Employee Recognition Desired As Much As Paycheck


I was asked to travel to Puerto Rico to give a keynote presentation to a group of CEOs.

After arriving at the airport in San Juan, I had to board a bus and take a two hour trip through the jungle to get to the resort where I would be giving the presentation.

When the bus arrived at the resort, I wasn’t able to find my bags that I was certain I had brought with me on the bus.

I didn’t have my suit, my notes or anything. All I had was the shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops that I was wearing.

I panicked and ran to the desk where I found a man in his sixties. I explained that I was missing everything. He told me his name was Norman and not to worry; that he would take care of everything.

Norman got on his cell phone and called the airport where they were able to locate my bag. He took it upon himself to authorize a taxi to get the bag from the airport and catch the next bus to the resort (which was already on it’s way through the jungle) to get my bag to me.

That night I had my bag and all that I needed for my presentation.

I was so impressed with that level of service, that I went down to the desk and took a couple of gifts, (a green bean pen) for Norman and his boss as well as my business card. I was told that Norman had gone home for the day, but that they would get the pen to him. I told the man at the desk that I would be giving a presentation the next morning to a group of CEO’s and that I was going to tell them Norman’s story and impressed I was with that level of service.

The next morning I gave the presentation and I told Norman’s story,explaining that the presentation could not have happened had it not been for Norman’s help. Afterward, the hotel manager came over and shook my hand. He thanked me for the presentation and gave me his card and told me what I had said had made a big difference for him. he was going to talk to Norman and tell him how proud he was of him. He said he was even going to tell everyone in the hotel what Norman did.

The next day, as I was preparing to board the bus for the return home, I saw Norman come running with tears in his eyes. He ran to me and told me it was his day off, but he wanted to see me before I left. He wanted to tell me that he had worked at the resort for sixteen years and had checked in more than 100,000 guests and that I was the only one that had ever truly thanked him.

Out of the 100,000 guests Norman had checked in he had probably been tipped many times, but he didn’t see those tips as a “thank you”.

It was only when I took the initiative to recognize and honor him that he truly felt that he had been thanked for his service.

The remarkable power of positive reinforcement at work!

Want to learn more about positive reinforcement? We offer Leadership Development Workshops online and on-site.



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