Jamie’s birthday was on May 26th. She tried to book the day off, but wasn’t able to because an important client would be visiting. Jamie was a little bit disappointed, but understood that the meeting couldn’t be rescheduled.
Instead, Jamie assumed that her boss and colleagues would celebrate her birthday with her at some point during the workday. The week before, she even mentioned that it was coming up. When lunch came around, no one had cupcakes. At the end of the day, no one offered to go for drinks. Everyone forgot.
In the following days and weeks, Jamie found her work environment increasingly intolerable. She found herself getting frustrated with her colleagues for insignificant things. She resented every instruction and request that came from her boss.
Within a month, Jamie had resigned from her job “in order to pursue other opportunities.”
José just finished a big project, with mixed results. It was close to what had been envisioned, but wasn’t successful in the market. Through everything, José often came in to work early, and stayed past dinner, trying to get it all done. His colleague, whose similar project was massively successful thanks to an unexpected celebrity endorsement, was rewarded with a promotion.
José understood that his project didn’t work out as everyone expected. He didn’t expect a promotion. All he wanted was some recognition for the hours of hard work and unpaid overtime he put in.
No one ever said “thank you.” No one ever said “good job,” or “nice try.” No one even said “goodbye,” because instead of giving notice, José just never came back. He didn’t think anyone would care.
Jeremy worked at the same company since its inception 20 years ago. When his 20th anniversary of service finally came up, no one said anything. No one even knew.
The company didn’t have a strategy for thanking employees for their long service, because until Jeremy, no one had ever been with them for that long.
Unlike Jamie and José, Jeremy didn’t quit. Instead, he just found himself being less and less productive. As a longstanding stalwart of the company, and the only link to its history and past, Jeremy knew no one would fire him. No one even knew how long he’d worked there.
Moral of the story: The little things matter. How do you recognize employee achievements?