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Old Feb 28, 2002, 09:42 PM
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Mike C's Avatar
Roxboro, NC U.S.A.
Joined Sep 2000
714 Posts
Your most appreciated work perks?

I run a small business and am not able to offer great insurance or 401K or anything like that to my employees. So, I try to make up by providing a fun place to work with fair hours. It is clean work as sales associates in a retail business. I think I have great starting pay at $8 an hour for what most consider part time work. Try to show my appreciation with verbal kudos and pats on the back. I even gave all of the ladies who work for me 3 roses each for valentines day. What have you gotten from jobs in the past that really meant a lot from you? I know that big raises and bonuses are on the top of the list but I am thinking of things other than money. You know, the things that made you feel like king of the world for the day. The reason I ask is that I have lost 2 employees in the last 3 weeks and this is going to seriously cut into my flying time this summer!! Gotta find some more good employees soon to keep me from going crazy.
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Old Feb 28, 2002, 10:33 PM
Ascended Master
Sparky Paul's Avatar
Palmdale, CA
Joined Oct 2000
13,203 Posts
YOur business sounds a lot better than one I heard of.. a cell-phone distributor.. Cute Oriental gal.
Apparently the pay is her rubbing up against you.
At least one guy was there 6 months and got zip for pay. Not the minimum, but nada!
He finally noticed something was amiss with the miss.
.
I think perks are earned for the most part. Employees that do more than the bare minimum..
Come in on time, leave when the day is done and not before.. notify when there's delays..
show some interest in the business.. time off w/pay if you can handle it when there's unforeseen problems at home.. within reason .. Can't be too many parent's deaths..
It's so difficult to find good help, and finding honest help..
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Old Feb 28, 2002, 10:57 PM
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Texas
Joined Aug 1999
5,110 Posts
The occasional free plane doesn't hurt...

Honestly, it is hard to say what works. When I was in the service, I was paid peanuts like most service members, and as with most members, I was given “moral boosters” like little letters of appreciation, medals, and awards. I felt a few were earned, but I also felt that most were meant to distract me from the fact that I was being paid very little. What actually was a big boost were tangible things that made my day better every now and then. Occasionally our chief would make a burger run or pizza run for the shop. Better yet, he would occasionally cut us loose for the afternoon and we would all go to the local base park, drink beer, eat fresh grilled burgers outdoors, and play horseshoes. It may sound silly, but it was a very nice surprise when we got some free food, beer, and a little fun outside... especially since we worked in a building without windows.
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Old Mar 01, 2002, 02:18 AM
Libertas in Infinitum
logan5's Avatar
Houston Ellington, Texas, United States
Joined Feb 2001
312 Posts
working relationship with astronauts, coming in at 1:30 in the morning for flight (day of launch and day of landing) support, going out to the cape and crawl around the vehicle and launch structures.

logan5
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Old Mar 01, 2002, 07:26 AM
Alarm Bells Continuing!
Big Foot 48's Avatar
Arizona
Joined Oct 2001
276 Posts
Congratulations on achieving one of the American dreams of owning your own business!

It sounds like you are very attentive to your employees, which is the key to keeping them. People crave recognition and appreciation, almost more than money!

You might do exit interviews on the people who left to really understand why they left. Or have a co-worker do it. Get to the REAL reason, so you will understand it.

If you are limited in the financial benefits, (although I think you could set up a 401k plan very cheaply - you don't need to make matching contributions, you know), I would concentrate on flexibility in time off, implementation of their ideas, participation in business decisions and other things that would make the workplace a fun and nice place to come to everyday.

