Record Black Friday Sales Signal a Shift

Hot Holiday Spending Begs Review of Comp Practices

By Bridget Quigg, You’ve likely heard the news that Black Friday and Cyber Monday spending topped all previous records – ever. “Where did they get that money to spend in a down economy?” you may wonder. “Is it still that far down?” would maybe be a better question. Considering the news, if you’re an employer, it may be time for you to review your current pay strategy and get up to date with the latest hustle and bustle.

Surprise Boost in Spending

While the most recent national unemployment rate calculations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) are still dismal, showing it at 9 percent, the economy has some other, more positive, news to share.

In-store Black Friday sales were $11.4 billion, up 7 percent, or nearly $1 billion from the same day last year, according to “Retailers Have a Robust Start to the Holiday Season.” And, 5.1 percent more shoppers showed up to stores than last year, adding to the frenzy and “let’s buy” vibe.

Meanwhile, online Black Friday sales really saw a boost. They rose 26 percent to $816 million from $648 million a year ago, according to research firm comScore.

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Impact of Increased Spending on Employers

What does all of this robust spending have to do with employers and HR managers? It could very well be a signal that it is time to improve your game plan for keeping your talent. As the economy warms up, top performers think about jumping ship.

1. Beware your frugal ways. If you’ve been scrimping, saving and not offering your employees pay increases for the past few years, this rise in consumer spending should sound an alarm in your head. Which employees do you have that you could not live without? Who is your greatest asset in each department? Make sure that you are rewarding these people and have up-to-date market data for their position in your industry and location.

Recruiting, hiring and training a new employee is costly to your company. Why not prevent those costs by spending money on the talent you already have?

2. Improve your plan for next year. Make sure that you create some short-term and long-term incentive plans to make your top talent want to stick around. Whatever the company needs most, assign your best workers the task of getting it all done with a structured reward schedule that let’s them take their on-the-job success to the bank. You’re likely done with your official planning for next year, but see if you can find a way to fit in some rewards if you haven’t created some already.

3. More than money. Keep in mind that you don’t have to reward your employees with just money. Recognition can make a big difference, as can free lunches, Emergen–C packets to ward off winter colds, coffee, pastries, afternoons off and other motivators to keep employees engaged and invested in your business.

Keep Your Head up

We head in to 2012 prepared for more change and unexpected news. 2011 gave us revolutions, natural disasters and political troubles that we could not have predicted. But, with Europe finding ways to heal its economy and US consumer confidence growing, it may be that the pendulum will continue to swing away from a recession and workers will leave the jobs they’ve stuck with to survive lean times.

Don’t lose them. Get ahead of your competition with up-to-date salary information and innovative ways to keep your employees engaged.

Why not order some credit card company gift certificates so that your empolyees can spend a little extra before December 25th?

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