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Creative Ways to Motivate Your Team throughout the Holiday Season

AD| The holidays might be most people’s favorite time of year, but when it comes to the retail industry, as well as many service industries,…


AD| The holidays might be most people’s favorite time of year, but when it comes to the retail industry, as well as many service industries, it’s also the busiest. This can mean higher employee stress and anxiety, which can be particularly challenging when business is fast paced and chaotic. 

Everyone wants to celebrate the season, and nobody wants their employees to go home feeling depressed, defeated or exhausted. While some of this can’t be helped, there are some things a manager can do to help even the most drained and seemingly cheerless employees lift their spirits and hold on to the festive mood.

  • Deck the Halls. Sure, your retail store or even your online store might be fitted to the gills with holiday décor, but what about the break room or employee lounge? Extend the holiday feel to areas for employees only to remind them how much they are needed and appreciated, and to encourage them to adopt a festive frame of mind.

    Show Appreciation. Most employees who quit their job (over ¾ of them) do so because they feel underappreciated. Don’t let the holidays go by without taking this golden opportunity to show them your appreciation. 

-Recognize hard work when you see it, in front of other employees, customers and in meetings

-Lend a hand when the company is short staffed

-Give out gifts such as winter gear, teas & coffees, and Gift Cards, which can be purchased and distributed quickly, safely and securely online via text or email

Respect their Time. Yes, you need your employees to keep the business running and get you through the long, busy days of the holiday season. But don’t take them for granted and keep them when they don’t need to be there. Motivate the team by showing them that if they need some time off (within reason); you’re able to give it. Remember, kids don’t stop getting sick around the holidays, and family obligations don’t suddenly disappear. 

  • Plan a January Party. A holiday party in December always seems nice but in reality, to employees it may feel like one more holiday obligation, and will cut into their family time. Instead of a holiday party centered in the midst of the season, plan one for the middle of January, when business has slowed down, and employees can truly take part and have fun.

    Set Measurable Goals. People work harder and maintain a commitment when there is an expectation for them to do so. Be sure that each individual knows what is expected of them over the holiday season, and they will work hard to achieve it. 
  • Stagger Time Off. If many of your employees plan to take the same week off during the holiday season, the remaining employees will feel the pinch. Stagger vacations to be sure that nobody feels resentful and motivation stays healthy and strong.

    Respect their Opinions & Feedback. Remember, you are human too, and during a busy holiday season, it may be hard to sit back and reflect on what you might be missing or even doing wrong. Create an open space for employees to provide their feedback and opinions. This will empower them and help them to feel appreciated, while at the same time, you might uncover some meaningful and productive ideas.

    Stay Positive. When employees see you, the boss, staying positive, they will feel better about themselves, their jobs, and their position at your company. The end of the year is at hand, and they will naturally reflect on their accomplishments. When you stay positive and talk about the upcoming year with a sense of eagerness and productivity, they will too.

    Watch for Low Employee Morale. Interestingly, morale is a bit like a cold. When one employee has it, than others are likely to have it, too. It’s natural for employee morale to be at a low point if the company is driven by holiday sales, so do your best to keep it high. 

    Have mini parties during work hours that everyone can participate in
  • Talk privately with those employees that are struggling, to encourage and help them
  • Let employees decorate their break room

Even though the holidays might be a lucrative time for many companies, you want to be sure they aren’t taking a toll on the employees. With a bit of forethought and planning, you can stem low morale and keep the holiday season a happy time for all.

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