Gone are the days where quarterly bonuses, performance-based pay raises, and other financial incentives motivate employees. While formal employee benefits are good for business, they are not a guarantee of employee or team performance.
In fact, studies have proved that “soft” benefits, such as employee incentive programs and a positive company culture, are directly responsible for driving increased efficiencies, productivity among employees, and customer satisfaction. Not to mention, "employee-friendly" business practices decrease the chance of employee burnout and boost morale.
A formal employee incentive program, or even elements of it, shouldn't break the bank. Here are 21 ways you can incentivize your employees and create a remarkable pharmacy culture.
- Blow out the candles. Host a monthly hour-long birthday breakfast for any employee with a birthday that month.
- Offer an educational assistance program. Whether it be a pharmacy CE program, college course, or free online webinar, encourage your employees to continuously widen their skill set.
- Create your own "Club Med." Set aside a quiet space or unused office in your pharmacy where employees can take their break, nap or otherwise re-center themselves. Spruce up the area with a nice coat of paint, leadership books, the latest copy of America's Pharmacist, board games, team photos, and customer feedback.
- Turn the pharmacy into a teaching facility. Share your knowledge as a small business owner and pharmacy professional and help them acquire more marketable skills. Tap into your team's knowledge and have them teach as well.
- Host a monthly pharmacy team activity that the entire team is required to attend. Determine who should be your T.A.G. and have them check out these team bonding ideas for independent pharmacies.
- Set up a loan program that provides up to one week's pay at zero interest. The loan is paid back through payroll deductions over six months.
- Look after those that matter to your employees. Show your appreciation for your employees by involving their families in their work life and work-related social activities. From family movie nights to “bring your child (or pet) to work days,” these activities can go a long way to making good on your commitment to, and appreciation of, your employees and those who support them.
- Give them the day off on their birthday.
- Verbally acknowledge a job well done. Start the U•ROCK Rewards program in your pharmacy. Or, gather 5 quarters and make it your goal to move all of the coins from one pocket to the other by the end of the day. You are allowed to transfer a quarter each time you commend an employee.
- Budget $60 a week to stock the break room with healthy groceries - oatmeal, fresh fruit and vegetables, beverages, coffee and tea, cold cuts, etc.
- Upgrade their tools. An employee might desire equipment that will make his job easier or work more efficient. For instance, an ergonomic back support, keyboard or padded floor mat.
- Require your high school employees to stay an extra hour to do their homework. (Make sure to pay them!)
- Your employees write a handwritten note to your customers every day, right? Now it's your turn to recognize them with a special card.
- Offer memberships and discounts to local businesses. Whether it’s a discounted gym membership, access to your season tickets, or movie tickets, these can help promote employee well-being as well as help leverage relationships with other local businesses.
- Without being nosy, ask your employee's what's going on in their life. Let them know you are there to help, if needed.
- Create a 4-walls “safe house” where no negativity is allowed. You want your employees to feel good about themselves, have fun, and enjoy coming to work.
- Give them a place to park it. Reserve the best parking spot for employees who've done something truly worthwhile.
- Recognize employees across all your business functions for completing critical projects or reaching certain goals. Incentives aligned with individual critical drivers, achievements or team-based success can go a long way to aligning and motivating your employees around your business objectives. (Remember those baseball or movie tickets we discussed?)
- Introduce flextime. Allowing your employees to enjoy more flexible schedules is a great incentive for attracting and keeping high-performing employees. It doesn’t mean that they work less time; it just means they have the benefit of working the hours that you mutually agree on outside the traditional confines of a 9-to-5 work day. While flextime may not be appropriate for your employees on the floor, it may work for those behind the scenes.
- Ask about their professional and personal dreams. Let your team know you want to help them achieve their dreams since they are helping you.
- Show you take your employees’ wellness seriously. Losing just one employee to frequent sick days or a prolonged illness can be frustrating and a drain on resources as a lean pharmacy. Examples: create a wellness program (physical, mental and even fiscal), extend the lunch hour once a week to allow employees to take a “30-minute power walk,” or offer prizes for quitting smoking.
When structured and managed effectively, "employee-friendly" business practices not only boost morale, but produce motivated teams dedicated to the success of your business. I challenge you to implement just one of these ideas in your pharmacy - you'll definitely see a difference in your employees' attitudes.