The holidays are renowned as a difficult time when it comes to managing staff, both in terms of schedules and morale.It’s a known dilemma; once the Christmas lights go up, productivity levels tend to go down. Whether you have a workforce of five or 50, it can be difficult to keep on top of your staff, especially if you’ve brought temporary employees on board to help with the Christmas rush. Here are some handy tips to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your workforce this holiday season. (1) Plan ahead The Christmas period often comes with shorter working hours and skeleton staff, yet the same workload to get through. If there aren’t many days off on offer, you’ll likely find that your staff all want the same ones, meaning that disappointment is inevitable. By putting in place a scheme that ensures that staff who worked the previous year are allowed first refusal this year, you’ll create a fair system that doesn’t cause a drop in morale. When it comes to keeping staff motivated to get work done, plan ahead and make your team aware of what needs to be done and when; this way, no one is left with any last-minute surprises. Similarly, set out goals and targets for each individual, so that everyone is aware of what is expected of them over the holiday period; this is also an easy way to keep your workforce motivated and on-track. (2) Allow flexi-time With Christmas shopping to do, family events to attend and parties galore, allowing staff to mix up their working hours and fit work around their schedules can provide a real boost in morale. Enabling employees to come in earlier and leave later, or vice versa, can be a great way to bring the festive spirit to the workplace, and keep your workforce happy! As long as staff are still working their contracted hours, it shouldn’t affect your business, but you’ll likely find that your employees will be more motivated, as well as grateful for the flexibility. (3) Offer incentives If you’re a small business, it can be hard, or even impossible, to keep up with larger companies when it comes to rewards at Christmas. If you are in the position to be able to hand out Christmas bonuses, make sure that your staff are aware; this tends to have a stellar impact on motivation. If you are unable to offer monetary rewards, why not consider a smaller gesture such as chocolates or a bottle of something fizzy for the best performing team. Small tokens such as these will still let your workforce know that they are appreciated, as well as providing extra incentive to keep productivity levels high. Offering your staff the opportunity to be paid earlier in the month, to take some of the pressure off their Christmas costs, is another simple way to keep them feeling valued, ultimately helping to keep spirits high during the busy period. (4) Keep things fun At a time when most employees will have celebrating on the mind, it’s important that you create a fun and friendly atmosphere in the workplace; it could make all the difference to morale. Small gestures such as playing festive music, running a Christmas jumper competition, or simply getting in the mince pies are all ways of demonstrating to your staff that you care for their well-being. Christmas parties and social events are also a great way to keep your workers content and motivated; by ensuring that team members are bonding and happy during the holidays, you’ll be boosting their loyalty to you. Loyalty to a company tends to increase motivation and productivity, so through giving back to your staff over the festive period, you’ll really be giving them the chance to excel. Ultimately, by making your workforce feel valued and appreciated over Christmas, you’ll be keeping morale high and productivity levels at their best. Ensuring that you balance work with the holiday season for your employees by keeping things fun and friendly, whilst making sure you are clear about what is expected in terms of workload, should keep motivation strong and staff happy. Lee Biggins is founder and managing director of CV-Library.
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