I love to watch the show called Undercover Boss. It is a reality show where executives go undercover within their own organization to learn more about the business. Employees are unaware of the trainee's true identity.
I've seen employees given $20,000 for college, $40,000 for a wedding and honeymoon, $50,000 for a child's surgery and many more extraordinary gifts. Sometimes the employee is rewarded with a new job position and raise. Other times they begin working with the design team to share creative ideas. It is truly amazing to see humble, unknown people rewarded for doing their job better than expected.
A recent episode was about the horse racing industry. An industry that makes millions of dollars every year. The end of the show came and employees were called in one by one. The boss spoke to each one about the experience of working with them. Then he rewarded them. One woman was given more horses to train so she could make more money. Another was given a job closer to her home so she wouldn't have to drive so far. As the rewards were being delivered, I noticed a trend. None of them cost the boss any money. They were rewards for the employee and each one was deeply grateful. I was just struck by the irony that an industry that makes so much money gave so little to the people who help bring in that money.
Please don't misunderstand me. These employees weren't owed any reward at all, much less any monetary reward. I just thought it odd that one of the wealthiest industries in the world, rewarded their employees without spending any money.