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Improving Worker Productivity Through Praise

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As we previously discussed, a business process solution at Applebee’s was digital technology for faster service has been integrated into several of its restaurants. Though the chain hopes the technology proves beneficial, a recent dining experience of my own has reaffirmed the value in good, “old fashioned” service and the simple act of praise.

I dined in an Applebee’s restaurant with a very large group of people.  Our group was cordial and relatively calm, but given the mass of bodies at our table, we were needless to say our waiter’s “challenge” for the evening.  Besides the usual drink refills, appetizer orders, split meals and divided checks, we also brought the challenge of whining children, crying babies, food allergies, side substitutions and yes, even diet restrictions. As if that wasn’t enough, our presence came at one of the busiest times of the week: happy hour. Suffice it to say, the hour was probably far from delightful for our server.

Yet, despite the many trips back and forth to our table, our waitress went above and beyond in service. She brought the discontent children toys and snacks. She brought complimentary sides of fries to those who initially substituted them with salads but regretted the decision later. She was speedy, efficient, friendly and most importantly, accommodating.

Granted, I realize that part of the job description when working in the restaurant industry is to be exactly that: accommodating. But I have experienced poor (if not borderline rotten) service in the past. So, when I come across service at its best, I can easily recognize how truly great it is to see and even more so experience. And that is why I took the following actions post-dinner.

employee satisfaction from praise

© Flickr user Alan Light

Full and happy, I felt compelled to praise our waitress for her phenomenal service. She thanked us all for our recognition and immediately began cleaning up our table. However I was not satisfied with leaving without further praise, so I thought perhaps her manager would appreciate the feedback.

“How can I help you today?” the manager kindly inquired.

“I just wanted to let you know how fantastic our server Mindy was during our dinner tonight,” I replied.

“That’s wonderful to hear,” she responded.

“Yes. Mindy was extremely accommodating and really went above and beyond to make sure we had a great dining experience. Thank you for having such a friendly and nicely trained staff.”

I smiled and began to walk away, but was quickly stopped by the clearly grateful manager.

Thank you so much for seeking me out. You have no idea how rare it is for any diner to take the time to relay compliments. Believe it or not, feedback like yours helps our staff out the most and makes them better.

The best compensation to a job well done is not always monetary in value. There is something to be said about passing along deserving and sincere praise. Trusting and believing in your employees, your colleagues and/or your stakeholders is incredibly important. Yet, if you don’t take the time to express such appreciation they may never know the value they hold. Lacking a sense of value may deter individuals from striving for high performance, efficiency, or even success.

Personal drive and motivation are key components to success in any job. So, take the time to show your appreciation to those who excel or even show improvement. You may just find that by doing so, you’ll benefit just as much as they do!

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Ashley Lee

Ashley Lee

Ashley has been working with the AccelaWork team since 2008. She is a communications expert with a background in corporate work, and a graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in Public Relations. She lives in the greater Indianapolis area with her husband and four children. Ashley enjoys jewelry, fashion, and coffee.
Ashley Lee

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  • http://www.starlawest.com Starla West

    Ashley – thank you for this wonderful story and blog post. Kudos to you for taking the extra step needed to be sure Mindy’s outstanding service was recognized and appreciated – not only by you, but also her manager.

    This week on my Facebook fan page I plan to discuss tipping etiquette. My husband and I are firm believers that if we WANT exceptional service, we must be willing to PRAISE and REWARD exceptional service differently than we praise and reward good or average service. This holds true for tipping. The tip we give for exceptional service should always be different than the tip we give for average service.

    Thank you again for this post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!

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