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RETAIL THERAPY: Can You Pay for Performance?

I’m going to describe a recent experience I had, and I want you to guess where it took place.

I walked in to the store and was greeted by an employee who guided me in the right direction for the services I needed. I waited in line, but was offered on multiple times the option to go to a self-service kiosk. When I got to the service counter, I was greeted by a smiling employee, who by all outward appearances seemed to love her job­—on a Saturday no less.

Guess where yet? No, not a high-end department store; nope, not a local food joint. Believe it or not, it was my local U.S. Postal Office—notorious for being the black hole of customer service.

Yet, on this day, the employee didn’t once give me a wince of complaint as she calmly rationed out exactly 73 postcard stamps for my wedding save-the-date cards. I couldn’t help but thank her for her positive demeanor.

It was the perfect real-world example I needed on the verge of releasing the findings from NRHA’s 2014 Employee Compensation Report.

Despite heaps of employee management books and articles I’ve read that advise me that pay is not the sole motivation for employee productivity and happiness, I still find it hard to swallow that pay wouldn’t be the biggest factor in an employee’s happiness, performance and retention.

But the findings in our report, mixed with my recent experience with my local postal employee—who I’d venture to say wasn’t smiling because she was making millions—got me thinking that maybe motivation does come from more than just salary.

It’s one of the reasons NRHA conducts the Employee Compensation Report every five years—to get the pulse on what retailers are offering their employees so other retailers can gauge their own compensation plans.

Why should you care? Besides the fact that the economy is bouncing back and your employees are getting more options for employment than they have in the past five years, content employees are less likely to steal from you, provide better customer services and serve as quality brand ambassadors for your business. What’s more, in most organizations, payroll tends to be one of the top expense items, meaning managers and owners should always be keeping close eyes on it.

So after interviewing hundreds of retailers, we’ve compiled the data and broken it out by store type to provide benchmark data.

Changes over the years may surprise you, as more retailers opt for fringe benefits, such as flex-time and retirement packages, than in the past. Maybe one of the most interesting findings from the study was that many retailers say they don’t plan to change their current health care offerings in the near future.

Check out a preview of the findings, if for no other reason than you want to be a better place for people to work.

For more information on purchasing your copy of NRHA’s 2014 Employee Compensation Report, call 1-800-772-4424, or email me at jkoch@nrha.org.

About Jaime Koch

Jaime Koch was the managing editor of Hardware Retailing Magazine. Jaime regularly traveled around the country and internationally to visit with retailers and share their stories. Jaime was honored by the American Society of Business Publishers for Editorial Excellence.

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