The holiday season is the most intense time of the year for the retail industry. Employers must enhance their employee experience in order to provide great customer service.
The end of the year holiday season is both the most important and most dreaded time of year. For retailers, it has the potential to match the revenue they have made throughout the year and can be the ultimate determination of profitability or not. . For employees within the retail industry, it is the toughest time of year, whether it be online or in-store retail employees, working in extra shifts during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the countdown up to Christmas.
With such immense pressure built up, it can be a bit of a challenge to help employees maintain productivity, high levels of engagement that leads to better customer service. during this all-important period. To add fuel to the fire, we are still in the midst of a Pandemic that has affected the workplace and will remain to do so for months to come. With all this added stress, seeing the path to efficiency and satisfaction is a bit cloudy.
Let’s have a look at a few simple things that you can do to get the best out of your employees while alleviating their stress and keeping productivity up through the holiday season.
One of the things that will very much be appreciated this year is any sort of monetary compensation. The retail industry was one of the most badly hit industries during this pandemic and due to this, there were several job and pay cuts. Now that places have opened up, it will take employees months to recover from the financial hit. In-store the rules have become stricter, with increased job responsibilities such as strict sanitation rules, cleanliness, and physical distancing. Put all of this together with large masses of people rushing to get their holiday shopping done, and you’ve got an overworked and highly stressed employee population.
One of the best ways to show appreciation is with monetary compensation. Pay them double or at least a time and a half the hourly rate for the extra hours put in. Give them a holiday bonus. A cash gift voucher that’ll help them do their holiday shopping will go a long way in showing corporate goodwill. If you’re in a very giving mood and are able to, consider alternate payments--for example, there are so many paying off student loans or healthcare bills.
Shorten Work Shifts With Timely Breaks
With such intense hours being put in, it is easy for employees to slip up. Exhaustion leaves room for error. Avoid this by reducing work shifts by an hour or two and regulating them efficiently. Give employees a 15-minute break every two hours to help them take a breath during the shift. This will help them gather themselves and not get too flustered due to constant movement in the chaos.
Pay Attention To Health
It’s a basic concept, but very important and sometimes overlooked--nutrition! The key to getting through a shift is also by making sure that your employees remain hydrated and nourished. Make sure water is available in employee areas, break rooms, and other working environments so that employees can keep sipping on water throughout their shift. For shifts that last more than four hours, ensure that your employees get one break long enough to be able to grab a bite. Keep a bowl of healthy items such as fruit or granola bars in an area easily accessible to them. The last thing stores need is an employee running on fumes during rush hour. While many stick to coffee, do not think of it as the best solution. Caffeine and sugar do give you a boost of energy but then it is followed by a nasty crash paired with unpleasant characteristics like irritability, short temper, and drowsiness which is what you don’t want mid-shift. You want them healthy, happy, and full of energy throughout.
Invest In Comfort
One of the best ways to show your employees that you care is by making sure that they are comfortable doing what they do while wearing what they have to. In-store, employees are on their feet the entire day, constantly moving around. Their shoes and attire can be a hindrance if they aren’t comfortable. Invest in comfortable shoes. Buy a pair for all your employees that ensure that they’ll be able to move around effortlessly. The same goes for the uniform or outfit. Make sure their outfits are comfortable, breathable, light, and easy to wash. Each employee should be given at least 2 pairs of the same outfit.
Keep Work Relationships In Mind
Employees can be comfortable, can be healthy, can be well compensated but will still not perform if they don’t get along well with each other or their superiors. Pay extra attention to how each employee gets along with others and higher management. Schedule shifts based on how individual employees work together with others. Put people with character traits that complement each other, so as to improve efficiency. Not only this but they should be friends. A relationship like that of friends allows people to be open to helping each other, and more open to working together. This quality should be most sought after in high-intensity situations. Your employees should be able to band together to solve any and every problem thrown at them.
A positive employee experience during the toughest phases of the year will take you further than when things go smoothly. This year will prove to test your abilities as an employer to provide safety, job security, and a great work environment so you can supercharge efficiency and ROI. It’s simple: If your employees are not taken care of, then your customers will not be taken care of. How you treat your employees will reflect on your customers with the way they are treated by your employees. So give the best customer experience by providing the best employee experience.
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