Last night I saw the film, the Hobart Shakespeareans. It is a documentary about an extraordinary elementary school in Los Angeles and the teacher Rafe Esquith.
Each year he teaches his fifth-graders a different Shakespeare play, they audition for the rolls, and create music to underscore the drama.
Any teacher, parent, principal, or business owner should see it; for a variety of reasons.
What I found most intriguing was his use of scrip (simulated cash) in the classroom. All the children applied for classroom jobs which comes with a monthly paycheck. Janitors who work daily earn more money than students whose jobs require their services only a couple times a week.
They need to save their money because all students pay rent to sit at their desks.
They could use their scrip to buy a closer seat to the front and there are other perks. One scene showed Rafe auctioning off a Fender Stratocaster and one girl got it with 100,000 in her script.
In the 50's and 60's moms collected S&H Green Stamps from various merchant purchases to reward themselves.
Those two things got me thinking…
Why couldn’t you use a similar program to manage retail employees?
If you could make retail a performance only job, then maybe you could meet with the same success that Rafe does. This is more cohesive than a sales contest, it is performance based.
You could reward salespeople with bonus scrip for filling in at short notice, or meeting an above average number of items per sale, or having the highest average sales for a week. The possiblities are endless.
They could use their scrip to not have to do inventory for say 25,000 or they could buy a longer lunch, or be able to go home early and not clean up. There are thousands of things you could come up with that would be rewarding great performances.
So much of retail sales management is not working right now because there are no metrics. Jobs are blah and the people working them are with few exceptions bored waiting like Cinderella for something to come along and deliver them from the grind.
We judge our employees by and we spend most of our time managing, the lower 30% of employees who should probably never have been hired to begin with.
What would it take for you to implement such a methodical reward system? I’m sure there could be a way for someone to occasionally beat the system, but wouldn’t it be more fun to manage by reward, than by punishing or worse, settling?
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