Employee benefits

Are you attracting employees with enticing working arrangements? 

Employers want to do the right thing and pay their staff a good wage. On top of that, they’d like to be able to offer flexible working arrangements and other work perks where and when possible. However, in traditional retailing, especially when it comes to the shop floor, it can be much harder for an employer to be flexible. Sometimes it’s a challenge to be flexible about when staff starts or finishes work, or even giving employees the option to be rostered off on a specific day.

It is important to consider what is reasonable and practical for your business, and also ensure that employees are treated fairly. Try and consider the following scenario:

An employee approaches an employer requesting to be rostered off every Saturday, the employer cannot accommodate this as they rely on the employee completing their 40 hours per week. The employer suggests that the employee come into work 1 hour earlier each morning, to take stock and get the store up to speed for the day – in exchange, the employee can have every second Saturday off. As the employer has several casual employees to call on from time to time, all parties agree to the arrangement.

When it comes to flexible working arrangements, it is best to try and compromise. The law says you can refuse, by providing a genuine business reason. But that refusal however may leave your employee feeling deflated, disengaged and asking themselves, ‘why bother.’ Making a practical attempt to cater for your employees’ needs goes a long way in reinforcing that work-life balance.

Pay rises and wage reviews are part and parcel of running a business, you cannot expect an employee to sit on the same wage rate for their working life. However, there are non-monetary alternatives to help ease the congestion. Think outside of the square, as to what a work perk looks like in your business. If you often travel to expos, showrooms and wholesaler meetings – why not bring a senior staff member along too? They will feel engaged with the upper-tier, decision-making arm of the business, all the while getting out of the store for a while. A work trip has the unique appearance of being a reward, as well as a good way to get your employee affianced with the behind-the-scenes of retail.

Many businesses are taught to think big in a lot of aspects. But when it comes to staff benefits, it can pay to think small too. A free lunch or dinner on a Friday is a Kiwi classic – rewarding staff at the end of the working week, but also keeping them fuelled up for what is always a busy day in retail.

Retail NZ is a firm believer in investing in people, employees are the essence to a successful business. For pragmatic solutions to flexible working and juggling wages, don’t be afraid to give our Advice Service a call on 0800 472 472 (1800 128 086 from Australia) or email [email protected].


Published in the 16th September 2019 edition of Talking Shop.



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