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With the holiday season nearing its end, the influxes of seasonal workers begin to slowly trickle as terminations ensue. This inevitable process is not only difficult for managers, but also for other seasonal and full-time employees. Once connections and friendships have been made between all staff, team morale may be low after the seasonal layoffs. As such, it is vital for retail managers and leaders to prepare and strategize for this time of year and ensure their surviving staff continue to stay engaged after the holiday rush.
The leadership team provides more than strategic management for its organization; they implement strategies for optimal proficiency and betterment of their organization. As for retail, overall employee performance and customer service ratings are the responsibility of the HR leaders and during the busy holiday season, this needs to become the primary focus.
If things are not running smoothly behind-the-scenes, it will be evident on the sales floor. As leaders, preplanning your overall business strategies and communicating your seasonal goals to the supervisory and management staff are necessary in order to promote efficiency and decrease chaotic situations. This will assist you in driving the performance and service standards to a higher threshold.
Establishing a team environment for all levels of the leadership staff will make your job a little easier and build an overall environment that can drive results and deliver your vision.
Before hiring for the holiday season, determine how many weeks or months you will need your seasonal hires. Preplanning and communication are vital! This way, you can ensure your staff is aware of the time period and will be prepared when the holiday hires leave.
Once you have decided on your new hires, be sure to notify your selected candidates on how long they are needed to work; this conversation is best during the on-boarding process. You don’t want to leave the new hires in the dark and give them false hope on how long they will be with the company.
Although seasonal employees are temporary, make sure you plan your holiday party to include them. After all, a big thank you goes a long way. Show them you are grateful for all the hard work and dedication they put forth during the busy holiday season. As such, constantly thank your long-term employees as well!
Post any non-seasonal openings and ensure your seasonal workers are aware of the postings when the layoff process nears. Seasonal workers may be interested in continuing employment at your company; encourage them to apply. By telling them before terminating, the transition between being a temporary to a regular employee may be smoother since they are aware of company policy and culture.
If your seasonal hires are not interested in pursuing the status of a regular employee, but would like to be called back for another season, keep a record of their contact information and let them know you will contact them once another busy season hits.
After the layoffs have been completed and regular company schedules are normal, hold a store-wide meeting involving all staff to receive feedback and input on how the season went.
Getting your regular employees involved in the process from preplanning to layoffs ensures engagement from your employees and allows them to be part of the process—this aids in building the morale and pride of job ownership.
*e-VentExe is a full service human resource consulting company specializing in outsourcing and compliance, recruitment and retention, training and development, and assessment tools.
The holiday season for retail workers mean one thing: busy, busy, busy. With stores starting their Black Friday sale on Thanksgiving, more employees are needed to man the store. In fact, CareerBuilder’s Annual Survey concluded that 39% of hiring managers plan to hire workers this year, compared to 36% last year, and 29% in 2011.
Sure, when Black Friday comes along, fashionistas, technology gurus, and anyone who simply wants a good deal will be participating in this shopping spree day. But what about the employees who have to work during these ghastly hours, especially on Thanksgiving? Although store hours are opening in the evening to ensure retail employees have time to spend with their family and friends, it may be tough for any retail manager to motivate their staff (especially if copious amounts of food was consumed just hours before). How will retail leaders prepare their staff for the infamous Black Friday sale in terms of customer service, team morale, and overall employee well-being?
Working in retail, customer service is essential. As a store associate, necessary steps are taken to achieve top quality service to customers—ask them how their day is going, ask them if they need any assistance finding items, provide insight when asked, be personable and approachable. Yes, folding clothes after what looked like a blizzard hit the section may be frustrating, but remember: providing superior customer service is a pivotal function of the job; not only does it reflect the company, it also reflects the employee.
Staying motivated during the busy season may be challenging, and customer complaints can make it tougher. When team morale seems to be lacking, it is both noticeable for both other staff members and customers. Remember to keep the staff engaged in their work and with their fellow customers by providing incentives such as these:
1) Provide healthy snacks throughout the day in the break room to ensure employees are being well-nourished. Offering snacks, such as nuts, will reward employees with natural health benefits including long-lasting energy, brain health, and even reduce stress.
