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Improvement Direct Inc., which manages several retail sites aimed at do-it-yourselfers, encourages another kind of communication among technical personnel: individuals give seminars about technologies they specialize in or may have learned on their own, says Sam Roach, chief technology officer.
Adequate compensation, of course, is crucial for retaining skilled workers, and some online retailers are gearing pay raises and bonuses to individual or company performance.
“We have the programmers on a quarterly profit-sharing plan which takes into account seniority, skill set, individual contribution,” says Roach of Improvement Direct. “The IT team is a key player in the success of the company and is therefore rewarded for how well the company performs.”
At online-only retailer Tool King LLC, employees get pay increases based on performance, for instance by bringing a project in ahead of schedule and on budget. “We’ve seen people get three or four compensation increases in their first year,” says Don Cohen, managing partner.
Pay and benefits invariably top the list of what job seekers are looking for. But, at a time when skilled technical workers can have their pick of jobs, retailers should keep in mind that at least some are looking for more than money.
“Salary’s important,” says GSI’s Bradley. “But finding a place that fits my lifestyle, my learning style and provides a place for me to grow, that’s my biggest compensation.”