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HOLIDAY STRESS



                            WHAT MANAGERS CAN DO FOR RETAIL WORKERS


                                      Ten tips for creating a happy and productive work
                                        environment during the hectic holiday season




                ’Tis the season to be jolly — except, perhaps for   5. Develop your sixth sense. During the busiest times, always
             retail employees.                                   be present, and have your head up and looking around your
                                                                 store to see who has been waiting a long time, who has a ques-
                As is typical for the season, businesses are focused
                                                                 tion and so on. Step in, as appropriate, to keep your department
             on giving customers want they want and doing whatever   moving along. Holiday shoppers are more stressed than ever,
             it takes to keep them happy and spending. Yet they tend   and they’re going to punish those who make them wait.
             to give less of their time and attention to the people who
                                                                 6. Clearly defi ne expectations. Clear expectations are the
             provide the customer experience — their employees.
                                                                 most basic of employees’ needs and are vital to performance. In
                Customers aren’t the only ones who feel the stress of   stressful times, job responsibilities often become fuzzy. At some
             Christmas. The holiday season comes with a heightened   companies, the holidays create an “all hands on deck” scenario;
             sense of urgency and can be a time of chaos for employ-  at others, employees need to quickly learn new tasks or cover
             ees, especially those in retail. These workers deal with   for other workers. Regardless, make it a point to review priorities
                                                                 and goals with your team members, even if those priorities are
             customers who themselves may be frazzled and have a
                                                                 constantly shifting. Employees want clearly defi ned responsibili-
             short fuse. Without support or guidance from their manag-  ties, and without them, their engagement can quickly falter.
             ers, employees can teeter on the brink of disengagement
             — or fall right into it.                            7. Reinforce your company’s brand promise. Many com-
                                                                 panies struggle to teach their employees what their company
                Do you know how to keep productivity and employee
                                                                 stands for and what makes it different from its competition.
             spirits positive during the holidays? Are you looking for   Therefore, employees often don’t know how they are supposed
             ways to relieve holiday-related stress? You can start by   to interact with customers, or they view the brand promise as
             not causing stress. As a department manager or employ-  meaningless and, therefore, disregard it. A company’s brand
                                                                 promise serves as a guide for employees, giving them direction
             er, you control many of the variables that create holiday
                                                                 in the face of uncertainty. And it can be an especially valuable
             season stress for people.                           teaching tool for part-time or seasonal workers, who otherwise
                Here are 10 tips that can help you create a positive,   may feel no real connection to their job or company.
             motivated and happy staff during the Christmas holidays.
                                                                 8. Be generous with recognition. Recognition matters.
                                                                 Managers must defi ne the behaviors they want to see from
             1. Make a schedule policy, and stick to it. No one gets Christ-
             mas Eve off or the day after Christmas. No one, including you.   their employees, communicate those behaviors and recognize
             If it is slow, you can always be generous and let them go early.   employees when they see those behaviors in action. Managers
                                                                 also should recognize employees for perfecting their job respon-
                                                                 sibilities or for excelling at certain tasks, and they should also
             2. Offer shorter holiday shifts or fl ex schedules. Employees
             can become Grinches much quicker than managers. So do   make a concentrated effort to recognize employees who have a
             them a favor and give them six-hour shifts, if you can, or split   positive impact on customer experience. In addition, managers
             shifts. They may have to open for four hours and close for four   must share the reason for that recognition with other team mem-
             hours, but they can get off during the middle of the day for   bers. All employees need examples of what it means to “live the
             errands or shopping. Giving them choices ahead of time   brand promise” or go above and beyond for customers.
             allows for much happier employees.
                                                                 9. Help them to eat right and stay hydrated. Provide bottled
                                                                 water and light healthy snacks, like fruit or nutrition bars, that
             3. Set daily goals for your store. It doesn’t matter how much,
             but set it in two parts. You could also set a goal that by close   employees can drink and eat (free of charge!) throughout their
             of business Christmas Eve you’ll have done X for the month   shifts and during their breaks. Or buy them healthy lunches!
             and by close of business Dec. 31, you’ll have done Y. Track
             your progress daily. Give the employees something for   10. Thank your employees at the end of their shifts —
             achieving both. And that reward includes you.       every day. It can make all the difference in the world during
                                                                 the holiday season. sf
             4. Have short meetings with your staff. Set goals for sales
             of some of your most profi table products, and show them   SOURCES: Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor (retaildoc.com); Ed O’Boyle and
                                                                 Amy Adkins, Gallup News Business Journal (news.gallup.com); and Susan
             how they can upsell.                                Heathfi eld, The Balance (thebalance.com)
             14  WWW.SUPERFLORAL.COM / DECEMBER 2017
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