Nick Fraser

Each year Fraser’s Retail, which comprises five Budgens forecourt stores in Oxfordshire and Berkshire, gives Love2Shop vouchers to its hard working staff at Christmas. But this year, the company has decided to replace this with a staff loyalty bonus.

“Staff retention is the key thing for us at the moment,” explains director and third generation family member Nick Fraser. “It is a challenge, particularly within our industry.

“We’ve had a bit of staff turnover this year and we wanted to find a way of rewarding our long term staff, the ones that have been with us for a significant amount of time. Generally, you expect a churn with the people who have been with you for six months to 18 months. But when you lose staff that have been with you for five, six or seven years, they’re the ones that are very difficult to replace.”

So in order to incentivise staff to stay with the business, Fraser’s introduced the loyalty bonus, whereby the longer they have worked at the store, the higher the bonus they receive (capped at five years). “Rather than just a standard pay rise, we wanted to find a way of rewarding them on an annual basis,” he says. “Previously when we’ve done gift vouchers we would sit down with the managers and say how much each person gets and it’s very subjective really.” He claims that the new bonus system is a much easier calculation from the business’ perspective and also a fairer way of rewarding staff. 

The company also introduced an improved staff discount rate earlier this year. “We’ve more than doubled our staff discount, which seems to have been really well received,” says Nick. “We knew what our margin was in the shop and on fuel and we’ve essentially given that away, plus a bit more, to assist with the staff. Before it [the store discount] was generally within 15-20% and it’s more than doubled. Staff are topping up with us far more regularly now. With fuel, we’ve gone from offering [staff] 1.5p up to 9p off of fuel. Our staff don’t do a huge amount of miles, but rather than them filling up at the local supermarket because it’s two or 3p cheaper, they will then use us.”

He claimed that the initiatives were a way of saying thank you to staff and helping them during the cost of living crisis. “Staff morale is generally good, but we do need to find ways of looking after our staff during these difficult times,” says Nick. “The vast majority of people we employ are on an hourly rate of pay and if you can find different ways of looking after them - whether through loyalty bonuses or staff discounts - these all help.”