Best Buy is handing out bonuses, paid time off for vaccines and pink slips. Huh?
Best Buy has done a lot right by its associates this year. It raised its minimum hourly wage to $15 and before that offered hazard pay as the novel coronavirus pandemic spread across the U.S. Now, management is thanking workers with a quarterly bonus check and making efforts to keep them safe by giving them paid time off to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The chain will pay bonuses to full-time workers ($500) and part-timers ($200) employed with the company through Feb. 15. A Best Buy statement said, “Our employees are on the frontlines every day [and] have been essential in ensuring our customers continue to be able to work, learn, connect and cook at home. They have shown resilience, flexibility and a commitment to our purpose of enriching lives through technology.”
The retailer also announced that it would provide full-timers and part-timers with paid time off (eight and four hours respectively) to get vaccinated against COVID-19. It further said it would provide additional paid time off if workers felt unwell after getting the vaccine.
Despite all of the positive news around Best Buy’s treatment of its workers, however, some of the chain’s employees have reached out to RetailWire, claiming the company is being less than transparent with its decision to lay off an unspecified number of workers and cut the hours of others. Employees of the chain have started a coworker.org petition calling on the retailer to properly compensate workers affected by the job cuts.
Best Buy has said that changes it has made have resulted from shifts in consumer shopping behaviors. The result, which CEO Corie Barry referred to back in November on the chain’s third quarter earnings call, is that Best Buy is committed to developing a more flexible workforce and deploying it in ways that can utilize the individual talents of its team depending on the situation and need. An example was moving a computing specialist in one of the chain’s stores to the mobile department or home delivery as the need arises.
The consumer electronics chain posted a 23 percent same-store sales gain during the third quarter, with online sales up 174 percent. It has eschewed future guidance citing uncertainty in the market around the pandemic and projecting comps against a year during which it greatly benefited from consumers working and playing more at home.
Best Buy is scheduled to report its fourth quarter earning tomorrow.
- Best Buy Offers Vaccine Benefit To All, Gives Bonuses To Hourly Employees – Best Buy
- Digital gains are changing how Best Buy puts its associates to work – RetailWire
- Best Buy Reports Third Quarter Results – Best Buy
- Q3 2021 Best Buy Co Inc Earnings Call – Best Buy/Thomson Street Events
- What leadership lessons have retailers learned during the pandemic? – RetailWire
- Best Buy shrinks sales floors for a more fulfilling experience – RetailWire
- Best Buy produces record results doing things differently in the pandemic – RetailWire
- Best Buy connects strong sales to frontline worker performance – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think the frontline employee mood is like at Best Buy at a time when it is offering benefits for many workers while simultaneously cutting hours and laying people off? Does worker morale, positive or negative, have an effect on retail performance?