“Here’s Why You Should Work Here—and Stay Here.”
Some scoff at the deliberately obtuse messages found in Chinese fortune cookies—even as they play the suggested lottery numbers on the back of the paper slips.
One fortune I’ve seen in a clothing store comes to mind as a proven truism, however: “Keep your shop well, and your shop will keep you.”
Life in the custom business these days certainly isn’t as simple as this Confucian-like slogan would imply, but “keeping one’s shop well” is more crucial than ever in keeping it open. The wellness of a custom business depends more than ever upon the wellness of its people—the sales staff, the installers, the project managers, the engineers, the stockroom personnel—who make that business what it is.
Quality of life at work has become a big issue in our industry. C-businesses are constantly challenged to attract employees who are stable, focused and interested—and to creatively hold onto those workers by providing perks that, of necessity, must transcend monetary compensation.
The task is daunting, of course. But creative custom businesses have found ways to make it happen. Following are up-close looks at four such entrepreneurs who thoughtfully nurture employee loyalty.
Wilshire Home Entertainment
How does Lyn Perry keep his employees happy? Let him enumerate the ways.
In areas like Southern California, where the cost of living is elevated, it takes a special brand of creativity to engender the type of business atmosphere that makes people want to stick around a long while.
A master of the formula in that region is Lyn Perry, proprietor of Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based custom-retail hybrid Wilshire Home Entertainment. Off the cuff, he lists dozens of perks he regularly offers to his staff (see below for just some of them). “The technology alone today keeps employees excited,” he says, “but California’s a very expensive place to live and grow. My challenges are twofold: to help keep their incomes high enough so they can grow financially here, and [to] keep them stimulated enough to use their talents in ways that are rewarding to them.”