Employee recognition is a widespread practice but at Apple, it was focused on recognizing people’s contribution to the product. Organizing how to say thank-you and when can make a big difference. The $100 bill Steve handed out to all the manufacturing employees at the factory along with his simple “Thank you” when the first Mac rolled off the assembly line is an example of what I’m talking about.
When you recognize people the right way, it reinforces what type of performance you are intent on making standard in the organization. There is something about a crisp $100 bill handed out by the CEO that is magic. We also believed that it had to be recognition for the entire team, not just for selected individuals. That made a huge difference.
Another unique Apple thank-you story: When the company went public, Woz walked the halls handing out some of his stock certificates to employees as his way of showing appreciation.
The employees at the Apple stores during the launch of the iPhone 4 were kept in good spirits by company-provided food—according to my source, “good food.” The New York store on Fifth Avenue, one employee said, provided a masseur for overworked employees during one of the launches—like a Steve Jobs Zen thing.
Saying thanks is not just a nice thing to do but a communication tool that reinforces the most important outcome you want for your business; it multiplies your investment in the business.