Free flying lessons?
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Old Mar 01, 2002, 07:47 AM
Van
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Van's Avatar
New York
Joined Nov 2001
343 Posts
Free lunches go a long way... Gets everyone interacting as a group, and wastes less time then letting people go out.
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Old Mar 01, 2002, 08:54 AM
Go get them Meg!
lrsudog's Avatar
Cabin 21...
Joined Jan 2001
2,118 Posts
I think that the problem is that no matter what perks you give, $8.00 an hour is a job, not a career. I find it hard to see how anybody with a family to support (likely your most stable type of employee) can stay very long in a job that pays less than $1000.00 a month after taxes. Not that you should raise pay rates.
Most talented people that work for that kind of wage are in transition. Usually young adults looking to move up, or retirees who find satisfaction in continuing to use their skills. The most important things for either group tend to be management appreciation, some participation in management, opportunity for gaining experience, and flexability of schedule.
You might also want to try tying some of the compensation to performance, i.e. commissions. This dangles a carrot, especially after someone gets a little extra in their check one week. Also, this way, the more they sell, the more you make.
I managed retail stores for a time, and sadly I think that it may just be part of the deal to expect pretty quick turnover, whatever you do. I think it may be just luck that gets you an employee that lasts longer than a year or so.
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Old Mar 01, 2002, 04:10 PM
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Mike C's Avatar
Roxboro, NC U.S.A.
Joined Sep 2000
714 Posts
Thanks for all of the replys so far folks. So i can hire some cute guy to rub up on my employees (mostly female in my business) and feed them more? I like this and it seems pretty inexpensive if the guy I use for motivation isn't to expensive! Seriously, I do buy them meals often. OF course it is not as often since I went on a diet myself! I am not a fan of the flexible hours anymore. I did this for years and I was usually the one who got stuck with the crappy hours. I don't mind working my share of bad times but after 15 years it got kind of old. The commision part is something I have considered but I was scared that my store would lose its carefree happy atmosphere. Also, I have heard of the battles of employees who fight over sales when two of them speak to the same customer. Anyone have any experience with this type of scenario on one side or the other? I think that having a happy team will be more beneficial in the long run than people who are only out for themselves.
As for owning my own business, I cannot take credit for it as I am third generation and the business which has been around since 1946. The business was 20 when I was born.
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Old Mar 01, 2002, 05:38 PM
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Houston
Joined May 2001
797 Posts
How many employees do you have? Are most of them full time?
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Old Mar 01, 2002, 07:33 PM
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Mike C's Avatar
Roxboro, NC U.S.A.
Joined Sep 2000
714 Posts
I have 6 employees total. Only 2 of them are full time though.
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Old Mar 01, 2002, 08:24 PM
Go get them Meg!
lrsudog's Avatar
Cabin 21...
Joined Jan 2001
2,118 Posts
You can tie compensation to sales in a way that each sale does not directly award a commision. We used to do it this way; Say your margin is enough that you can afford to pay the employee 10%(Just easy numbers for demonstration) commission. Track the sales for your employee for a week. Let's say he/she sells $4000.00. Divide what he/she sells by the number of hours he/she worked in that week. You get average sales in $ per hour. multiply the sales p/hour figure by the 10% commission. If he/she sells $4000.00 and works 40 hours, the commission would be $10.00 bucks an hour, right?
Now here's the good part. (finally, I know) Start your employee at $8.00 per hour. If he/she averages more than $80.00 an hour in sales for say, one month, give her/him a 5% raise in hourly rate, to $8.40 p/hour. Keep doing this as long as the employee per hour sales keep growing. Eventually, your employee will max out their ability, and you will be paying them 10% (or whatever) and your margin will stay the same. If the employee's sales averages drop for one month, their per hour rate drops. accordingly. It really becomes good for them after one year, because you can compare the same month as the previous year. This way if business is seasonal, they won't starve in the down times, and your payroll won't double in the busy season.
The downside is that if your sales drop you may be paying more in hourly salary than you would if you paid straight commission, but as the business owner, the risk and the reward fall on you.
The upside is that if sales continue to grow, you as the owner will always be ahead of the margin curve. Also, this allows your sales staff to relax a bit with customers, because not every sale is a life or death struggle for a commission. Slow steady increase in client base provides the reward, not the immediate sale. It also really puts the employees salary in their own hands, and reduces animosity, because they all know that pay is purely dependant on performance and a willingness to work more hours.

At least this is how it worked for us.
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Old Mar 01, 2002, 09:29 PM
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Craig Logan's Avatar
Manchester, TN USA
Joined Nov 2001
217 Posts
A place I used to work for gave us a paid day off on our birthdays. Made me feel special since I was off while others were working! Much better than just a holiday.
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Old Mar 02, 2002, 09:55 AM
Senior Member
Houston
Joined May 2001
797 Posts
You sound to me as if you are well aware of what to do... with limited cash resources, recognition in front of others for good work is a powerful tool. With typical turnover in a smallish group such as yours you must use your instinct and carefully choose new recruits. Try to avoid the negative waves. If someone isn't working out, do everyone the favor of letting them go.
Some of your best may not stay because of money, but part timers are less likely to leave for that reason. They also do not generally expect the benefits that full timers would. Lastly, personnel changes are less traumatic if fewer scheduling hours are affected. So, keep hiring part timers.
Good luck!
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Old Mar 02, 2002, 03:02 PM
Registered User
Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Joined Nov 2000
4,359 Posts
FREE UPS!
My company lets the employees go back to the Shipping Department & send out their Holiday Pakages using our UPS system (You must do, no shipping employees can be involved).
I must admit, we kind of abuse the perk as we are sending packages out all year long now.
I am going to have to tone down how much I use this perk as I am now using it to ship my Ebay packages, if they find this out I may be in trouble.
-Mike-
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