Any Time of Year is Good to Express Appreciation

I know a CEO of a large security services company who began a tradition when his company was first founded. Every year he wrote a card to each employee during the holidays, expressing his appreciation for that person’s contribution to the success of his company.

As the company grew larger and larger, he kept up the tradition. He had to start earlier in the year, and may have enlisted others to address the envelopes, but he never quit writing those cards.

envelope and noteI’m sure some of you are shaking your head already. “Why should I thank them for doing their jobs?” you may be thinking. Or, “We thank all our employees twice a month. It’s called a paycheck.” Or you may think that no one thanks you, so why should you be bothered to thank others?

It’s true that criticism is much more prevalent in the workplace than appreciation. It’s partly human nature to point out the negative and leave positive actions unrecognized. And a lot of managers don’t believe in showing gratitude or just feel awkward about it.

Jack Welch is the former Chairman and CEO of General Electric, now an author and founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute. One of the tenets of his leadership philosophy is “Lead by Energizing Others, not Managing by Authority.”

He believes in making people passionate about their jobs and prefers inspiration to intimidation. Part of this leadership lesson includes letting others know exactly how their efforts are helping the organization and sending handwritten thank-you notes to colleagues and customers.

There are even sound business reasons for doing so. Ones that contribute to your bottom line.

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal online about showing appreciation at the office, it was reported that more than half of human-resource managers say showing appreciation for workers cuts turnover, and 49 percent believe it increases profit.

Dr. Noelle Nelson, a consultant and clinical psychologist, wrote a book called “Make More Money by Making Your Employees Happy.” In the book, she cites a study from the survey research consultancy Jackson Organization, (since acquired by Healthstream, Inc.), that shows, “Companies that effectively appreciate employee value enjoy a return on equity and assets more than triple that experienced by firms that don’t. When looking at Fortune’s ’100 Best Companies to Work For,’ stock prices rose an average of 14 percent per year from 1998-2005, compared to 6 percent for the overall market.”

Increased profit, less turnover and a more pleasant, positive work environment. All from showing employees a little appreciation.

One way to express appreciation is with a personal handwritten note sent to the employee’s home address. In the note, cite a few of that person’s contributions over the past year.

If that isn’t possible, at least consider rewarding all the employees at your company. Take an example from Apple. In 2011, the new CEO, Tim Cook, gave all the employees paid vacation during Thanksgiving. In a memo he wrote, “In recognition of the hard work you’ve put in this year, we’re going to take some extra time off for Thanksgiving. We will shut down with pay on November 21, 22 and 23 so our teams can spend the entire week with their families and friends.”

You may not be able to shut your entire office for three days to show your appreciation, but consider an afternoon off or treat the office to lunch one day, any time of year.

In fact, any gestures of appreciation you make at times other than holidays often get more attention.

Joey Reiman, CEO and founder of BrightHouse, gives all his employees March 4 off every year. He calls it, “the day to March Forth on our dreams.”

Voltaire was probably not talking about company profits with this quote, but it is appropriate in an office setting too: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

The Real Estate Market Will Recover in October – Just Don’t Ask Me Which October, a guest post by Vic Taglia

As managing partner of GGG and the Turnaround Authority, I get the pleasure of providing guest posts by our other partners. The following post is by our newest Partner, Vic Taglia.

A realtor called me today about selling my house in Florida. My neighbor sold his in a short sale for less than half of what he paid four years ago. The realtor told me that new owners of the development will be starting construction at much lower prices, so now may be the time to sell, before the supply increases. The new owners of my development bought the property (with the big name designer golf course, club house, fitness center, tennis courts, pool—you get the picture) out of bankruptcy about 18 months ago.

I spoke with the Property Appraisers of two Florida counties in the past few weeks and they see continuing declines in property values across the board—commercial, residential, industrial, raw land, etc. They have advised their Boards of County Commissioners to prepare for continuing declines in real estate taxes.

Last year we sold an office and warehouse building to an end user. I asked the banker who financed the deal if his big bank was now making real estate loans (I was looking for some good news). He laughed and said this particular deal got done only with SBA guarantees and the personal wealth and guarantee of the buyer’s owner.

I talked with an accountant who tells me his wife is now working for a big auctioneer. “They had their best year ever last year—over 250 auctions,” he said.  They have so many properties to auction, many are held on line.

I have also talked with real estate brokers and appraisers who report the same thing: Real estate in Florida continues to decline in value and they don’t see any recovery on the horizon.

I spoke with a client last week who told me he is selling his 65 foot two story motor yacht (with an elevator, no less).

“I thought you loved that boat,” I said.

He responded, “I do, but I want to buy some 100 acres of land nearby to play with on the weekend.  This land will appreciate in value, my boat won’t. And, besides, I want the cash.”

This is from an entrepreneur whose business generates over a million dollars of cash every year and who has bankers making appointments to try to lend him money.

Another accountant friend sold his house three months ago and moved to a rental house on the water. He reduced the rent 20% by paying a year in advance. He is using the capital from his home to purchase and flip foreclosures.

Wednesday is real estate day in the The Wall Street Journal. It used to be fun to see all the fancy resorts, big condo buildings, ranches, etc. with full page ads. Now the ads are one sixteenth of a page with headlines such as Bankruptcy Court Ordered, Absolute Auction, FDIC Owned Property, etc. Sometimes these are the same properties I saw six years ago.

Land is close to free in my part of Florida and elsewhere, and construction costs are the lowest in decades. I am not shilling for Florida real estate (I can, however, offer you a great deal in a wonderful golf course community outside Tampa), but I want to draw your attention to some hard facts.

1.  Land in many places has reached values unseen in decades.

2.  There is no recovery in sight.

3.  There are bargains to be had for long-term cash buyers.

4.  Owners are reaching their limits of endurance; they are becoming motivated sellers.

5.  And Cash is King, now and forever.

What does your real estate situation look like? Does it confirm or counter this picture?