2) Employee holiday appreciation party. During or after the holiday season, plan a party for the employees to show them they are more than just bodies in the store. Thank them for all the hard work they have done for the company. Gather each employees’ insight (i.e., theme, food, activities) to ensure their voice and ideas are being heard by upper management.
3) Appreciation in-store discounts or gift cards. Offer employees a generous discount, such as 60% off of sale items and 40% off of regular priced items. Another incentive may involve having a raffle drawing of gift cards to other places.
4) Shorter shifts to alleviate stress. Dealing with customers amongst the constant hustle and bustle of the season may be demanding. Provide shorter shifts to ensure employees are not feeling burnt-out.
5) Allow employees to change roles and/or departments during their shift. Employees may feel unmotivated (and most likely bored) repeating one tedious task for the entire shift. Change up the scenery by moving them around the store and allowing them to engage in other roles. This tactic may make the shifts more bearable and the hours go by quicker.
As managers and leaders, it is management’s job to ensure their employees’ needs are being met and frustrations alleviated. Empowering employees in turn empowers management which empowers the overall company.
*e-Ventexe is a full service human resource company dedicated to providing services catered to clients’ needs.
Communication is vital for everyday interactions—words are exchanged between others and body language and hand movements are in motion. However, what if a form of communication means respecting silence? Barbara Rogoff, author of The Cultural Nature of Human Development, focuses on three distinct cultures that either value silence (Japanese and Inuit) or questioning and participation (United States) in the classroom. Both approaches influence the outcome of one’s leadership, beginning in the classroom and later taking shape at the workplace. At a young age, we heighten our communication skills at school: we engage in group projects, we make friends in and outside of our selected classes, teachers encourage us to critically think and make our own decisions. When we examine communication in a cultural standpoint, we take into account what deems as significant to other cultures. Growing up in the United States, I’ve been taught to question everything and sometimes do feel awkward in times of silence.
An interesting connection to make between American culture and its uncomfortable feelings towards silence may be due to our individualistic ways: in order to succeed in life, we must ask questions in order to promote learning and knowledge, which therefore, puts us one step above the rest. Furthermore, western schooling appreciates participation and asking questions because it shows we are actively engaged in the subject and want to learn. We enjoy asking questions for the purpose of teaching others because it, subconsciously or not, puts us in a leadership position. We feel confident and have a sense of belonging—other aspects we as Americans hope to strive. This is the norm for our culture; we love competition and being the best at everything. Our school systems have taught us we need to surpass and excel our peers in mostly anything to succeed—whether it’s in academics, sports, music, arts, etc. Because we are ingrained in this cultural belief, how we learn in the classroom correlates with how we are as leaders in the workplace. Teachers use a more authoritarian style when teaching: they are at the front of the classroom, instructing the students; they make the decisions as to what to teach and what to do, but still encourage their students to think analytically. There is a definite hierarchy structure—the teacher being the most powerful and placed front and center in a classroom. We can see this hierarchy structure in companies: the CEO and executive management being place on top of the organizational chart and controlling the overall outcome of the business. Their employees look up to them to make decisions and them, being leaders encourage their employees to ask questions.
In retrospect, the Inuit community believes children gain wisdom and experience through observation; as they grow older, questions simply become a mundane habit. Like the Inuit community, the Japanese culture also finds speaking and asking questions to be a sign of immaturity. The Japanese community highly values listening and feels children grow from actively listening to others, rather than blatantly stating their opinions; they value silence because it allows them to respond with more thoughtful and meaningful answers. Japanese teachers take a more permissive approach when teaching—the students are the teachers, and the teacher sits silently observing the class. This form of teaching promotes a sense of inferiority and equality between students and teacher. This allows for the students to feel more comfortable and enables them to actually want to participate, perhaps insinuating a collaborative leadership style in the workplace. In respect to both forms of communication, one approach is not better than the other in regards to leadership outcome—appreciation and mutual acceptance for what is outside of one’s norm needs to be taken into account. With that said, which style promotes engagement in learning in your eyes— taking control and asking questions or observing and listening?