Employee Engagement

Six ways to boost employee motivation during the Christmas rush

Written by Tony Loxton
Nov 17

No one enjoys the stress of a retail environment during the silly season – least of all your staff. A huge influx of customers, a never-ending playlist of Christmas carols, exasperated, angry and downright rude shoppers, not to mention the chaos left behind afterwards – the list goes on and on.

Despite these elements, or because of them, employee motivation during the run up to Christmas is vital.

Apathetic employees have a direct influence on your retail performance, and during the busiest shopping period of the year, you can’t afford to have staff who’re giving anything less than their best.

The potential for drastically increased profits over the festive season is huge. If you want to capitalise on this, you must motivate your employees. Here are six ways you can make the Christmas rush that more bearable for your staff (and bolster store performance as a result).

1. Spread some festive spirit among your staff

I’m not talking about a string of fairy lights or a fake fir tree; I’m referring to an atmosphere that encourages employees to give their all by rewarding them with some light-hearted merriment. If you’re not holding a staff shindig, spread out Christmas-themed activities in between day-to-day operations. A dress up (with prizes), a Christmas carol karaoke competition or a company-wide secret Santa are all easy ways to spread some Christmas cheer and show appreciation to your hardworking staff.

2. Bring on the eats!

Everyone likes to eat (and if they say they don’t, they’re lying), and the festive period wouldn’t be the same without indulgent treats to keep blood sugar levels up. Whether you sponsor lunch from the food court, arrange a selection of pastries to snack on before the morning rush or strategically place a bowl of festive candy in the staff breakroom, rewarding your employees with some edible happiness can help to rouse a smile from even the scroogiest of employees.

3. Incentivise super-star performance

Introducing a staff rewards program during the silly season is an effective way to increase employee motivation – and sales. Reward staff with a bottle of wine, a box of Cadburys chocolates or a bonus half-day of leave. Give prizes to those who’re not in a directly customer-facing role, too. Prizes could be awarded for achievements, such as ‘Most Customers Served’, ‘Outstanding Customer Service’ and ‘Most Sales Made'.

4. Introduce a family-friendly policy

The holiday period can be especially stressful for parents who have to work, but also ensure that their children are cared for while schools and child care are closed. Make it as easy as possible for your staff to work worry-free by introducing flexi-time for those who have children. Alternatively, company-sponsored child care or school holiday clubs can make a world of difference to parents’ employee motivation.

5. Spend one-on-one time with each and every staff member

If you’ve ever watched Undercover Boss, you’ll know that sometimes all a frustrated employee needs is a chance to talk with their manager or boss. Making time for people who work for you is a powerful way to increase employee motivation. It costs nothing except five minutes of your day. Greeting staff by name, and asking them about their families, working day or plans for Christmas lunch instills a sense of recognition – which can make all the difference to someone’s work ethic.

6. Give the green light to flexible working hours

Allowing staff to choose their own working hours and shifts is one of the greatest boosters of employee motivation. Your staff have myriad responsibilities outside of work and giving them the opportunity to re-arrange their working schedule, you're making this busy time that much less stressful. As a result, you'll increase employee motivation.

To do this, you need to know how many staff you need in your store during the Christmas rush, so we suggest making use of in-store analytics software. Find out more about our in-store foot traffic software, Blix Traffic. 

Learn more about Blix Traffic for retail

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