Making your staff feel appreciated is more important than ever this year as the retail industry faces a severe shortage of employees.  The essential elements of creating an appealing workplace remain the same: offering competitive wages and benefits, scheduling the same hours every week, providing meaningful work and arranging for the flexibility needed to accommodate a good work/life balance. But what else can you do to make your employees know that you value them?

The importance of personal expressions of thanks, from you and/or your manager, can’t be overstated. It makes me sad that masks and social distancing have made it difficult for me to have regular one-on-one time with all our employees.  I look forward to when we can start to do that again, along with the opportunity to express our thanks publicly at a staff seminars and or social event. In the meantime, a handwritten note is always welcome – especially went sent to the employee’s home address.

Recognition can take many forms, and is a good way to show that you value a staff member’s work. We do a bi-weekly newsletter that goes out via email as well as being posted on the bulletin board behind the counter. In it we recognize employee work anniversaries and special projects, ideally including a photo. We have a template on the store computer that makes this easy to create the newsletter, but you could also used Constant Contact, Mailchimp or any other email marketing services.

A monetary bonus is a tangible and welcome reward that can be given to honor a special effort, or the conclusion of a particularly busy season. We give our staff members the opportunity to give each other “Way to Go” coupons that can be accumulated and turned in for an extra boost on their paycheck.

Gifts to your employees, especially during the holiday season, might include a credit towards store merchandise, or a gift card for an “experience” such as dining out or going to a show at a local arts venue. In the days before COVID, we always brought a masseuse in to do chair massages the weekend before Christmas. Treats and healthy snacks are another way to show that you appreciate all that your staff is doing.

In recognizing your employees’ hard work, don’t forget to show some appreciation for all that you do. This has been a stressful time to be a boss, and you deserve to treat yourself kindly.

Happy retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder