you didn’t say “Thank-you.”

Your thank-you can be verbal, in writing, a raise or promotion, a return gift or a favor. This is simply called “recognition and appreciation.”

These thank-yous are extremely critical in your personal life, but we are going to deal with some of the most costly, frustrating, overlooked extra effort in your business. You have all heard that weak and useless apology, “Of course I appreciated it. I just didn’t say so.”

Let’s begin with your own employees. You are not expected to thank them for working their agreed-upon eight hours of work for an eight-hour paycheck. Your paycheck does the talking for you.

Your major re-occurring problem comes when that employee does more than his agreed-upon eight hours work. Who recognizes it and how does he or she express the critically important appreciation?

Sadly, most contractors do not have written job descriptions or productivity measuring systems to establish exactly how much work and effort they are buying with their eight-hour paycheck.

Stop right here and think about that as an employee. How much would you do under those circumstances? There isn’t enough space in this article to cover how to establish and measure eight hours work for eight hours pay, but we devoted all 12 issues in 2004 to “Make More in ’04 - Keep Score.” If you did not save these issues, you can view them at www.PMmag.com (free registration required for archived content). Believe me, good employees want to keep score!

But we must also recognize all of this extra effort that your company-minded employees will give you on an as-needed basis:
1. They will bring their own power tools or equipment when there are special needs.
2. They will use their own vehicles for company business.
3. They will recruit their friends and relatives.
4. They will mentor and help train your new employees.
5. They attend classes to better themselves and increase productivity.
6. They will start early or stay late to help out.
7. They work holidays whenever you need them.
8. They constantly watch for safety compliance.
9. They help your foreman with jobsite paperwork.
10. They will go to your shop or supply house after work hours for whatever tools or materials they need.
11. They value-engineer each task, looking for that profit-producing “better way.”
12. They will help with your computer programs.

That’s only a dozen of the many everyday contributions that good employees watch for and perform for the sake of their company and possibly gain recognition and appreciation. Surely you realize how much of this valuable extra effort goes unnoticed and unappreciated.

Remember when you were young - “Hey Dad! Look at me!” If Dad is not looking, why should you do it?

Giving Thanks

Most of this extra effort slacks off or dies because your gung-ho employee is working for one of your foremen or supervisors who was never trained in human relations. They probably don’t get a thank-you for their own extra efforts and naturally never realized the need to give a thank-you to others.

You can evaluate the importance of recognition and appreciation in business terms with a simple formula: How much does it cost vs. how much will it produce? That makes your decision quite easy!

Your supervisors always need to criticize or discipline their employees privately and document that incident in employees’ performance files. Not so with a thank-you. Those “attaboys” for a job well done need to be broadcast loud and clear to give that deserving individual something to brag about at home and to his peers. This justifies my slogan, “Add pride to his life, his work will show it.” Here again, what does it cost vs. what will it produce?

Most of my working years have been spent supervising other employees, and I fully realize that one can be so busy that sometimes you overlook the giving of recognition and appreciation. In my opinion, the two most effective scorekeeping disciplines are your database skills inventory and daily 6-8-10 production ratings.

Your database skills inventory mandates keeping track of every task and skill that your employees learn, as well as how much their mentors are teaching them. This scorekeeping thank-you changes an employee’s position to a certified tech rather than a green helper.

However, the 6-8-10 daily production rating not only says “thank-you” every day for a job well done, it also provides a merit wage review every month.

By establishing a realistic eight-hour goal each morning, with actual on-site conditions, your employee knows what is expected for his eight-hour paycheck. At the end of each work day, his thank-you is verbal as well as documented on his timecard. These daily thank-yous are reviewed at the end of the month to assure proper recognition on employees’ paychecks.

Again, consider what this costs vs. how much it will produce.

You also need thank-yous to all of these other people who go out of their way to help your business:

  • Your customer who gave you the job. He had other options.
  • The architect and engineer who helped you produce a proud and profitable project.
  • The general contractor or construction manager who coordinated your schedule.
  • The other on-site trades for cooperation and horse-trading.
  • Your inspectors for on-time approvals.
  • Your supply house for on-time deliveries and cooperation with returns.

    Common sense tells you these helpful gestures will definitely not continue if they are not recognized and appreciated. You need to remind your entire management team to always say “Thank-you.”

    The Pilgrims initiated the first Thanksgiving back in 1674 to thank God for their survival in their new home. Our government later made the fourth Thursday of November a legal holiday to remind us of the critical importance of showing gratitude for all we receive. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the second Monday of October for the very same reasons.

    In your personal life, and with all of your business acquaintances, I sincerely recommend that you make every day your Thanksgiving Day!