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Use Labor Day to Reboot Appreciation

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

Labor day has become the last hoorah of summer and the unofficial end of the vacation season.

It means travel, cook outs, and vacations.  It is a three day weekend for many and a last chance to soak up some sun before the kids head back to school and the weather turns cold.

But it is about more that that.

Labor Day was signed into law in 1894 to celebrate workers and the contributions they have made to the prosperity, strength, and success of the country.

This should make us all pause and think about that for a moment.  While its a great time to reconnect with family and friends, its also a time to consider the contributions that your team makes to the fabric of your organization.  Unless you are a one person show, you don’t do it alone.  You don’t serve your Guests, develop new products, or build your brand by yourself.

Your team is likely the most attuned to your customers as well as being the face of your business.

So think about that as you come out of the long weekend and take the time to celebrate their wins.  Recognition is an amazing thing for culture and appreciation is like rocket fuel for service.

The best part about recognition is that it shows real care for your team, and they are likely to turn that care right back around on your customers.

“One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others.” -Lewis Carroll

When it comes to recognition, keep these 4 things in mind:

Reinforce business or customer needs

The old saying goes “what gets rewarded gets repeated.”

When it comes to rewarding behaviors, be sure you are reinforcing the behaviors that lead to success.  Anything worth celebrating should promote safety, business success, or Guest happiness.  If it doesn’t, then who cares?  This also includes anything that allows team members to support each other in the spirit of teamwork as well.

Be Specific

Commit right now to stop saying “Thanks for all you are doing.”

Why? Because its meaningless.

Challenge your self as a leader to be better than that.  Think about what specifically the person has done to drive success and thank them for that – chances are if you can’t identify the business or Guest need we discussed above, its not worth talking about.

Be Timely

Appreciation has a shelf life.  When your team delivers excellence in service or execution, be sure to deliver recognition quickly.  The psychology here is that you are trying to tie the behavior back to the positive recognition in a way that makes it sticky.  That said, late recognition is preferable to none at all, but if you want to maximize impact look to deliver thanks quickly.

When you jump to celebrate positive behaviors with the same speed and gusto that you would move to curtail negative behaviors, it lets your team know that you are even more interested in catching them doing it right than you are to discipline when they get it wrong.

Tie Back to Purpose

Its great to recognize tasks.  Cashiers should be speedy and polite; sales attendants should keep their areas stocked and organized; the person working the churro stand should have plenty of fried deliciousness available during busy times.

But think about what your Guests are trying to accomplish and tie back to that.  Every Customer has a “job to be done” and we are there to support them.  You are inspiring lifelong memories at your hotel.  You are growing relationships around a dinner table.  You are selling someone the clothes they will wear to the biggest job interview of their life.

When you tie recognition back to purpose – and to helping your Customers win – that’s a powerful way to reinforce great behaviors.

So take some time this weekend, or as you head back into work following the holiday, to show true appreciation for those who serve your customers.

After all, that is how we reinforce their efforts to treat every customer like a cherished friend.


Tony Johnson, CCXP Customer Experience Speaker | Author |Trainer | Consultant



Improve Your Customer Service with my Book: TOGETHER WE SERVE: Four Proven Strategies to Create Winning Experiences for Your Guests and Your Team Click to Purchase on


Tony is an award winning speaker and author on the topics of sales growth, customer experience, and leadership. Tony speaks to thousands annually and has been featured on ABC News and Fox News. He is available for customer service training, business planning, motivational keynotes, leadership workshops, and employee service skills training.

Tony is the founder of Ignite Your Service and the Chief Experience Officer for 4xi Global Consulting.


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