Top tips for supporting your staff in the lead up to summer.
It’s no secret that the earlier part of the year, from January till May, can be difficult, especially when it comes to employee morale and their cash flow. New Year’s resolutions have been broken, it’s cold outside and summer feels like a very long time away. As a result, your employees will be searching for ways to cheer themselves up. But with monthly salaries stretched and most people working in retail are on the national minimum wage, stress can really take its toll, often affecting performance and productivity at work. So what can your company do to retain loyal employees and support them through the early months of the year. Follow these simple tips and lift the mood of everyone in the company:
- Encourage employees to keep fit. When it’s freezing outside, the gym can seem like the only option for keeping fit. However, when money is tight, a gym membership might be the last thing someone wants to fork out for. So why not offer free or discounted gym membership to your staff? Or perhaps you might offer an exercise class during lunch times? This would be a great way to allow your team to get to know each other too, and work in a team. Whatever you do, encouraging employees to remain active and healthy is going to result in long term benefits for the business. After all, a happy healthy team ensures better productivity for the business.
- Set challenges. To improve overall wellbeing, set informal challenges to help employees meet their goals. For example, reward them for attending an on-site financial education seminar, taking a step towards clearing their debt, putting monthly savings aside or even packing a healthy lunch every day. These challenges can be big or small, but either way they will keep employees striving to reach their goals through the long, winter months.
- Offer one-to-one meetings with financial consultants. Offering your employees the opportunity to have a face to face meeting with a qualified financial consultant goes a long way to improving their personal finance habits. You could start small, offering an on-site financial planning seminar to those who are interested and then think about whether it is worth offering appointments one on one. This would help staff with a range of topics, from budgeting to retirement planning.
- Think about where you can offer a discount. A simple way to help employees hang onto more cash at the start of the year is to offer negotiated discounts on car and home insurance, technology and days out with their family. Some companies even provide a voluntary employee purchase program, allowing their staff to buy household items and educational services through payroll deduction. Employees are better able to take control of their finances by setting spending limits, especially when working within the retail industry.
- Recognise hard work. Award an employee each week or month for exceptional work. You could roll this out across the rest of the year, but be sure to acknowledge the winning employee with an announcement to the rest of the team and a small prize, like a bottle of wine or restaurant voucher. This will motivate both the individual and the rest of the team, who will feel compelled to try and win the prize next time. Announcing the scheme, and encouraging some healthy competition, at the start of the year should help motivate employees. Merit-based pay (via salary, benefits, vacation, bonuses, etc) is also an effective way to align your business goals with the financial goals of your top performers. But don’t forget that there is a link between stress and productivity and members of staff who work the hardest and are on their feet all day, will need a stress-relieving vacation more often than some. Build loyalty with your best people or pay the price.
- Re-examine your benefits offering. The first part of the year is a great time to examine the benefits package that you offer to employees. The more you can do to show support and care for your staff, the more likely you are to retain and attract top talent. Do you have a pension or healthcare plan? Can you supply a company car? Do you offer help with financial wellbeing? Aim to do all you can to create an atmosphere of understanding and support, where your employees feel like they can come to you whether they are struggling financially or emotionally.
Whatever industry you are a part of, your team are key to ensuring your business is successful. If you show that you are there to support them, by making life that little bit easier from the start of the year and beyond, they are more likely to remain motivated and engaged. Not only will this increase productivity at work, but it will increase the likelihood of them remaining loyal to the company for a long time to come.