The Holidays Put the Spotlight On Keeping Retail Employees Engaged

Before the Thanksgiving dishes have even been cleared, the holiday shopping season begins. For some retailers that season actually began weeks ago, and retail employees are at the center of focus from their employers.


Retail employees have also gained a lot of national attention, particularly in recent years, as stores have been advertising longer holiday hours than ever before and many employees are even required to work on actual holidays.

Retailers are just working to stay competitive and it can be challenging to meet the needs of the consumer as well as your employees. The key to reducing stress during the holiday season, is keeping your retail employees feeling upbeat and engaged. This can be a difficult task when they’re facing long hours and tremendous stress, but it is possible.

Shorter Shifts

You may need all hands on deck during the holiday season if you run a retail business, but unless you want major burnout, it’s a good time to shorten shifts for employees. If your shifts are too long, particularly when it’s incredibly busy on the sales floor, the result is going to be employees who are just completely worn out and unable to contribute as much as they normally would.

Shorten shifts, at least temporarily, and you’re likely to see big improvements in performance and productivity.

If you absolutely have to schedule employees for long shifts, consider letting them move around within the store throughout the time they’re there. What this means is that rather than having the same employees work the register all day, let them take on different roles throughout their shifts to keep them from becoming bored or burned out with repetition. Just a bit of a change can do a lot to freshen your employees’ attitude and perspective.

Get a Little Competitive

Employees tend to remain more engaged, across all industries, when there’s a bit of friendly competition involved in the process.

The holidays are a great time to introduce some type of challenge or game where employees light-heartedly compete against one another. Since it is the holidays, maybe splurge and make the reward or rewards bigger than what you would normally offer to get everyone excited.

If you don’t have a huge budget, get creative. Home Depot recently unveiled an interesting concept at some stores—as a reward for being a top performer, employees were able to have the opportunity to make their own schedule for a week. It’s a great motivator and it’s not going to cost you anything.

Host a Holiday Party

While some retail employers may want to wait until after the holiday rush is over to have an employee party, if you want to get employees pumped up for the season and let them know they’re appreciated and you hope to see them continuing the hard work, you may want to have the party earlier in the season.

Organize something that really puts the spotlight on the employees and everything they do for the organization.

Provide Some Nourishment

Something as small as providing lunch or tasty snacks throughout the holiday season can go a lot farther than you might think in terms of motivating your retail employees and ensuring they’re energized throughout the busy weeks ahead.

Most employers think the only way they can show appreciation is through monetary rewards or bonuses, but little things really mean a lot to employees. Think about something as small as having great food on-hand every day for  a couple of weeks to keep your employees feeling healthy and energized.

Are you in charge of managing employees in a retail setting? If so, how do you keep them engaged and motivated even in the midst of the holiday season?

November 26, 2014   Updated :March 20, 2015   burnout, employee burnout, stress   

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