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21 Ways to Energize Your Pharmacy Team – Without Breaking the Bank


Pharmacy Employee MotivationGone 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.

  1. Blow out the candles. Host a monthly hour-long birthday breakfast for any employee with a birthday that month.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Give them the day off on their birthday.
  9. 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.
  10. Budget $60 a week to stock the break room with healthy groceries - oatmeal, fresh fruit and vegetables, beverages, coffee and tea, cold cuts, etc.
  11. 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.
  12. Require your high school employees to stay an extra hour to do their homework. (Make sure to pay them!)   
  13. Your employees write a handwritten note to your customers every day, right? Now it's your turn to recognize them with a special card.     
  14. 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.     
  15. Without being nosy, ask your employee's what's going on in their life. Let them know you are there to help, if needed.
  16. 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.
  17. Give them a place to park it. Reserve the best parking spot for employees who've done something truly worthwhile.
  18. 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?)
  19. 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.      
  20. Ask about their professional and personal dreams. Let your team know you want to help them achieve their dreams since they are helping you.
  21. 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.

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I am an employee. my employers are very good to us on a regular basis. I am in favor of soft bonuses. they do boost moral and make it a better place to work. It makes me feel good that my employers care about me
Posted @ Thursday, October 14, 2010 12:09 PM by jayne
That's awesome, Jayne! Thanks for sharing. How does your pharmacy integrate soft bonuses into the company culture?
Posted @ Thursday, October 14, 2010 12:40 PM by Samantha Timmermann
free flu shots,monthly meeting with gourmet pizza, classes for anything that pertain to work, a wonderfull christmas party with all the trimmings and generous gifts. our corporate meeting which is this weekend at the local country club, held once a year, this is a meeting to talk about what the past year as brought and what goals we have to look foward to. Also a wonderful dinner and lots of fun, games and prizes. thats just a taste of what its like to work for such great people.
Posted @ Thursday, October 14, 2010 4:02 PM by jayne
PBS recently did a story on employee incentives. This article falls inline with the conclusion of the study PBS outlined - namely, that non-monetary incentives are often more effective than monetary incentives. The PBS story added that empowerment/autonomy was valued much higher than employers often realize. One way I think you could implement the soft benefits outlined in this article is to delegate implementation responsibility to the employees. For instance, if you have an employee that's known to enjoy decorating, etc., let him or her design the "club med." And if one employee is particularly social, assign her as monthly birthday party planner and give her a monthly stipend for purchasing the cake. One of the good things I see in the soft benefits suggested hear is a perfect opportunity to empower employees in ways that suit their individual strengths and create the opportunity for them to demonstrate and be recognized for those strengths before their peers.
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