Work is Awesome!

Wouldn’t it be great to have your employees say, “Work is awesome!”?
Even if they don’t use those exact words, you do want happy employees who enjoy what they do. The “above and beyond” customer service a retail store needs to deliver in order to be successful should begin with happy employees. Retailers that develop long-term incentives, perks and rewards and recognition for its staff often see benefits like less employee turn-over and better customer service, a combination that can lead to an increase in sales.
Motivational speakers, extra staff development and monetary incentives like paid health coverage are typical for big companies, but what about independent retailers? What perks can a brick and mortar retailer offer employees?
Ideas for Low-Cost Perks.
The cost of instituting most perks is a relatively small outlay compared to what may be received by creating a happy workforce. Here are some low-cost ideas for any retailer, large or small:
1. Discounts on Merchandise:  The obvious… offer workers a percentage off on any product you sell. Make sure it’s easy to access manufacture pro deals for the brands you carry. You want your employees to have a personal relationship with these products. It will make it much easier and more fun to sell more of them.
2. Celebrations: Holidays, inventory, or exceeding sales goals are all good times to throw a party. Plan the party away from the store at the local watering hole or host a small gathering in the break room or maybe have a potluck BBQ at someone’s house.
3. Personal Time: Show your generosity by allowing parents off work when school is out for teacher in-service or other holidays. Personal days off shouldn’t be confused with vacation time. This family flexibility and support goes a long way. It doesn’t have to be costly but it can be team building.
4. Tickets and Gift Cards: Businesses often receive promotions or discounts on shows, sporting events, movie tickets, resorts. Give these tickets to your staff as rewards or incentives for meeting sales goals. Maybe even consider small gift cards for the local gas station or bookstore.
5. Free Food: Who doesn’t like to eat? This favorite low-cost perk can be as simple as bringing in donuts or bagels a few times each month. Some retailers even buy lunch every Friday for scheduled staff.
6. Time Off for Charity: Providing time off for staff to participate in charity events not only shows goodwill towards workers, but it also helps build community involvement.
7. Break-room Entertainment: If you don’t have the room (or the budget) to put a pool or ping pong table in the break-room, consider smaller active games like Nerf basketball or Foosball.
8. Random Acts of Kindness: Not all perks need to be planned. A simple verbal and written recognition of a job well done can go far in improving employee morale.
Give Them What They Really Want.
As you create benefits and perks for your staff, be sure they’re relevant and appropriate. You may feel you’re being generous when you buy pizza for employees staying late the night before inventory, but they may not see it that way. An extra day off or allowing your worker to come in late another day may be a better offering of goodwill instead.
The best way to know what your staff would prefer is to simply ask them. Make a point during the next staff meeting to take ideas and suggestions for perks they would like to receive. You may be surprised to learn it is something simple that you can easily implement in your retail shop. Bring employees into the process. It will make them happy.
We’d love to hear about the Employee Perks you have used that make happy employees.