In the weeks since my last article about recruiting and retaining talented employees, I have received countless phone calls, emails and letters from readers saying, “We feel your pain!”

“We’re going through the same thing too!” they say.

“What are you doing to fix this problem?” they ask.

If I ever doubted that the water well drilling community is, in fact, a community, I believe it now!

As I have responded to so many of you, I don’t yet have the magic solution to the problem. I continue my efforts every single day to recruit and retain passionate and talented team members who share our dedication to delivering clean drinking water to our customers.

Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail.

It dawned on me the other day, though, that my article failed to mention one of the most important aspects of employee retention: Don’t forget to show appreciation!

What do I mean by this?

It’s one thing to give someone a raise, or to put them through a specialized Franklin training program, to add dental insurance to the list of benefits we offer, or to shorten the waiting period required to participate in the retirement program.

It’s an entirely different thing to stop and give someone a hug and say, “Thank you for what you do.” It is an entirely different thing to send someone a thank you note (written is preferable, text is acceptable). It’s an entirely different thing to send gifts to all the wives on mother’s day to thank them for the sacrifice they make every day their husbands are out of town working. It’s an entirely different thing to have care packages at the hotel waiting for the guys when they arrive, full of popcorn, candies, gum and an iTunes gift card.

It’s a whole different ballgame to surprise the men on the jobsite with a snow cone truck ready to serve them ice cold refreshments to quench their thirst on a 110-degree day in Texas.

You see, it’s these little things that mean the most to people. It’s the small acts of kindness that a small family-owned business can do to show our teammates just how much they mean to us.

And I’m sure there are those of you who would say, “I don’t care about a thank you note or a snow cone. I want more money!” I understand that money talks, but I have come to learn that small acts of appreciation scream the loudest.

The honest truth is there are not enough hours in the day for me to say thank you to the men on our team as many times as I want to. There’s not enough money in the world for me to pay them what I believe they are worth. And there’s not enough snow cone juice on earth to feed them as many snow cones as I believe they deserve!

In a small business, every single member of the team plays a critical role in our collective success and happiness.

Someone told me once that a mother’s vacation is only as good as her most miserable child. Well, similarly, our team morale is only as good as our most underappreciated teammate!

When one member of our team is ill, we all feel it, organization wide. When one member of our team suffers a loss, we all suffer a loss. When one group of men has a hiccup in the field, it doesn’t take long for all the fellas to find out about it. We are family, for better or worse.

We are bonded with super glue. I do not believe that bond is formed by adding dental insurance to the benefits list. I do not believe that bond is formed by upping the annual steel toe boot allowance. No, that bond is formed because we believe in the importance of showing appreciation where appreciation is so clearly deserved.