Recognizing Jobs Well Done

By Thad Plumley

The weather was perfect for listening to music outside with a drink in your hand—and that is exactly what my wife and I were doing.

On the second day of summer, we were in a park in downtown Columbus, Ohio, listening to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra play the music of Pink Floyd. Who knew “Another Brick in the Wall” could sound perfect when done by a symphony?

But my wife was doing much more than that. She had filled the rest of our table with her office team and their significant others.

The night was a way for my wife to say thank you. It was a way for her to tell her team: You work hard, I know it, and appreciate it. Now have another glass of wine on me and enjoy the best of Dark Side of the Moon.

Doing such a thing is critical today. Obviously, a good salary and offering competitive benefits will always be the key to having your business filled with talented people. But providing perks that say thanks is more important than ever.

The world moves fast today, and with that speed, comes stress. Employees need to know when they succeed in such an atmosphere that it’s noticed. And I’m not just talking about young people or dealing with millennials. We all need affirmation of a job well done from time to time.

At the National Ground Water Association, we get together as a full staff once a month for a meeting that recognizes positive achievements,
birthdays, and work anniversaries in front of everyone. Applause is a regular occurrence.

Tasty food is usually involved too. A recent meeting had a Hawaiian theme and took place outside with kabobbed meats and vegetables and some staff members wearing leis. Why? I don’t know, but isn’t the better question, “Why not?”

There are so many ways to say thank you. A former boss of mine used to send an email from time to time saying he had filled the breakroom freezer with ice cream. I know of businesses that give away tickets to sporting events and passes to local movie theatres.

I met the owner of a water well business years ago who said he had a garden near his shop and his employees knew they could take whatever produce they wanted. I’ve always remembered that because I love it. I mean, what a perk!

Coincidentally, the same weekend as the concert I talked to someone who said he didn’t know how much longer he could last at his job. He never mentioned pay or benefits; the only thing he brought up was a boss who yells on a regular basis.

I thought to myself, “A glass of wine and good music” would go a long way for this guy.

Thad Plumley is the editor of WWJ and director of information products at the National Ground Water Association. He can be reached at and on Twitter @WaterWellJournl.