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With unemployment at historically low levels and employers across all industries struggling to attract and retain workers, businesses are exploring a variety of incentives to make their workplaces more appealing.
Many employers are retaining flexible work-from-home policies, have increased salaries and benefits, and offer bonuses to new hires and to those who refer new hires. Offering employee discounts on merchandise and services, either your own or those of others, is one relatively low-cost way to provide added perks to help attract and retain employees. In the current inflationary environment where consumers are paying more for everything from gas to groceries, helping your staff save money can go a long way toward making them feel appreciated, elevating morale, and even improving productivity.
Types of Employee Discounts
Employers have several options when it comes to offering discounts on products or services to their employees. One option is to partner with other businesses in the local area. For example, a restaurant might agree to an exchange of discounts of equal value with a local movie theater, or a fitness center might make a similar arrangement with a smoothie bar or coffee shop.
Such discounts could come in the form of gift certificates or regular, ongoing savings — half-price smoothies after 4 p.m. for members of a gym, for example. These types of locally driven employee discounts serve not only to reward a business’s own workers, but also as a marketing tool to attract customers from the area to visit more often.
A local Chamber of Commerce or other local business group might be a good place to start searching for potential partners for this type of employee discount.
These types of programs generally allow employers to offer their workers access to discounts on a variety of products, services, and experiences, from electronics to hotel stays and events. They often allow a high degree of flexibility for workers to choose the discounts they prefer, and they partner with well-known, national and multinational companies to provide savings that have broad appeal.
They may also allow employers to offer different levels of discounts to various employee groups. For example, an employer might want to offer a different set of discounts for full-time, part-time and freelance workers, or perhaps for retirees, or even as one-time rewards or recognition for performance.
A third option is to offer employee discounts on your business’s own products. The advantages of this strategy include creating brand ambassadors among your own workers, driving increased sales, and attracting workers who may want to work for you because they love your brand.
Options for employee discounts include:
- Offer a fixed percentage discount on all items.
- Offer a percentage discount that only applies to certain items, such as those with high margins (to protect your profitability).
- Give a discount that only applies during a fixed time period, such as during the holiday season.
- Provide discounts that can be made available to a group, such as a spouse or other employee family members.
Tools for Offering Employee Discounts
Whichever option you chose for offering employee discounts, Square has tools that can help you optimize your strategy.
Start by using the online Square Dashboard to analyze your finances and find the right opportunities for offering discounts. Then, consider creating an Item Library that lets you create and manage discounts that can be applied to a sale.
Square allows you to create and link discounts for specific employees or customers using information stored in you Customer Directory. These can be automatically applied to specific Customer Groups.
The discount tools in the Square Dashboard also allow you to set a range of parameters on your employee discounts, such as quantity limits, whether or not the discounts are recurring, time limitations, and minimum spend requirements. Detailed instructions are available online.