Retailers endure some of the highest employee turnover rates of any industry, especially among part-timers, where the rate often approaches 70 percent. With the cost to find, hire, and train a replacement for a $10-an-hour retail employee estimated at more than $3,300, that’s an expensive problem. Yet Dan Wells, CEO of baseball and softball apparel and equipment retailer Bases Loaded, appears to have solved it. “The last time an employee left Bases Loaded was about four years ago,” he reports, “and that was because he received his degree in mechanical engineering and was going into his field. We have no turnover.”
Wells is adamant about the reason behind that achievement. “Culture is everything,” he declares. “Without it, Bases Loaded would be nothing more than another sporting goods store. But with a great culture and happy employees, we are a thriving and growing company-;ranked as one of the fastest-growing businesses in northern California last year and named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in 2015.”
The foundation of company culture at Bases Loaded is treating all employees as the valuable assets they are. “We pay, reward, and hire for long-term employees,” Wells says. “We always pay above-market wages with a full comprehensive benefits package, even for part-time employees.”
In addition to offering a 401(k) program with an employer match and a profit-sharing program, Bases Loaded gives employees the opportunity to earn bonuses that can reach up to 30 percent of their base pay. New employees begin accruing vacation time from day one and are eligible for all other company benefits. Company-paid monthly activities have included baseball games, movie nights, go-kart races, and laser tag, and employees have been rewarded with trips to destinations such as Hawaii and Disneyworld.
“We have always told our staff that if you ever wake up in the morning and say to yourself, ‘Ugh, I have to go to work today,’ then please come and talk to us, because we must be doing something wrong,” Wells says. “We want Bases Loaded to be a place our employees want to be, not a place they feel they have to be.”