Simpson Associates


Multichannel Merchant

Friday, October 1, 2008

Operations and Management: Don’t Drop Those Incentives Yet

By Mark Del Franco

A few years ago, catalogers and dot-coms competed not only for sales but for employees. Some Internet-only firms offered
outrageous signing bonuses and stock-based compensation packages to lure workers away from catalogers, not to mention
other perks such as weekly visits from masseurs.

But the dot-com crash and the lingering recession have added to the pool of available workers. According to the Bureau of
Labor Statistics, the national unemployment average in 2007 was 4.0%.

As a result, some catalogers believe that they are no longer need to offer incentives to gain new employees or to keep workers
from leaving. But human-resources professionals insist that they’re wrong.

To attract quality workers, companies need to provide incentives to employees regardless of the
economy, says Terre Simpson, president of New York-based executive search firm Simpson &
Associates. “Offering incentives to employees is pretty standard nowadays,” she says. “As a
matter of fact, employees have come to expect it.”

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