3 Ways to Keep Your Employees Motivated During Holiday Shifts

With the long Labor Day weekend just around the corner, many of us are preparing for backyard parties with friends and family, attending the parade and all in all enjoying the day off. But what about those employees who don’t get the day off? Many small businesses stay open during the holidays in order to keep a constant stream of revenue, which mostly means employees will have to forfeit their holiday plans in order to help the company compete with larger businesses. If these businesses want to avoid a high turnover rate, it’s vital for owners to come up with some incentives in order to keep the employees motivated and appreciated.

Chances are if you’re a company that has to stay open during the holidays you probably don’t have the funds to drop a lot of money on these incentives. Holiday bonuses, time-and-a-half pay, and company gifts are all great motives for employees to stick around, but they’re not always practical. The best thing you can do is recognize what your employees sacrifice to ensure your business runs smooth. A thank you goes a long way, but today I want to go over some examples of how you can do more than say thank you and keep your employees happy and motivated during those long holiday weekends.

1. Compromise

One of the best ways you can show your employees that you value them and their time is to come to an agreement with them on what days they work. If you have a few employees take off Memorial Day, allow them to do so under the condition that they offer to work Labor Day and let their colleagues have the first chance to take that weekend off. Often times you’ll find employees willing to compromise with each other so everybody comes out relatively happy. After all, nobody wants to work Thanksgiving Day, but assure those employees that have to work that day that they can take Christmas off and they’ll approach the situation with a much better attitude.

If your company’s schedule doesn’t allow you to make these kinds of promises, consider offering more flexibility in what hours your employees work. If you give them enough time in advance and allow them to negotiate what shifts they take on, you’ll find many of them will still manage to find the time to spend with their friends and family.

2. It’s the Little Things

Even if you can’t afford to offer your employees incentives like time-and-a-half pay or holiday bonuses, there are little things you can do that will show them how much you appreciate them. A $10 gift card to a movie or dinner is always received well, or perhaps you make homemade baked goods or something of the sort. Even a handwritten note can speak volumes. Give them something that explicitly thanks them for working the holiday shift and acknowledges that you’re aware there are places they’d rather be.

Consider allowing your employees to dress up or down for their shift. If your business deals with customers in person, perhaps you can allow them to wear something festive depending on the holiday. Obviously, every company is different, but there is always somewhere you can compromise with your dress code that will make your employees have a more enjoyable shift. Decorating the workplace or coming up with fun, non-obtrusive games for them to play all day will keep morale high.

3. Make an Appearance

Now depending on a million different factors, this might not be possible. However, if you can get somebody from management to make an appearance during holiday shifts, even just for a few minutes, your employees will see that you value them. This will give you a chance to give them some words of encouragement and a personal thank you. Having a management that’s seen regularly by employees is a great business practice in general, but during holiday shifts it can offer your employees the positive feeling that they need to be motivated throughout their day.