According to my employees, I make crack dip. It’s really nothing crazy and I haven’t had a flavor that was ever considered disagreeable. My secret ingredient supplier is no longer around, so I have had to find alternate resources and blends, but without fail I’m still told that it's crack dip. So, you're wondering; how does dip equate to Employee Incentives?
One day, I made my dip and brought it to work to snack on. To me, it was just my regular veggie dip, homemade because it’s cheaper and fresher than a store bought dip. It just so happened to be garlic flavored, and apparently pungent. One employee asked, “Hey boss, what ya eating?” I said, “Just dip and crackers, want some?” Boy, was THAT a mistake! After leaving the break room to handle a customer, I returned to see my employees frantically shoveling the dip into their mouths like naughty toddlers (they actually looked more like rabid rats). I squealed, “WHAT THE HELL?” (okay so it might have been closer to “WTF?!”) Through cracker and garlic cheese dip-filled mouths came “Boss, this is like CRACK. We couldn’t stop!” And before you ask, for Hell’s sake NO, I do not hire drug addicts. Now: food, chocolate, coffee, and dip addicts, that’s a different story. As butt hurt as I was that my dip was gone, I realized that I had found something that motivated my employees. And that's how my crack dip was born!
First and foremost, you have to know the difference between an incentive and something that bolsters moral. Either payoff has to be deductible for me as the business owner and explainable to my accountant. Incentives are rewards for achieving goals. An incentive can be something as simple as a $5 gift card to an employee's favorite coffee shop, or gift cards for groceries or movies. These rewards must be somewhat tailored to the interest of the employee. The incentive, payoff, or reward is given when they meet personal sales and store goals.
This year, we've done a monthly trifecta of incentives. The person who sells the oldest inventory item gets a $5 gift card. The person who sells the highest priced item in the month gets a $5 gift card. Then for each $10k hit in monthly sales (not including scrap sales), all the employees get a grocery gift card. Building in a teamwork incentive gives even the part-time employees as much incentive to do well as full-time employees. Some employees may not be as driven by competition, but knowing that their support and back-end work gets the store to a sales goal and gets them a reward is an incentive on its own. Incentives are handed out, along with compliments, at our monthly breakfast meeting. (That's right, the boss buys a nice sit down breakfast, in a real restaurant, each month. The ball pit at McDonald's, while befitting our #goldenballs lifestyle, is not sit down.)
What really keeps moral going is an atmosphere of sharing. You know, that whole “Do Unto Others” thing. In our shop, one person is really great at baking cookies, and we cherish those plates of sugar enriched flour. One person is an ice cream fiend and when they call to ask who wants what, the attitudes begin melting. When hunting season rolls around, the employee who brings in deer or elk jerky is forgiven for taking those extra days off. Yes, food is universal and easy to share, and when the boss is late but brings everyone’s favorite coffee well, all is forgiven.
Now for the real dip! This might be hard to do if you have a bevy of employees, but I’ve maxed out at five for now, so birthday months are always fun. I plan a spa day or some other total immersion for the employee who is having a birthday (or in some cases has gone through a hardship but is still a trooper at the shop). Here's the best part; when they come in to work, clock in, and go about their chores, I call them into my office. This is when I hand them an envelope and tell them to get their stuff. (Yes, I’m totally mean!!!) I’ll have arranged transportation for them or even take them to their special day myself. This is their day to be special, get pampered, and because I keep them clocked in for their shift (not so mean now, huh?), they're still getting paid .
These little things aren’t employee incentives, it’s my way of treating my employees like the valued assets that they are. In my experience, your employees are your working investments. I treat them better than I treat myself. When I want to enjoy a little bit of crack dip, I justify making a big batch, because it tastes best when shared.
My #goldenballs motto is "No matter where I stand in life, I want to be standing with my friends and those who have helped me by my side, instead of balancing on top of their severed heads."
If you’d like to gaze more deeply into my #goldenballs, the industry, or my philanthropic endeavors, please feel free to LIKE, Follow, and share me @Ruby Mountain Pawn on Facebook, @PawnRuby, www.rubymountainpawn.com or @DateAgeSoftware, @DataAgeBusinessSystems, blog.pawnmaster.com