Your service to customers is only as good as your employees. To remind them that what they do affects customers, why not attach notes to employees' paychecks thanking them for that week's achievement? That's the approach of Jim Johnson, president of Brandy's Automotive Repair, headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill.

Johnson personalizes his handwritten comments for each of his 70 employees. Sometimes he comments on performance, "Joe, I noticed you had a record week on number of cars served and fewest mistakes!" He might thank them, "Chris, thanks for coming in an extra half day to take care of that customer." Or, he might congratulate a mechanic on earning a bonus or having a baby. "Writing 70 comments takes time, but each employee is important, not just a number," says Johnson. "I want employees to know that I notice and appreciate their good work."

Do employees find the comments corny or paternalistic? "To the contrary," says Johnson, "they tell me they miss my notes when I'm away on vacation, and I've heard from spouses that the comments are appreciated."

Pay envelopes also include employee rankings for the Employee of the Year Contest. (The winner gets a trip to Las Vegas.) Employees are ranked on the number of customers served and error rates. The contest encourages the mechanics to be the best they can be, asserts Johnson. Linking paychecks with performance statistics and personal comments sends a message to employees that service is important because--when it comes to performance reviews and bonuses--customers impact their salaries.

Copyright 1997 G&J USA Publishing