Clear Comm Consulting

Employee Appreciation – a Year End Reflection 

Dec 28, 2023

As the year comes to an end, I recently saw a guide to tipping. What is the appropriate tip for the people we interact with? One suggestion was for the person who delivers the newspaper, and, of course, very few people actually receive a physical paper these days. I, however, do receive a paper at my home each day and my delivery person recently left an envelope for a tip, then promptly did not deliver my paper the very next day. (I’m still trying to figure out what to do about that.)  

One of most important calculations in tabulating a tip is the nature and quality of the service provided, but can I also suggest another important factor to include while you give this some thought? What is this person’s life like? Do they have to travel a great distance for this job? Might they have to have two or three jobs to pay their bills or provide for their family? 

During a brief interaction it may be hard to know these things, but that’s why I try to have a more meaningful conversation, when possible, in these situations. Find out how the person is doing, where they are from, how long they have worked there, etc. From that you can learn a lot about the person and what makes them tick. If you have the means, a more generous tip may be in order. 

There is also recent discourse around the auto-tip mentality of some businesses, where a small exchange can result in the expectation of a tip. Yes, I agree, some small effort may not result in a need for a tip, but I also think of this in another way. By building into their payment systems the need to opt out of a tip the companies are hoping you’ll supplement their workers pay.  

How about another solution? How about paying the employees a better wage from the start? It’s part of what I call the 150% approach that some firms seem to take in the way they do business. Too many times I observe a system that seems to be built on a plan that says, “We’ll have each employee do 150% of the work, save money on labor and realize a healthier bottom line each quarter.”  

Where might you experience this? One person behind the counter when there should be three. Waiting on hold for 20 minutes or more to speak with someone – if that is even an option. On-line services to solve problems that actually offer vague answers or direction. Sound familiar? 

Often, I can imagine a hedge fund or leadership team made up of people who’ve never done any of these jobs, folks who are simply looking at a spread sheet who decide to cut numbers or find a plug-and-play technology solution that gets them a bigger year-end bonus. While that may work for this quarter, you’ll see more angry customers and less growth in the long term. 

So, as the year comes to an end, tip generously if you can and support businesses that support their employees. That kind of encouragement works on the personal and business-wide level every day.

Here’s to a great 2024!

Cary Pfeffer is the founder of ClearComm Consulting,, a Phoenix, AZ-based communications consulting firm which is helping people tell their story. He works with clients to make the most of their media and live audience communication. Email him at: [email protected].

Follow along with Cary on Twitter @CaryPfeffer

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