December is traditionally a stressful time for employees as they struggle to take time off, serve rushed customers and ward off end-of-the-year exhaustion. Make it easier on yourself and your staff by using the following strategies to keep attitudes up and sales ringing.
1. Make performance expectations clear and be consistent.
Start off December with a meeting outlining your expectations during high times of stress, recommends Sam Parker, Richmond, Va.-based author of motivational books such as Smile & Move (Give More Media, 2008). Janet Woods, Seattle-based owner of JWoods & Associates, a natural products industry executive recruiting firm, suggests providing new hires with two mentors, each from a different department, to guide them through the company’s expectations on attitudes and work ethic.
2. Acknowledge staff members going the extra mile.
“A lot of companies do the training and ignore the results,” Woods says. As a manager, offer solid and ongoing reinforcement, Parker says, and reach out to those doing a good job.
3. Don't forget the value of the holiday party.
Natural products retail employees are more community oriented than mass-market employees, Woods says. Holiday parties should reflect the organization’s beliefs, as well as provide great food and music. If employees feel like they’re part of a family, they’ll be more invested in their jobs.
4. Lead by example.
The golden rule still applies to the workplace, according to Parker. Explain to your employees that the harder they work for you, the harder you’ll work for them—and prove it. Show up to bag groceries or do inventory. The more the employees see management involved in daily work, the more appreciated they’ll feel.
5. Create an arrival experience.
You know how much better you work when you start the day off right? The employees at Parker’s company, Give More Media, are welcomed every morning with breakfast and peppy music, which later turns to classical when they need to get work done. Get your team revved up for a hard day of work.