My first two years working in the retail jewelry business, I had a district manager named Mark. Mark was a retail veteran who didn´t mind rolling up his sleeves and working right along side of us.
On Christmas Eve, he would buy us a huge boiled shrimp platter from Red Lobster so that we could snack on it for most of the day and not have to leave the store. We´d been working hard since before Thanksgiving, we wanted to maximize our commissions and our store´s sales, and we were worn out from all the work the season entailed.
Mark made it fun for us on Christmas Eve. For the most part we forgot how tired we were and went out and had fun. The hours raced by and we had fun selling. Employees looked forward to Christmas Eve because they knew we would not only have fun, but we would eat well (AND close at 6PM).
Then Mark resigned to go into business for himself. Our next district manager was Tom. By this time I was the manager and when I told Tom I planned to continue the shrimp tradition, he overruled me. A shrimp tray was too expensive he said. People could go out and buy their own lunches. When I pointed out that we had more coverage with the shrimp tray because people didn´t leave the store, he told me he didn´t care. So, he saved the price of a tray, but I wonder how much we lost in sales because our people were not as motivated as they had been in the past.
The shrimp caused us to “party” and I’m convinced we stood out from all of the other jewelry stores at the mall. Not having shrimp made Christmas Eve “Day 26” in the Christmas season and mentally we were no different than any other store.
In addition to increasing your inventory during your busy season, what can you do to increase your employees´ motivation as well? Are you taking care of your troops?
Or, in other words, don´t skimp on the shrimp!