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Your Team

While 11% of you work solo or just with another owner, the other 89% of you share here what your staff looks like and how you compensate and reward them. Heads up! Some of the answers to “Tell us about when an employee left you speechless” will drop your jaw.




52. How many employees do you have?

0. It’s just me or just me and another owner.

53. What is your average retention rate in years for your non-managerial employees?

< 1 year
1-2 years
3-4 years
5 or more years

54. What is your average retention rate in years for your managerial employees?

< 1 year
1-2 years
3-4 years
5 or more years

55. Check the benefits you provide:

Paid time off
Paid sick days
Medical insurance
Employee discount
401k plan
Life insurance
Financial support for education
Disability insurance
Paid maternity leave
Paid paternity leave
Pet businesses ranked “Hiring and retaining staff” as the biggest overall challenge of the last 18 months. For those struggling hardest — the 45% with typical non-managerial employees staying less than two years — the issue was also having a significant impact on their costs. Almost half, or 43%, said payroll was the expense that saw the biggest increase. (Rising minimum wage also impacts this cost for many.) The implication: Businesses with high turnover rates are raising their pay, but not improving retention.
Bonuses help — only 45% of businesses with a less than one-year retention rate paid bonuses, compared to the 64% with employees who hung around for three to four years. The impact of benefits was even more profound. Those with the highest turnover (retention of less than one year), offered only half the benefits of businesses that convinced their employees to stay for one to two years. When it comes to labor, the conclusion is clear: It’s an employee’s market right now.

56. How often do you offer performance bonuses?

Under “Other,” many of you said you award bonuses when employees meet set education or other goals. Said one respondent, “I don’t believe in doing bonuses on a time schedule; it’s always based on merit.”

57. Are the majority of your employees:

58. If you are a service provider, do you have:

59. What is the biggest challenge in managing your team?

Scheduling coverage
Increasing productivity
Dealing with interpersonal drama
Pay expectations
Within the “Other” answers, more than a few of you shared this sentiment about your employees: “They are really amazing. They work hard and are hilarious. I have no complaints.”

60. Tell us about when an employee left you speechless. In a good, bad or weird way!


  • My manager had to take over running the store when I was out with a fractured leg. I told him I’d give him weekly bonus pay for the duration. He 1) called me to ask if I could give his bonus to another employee who’d just lost her grandmother and needed extra money, then 2) told me he realized that his overtime was eating into payroll costs, and he trained both employees to close so he could take some time off and lessen the cost for me. I literally cried both times.
  • When we first opened and didn’t have managers yet, a twentysomething employee making $12 an hour surprised me with an entire handbook for front desk operations. She wrote it in her spare time without telling me. I was beyond impressed. She has since moved on to becoming a groomer.
  • Recently, I sat down with two of our receptionists to review incidents that occurred with one of our managers. One told me that the days she gets to work with me are some of her best. The second quickly agreed. While we give reviews every three to six months to our employees, it’s rare that I ever get any feedback for myself as a business owner. This was absolutely wonderful to hear, and possibly made my entire year.
  • Caught an employee with booze in his cup. Confronted him, and he said he had no idea how it got there. Let him go. Was a great employee otherwise, and I told him if he ever got his act together and got help, I would happily hire him back. He came back six months sober and had turned his life around! Hired him on the spot.


  • Delivery driver that took a 12-foot truck under a 10-foot bridge … clearly marked with all kinds of warnings, but he thought he could make it.
  • During day care, policies are very clear that hands should be free and ready to pet dogs or pull them apart. A staff member decided to read a book, in a room of 50 dogs. She was reprimanded. Said it didn’t specifically say, “No reading of books” in our manual. So we changed the manual. She then brought in knitting needles and began knitting in day care. She said, “It doesn’t say I can’t in the rule book. And oh by the way, I wasn’t knitting; I was doing needlepoint.” As if small, sharp needles aren’t even more dangerous to pets! She was terminated, and then sent her mommy to our location to fight for her job back.

  • Had two leave, no notice — then ask why we took away their discount.
  • When they couldn’t figure out how to work a mop. Claimed to never have used one. Never saw one being used. Never apparently watched a movie or even a cartoon with one in it. Held it outstretched, dry and pulled it between their legs. Speechless.
  • A newer employee was not scanning all of the items being purchased. I corrected him to get through the sale. Later he said, “But they were all the same thing.”


  • A female Asian employee filed a claim that we were racist against female Asian employees. When the Department of Labor called, I took the call and made sure that the first words out of my mouth were that I was the female Filipino owner of the business and the person we fired was let go because of endless mistakes with cash. The call lasted two minutes. We were found not guilty.
  • An employee who wasn’t performing told me she didn’t need me to tell her how to do her job.
  • Had a model employee — bright, great smile, eager to help, customers loved him. One morning, he was arrested for pulling armed robberies on his way to work.
  • Hired a new employee. Everything went great in the interview. Her first day I told her our standing rule was to greet the dog before the person. She wasn’t doing what I had showed her. I asked her to practice on the next customer, and she said, “I would, but I don’t like dogs.” Guess I forgot to ask that question during her interview.
  • Employee took us to small claims court over small personal items (fork, spoon, toothbrush) they supposedly left when terminated.
  • I had a groomer walk away from a man who was telling her that his wife had died. Literally walked away mid-sentence. After I listened to him finish his story, I asked if she realized she walked away and her reply was, “Yes. I don’t want to hear that shit, I’m just here to groom his dog!”
  • I recently had an employee tell me that my business partners (my family) shouldn’t be partners if they didn’t plan on stepping up more.



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