December can be a heck of month for SMEs juggling the challenges of extra leave, Christmas celebrations, and a larger workload.
Your staff are also under siege from the temptations of Christmas drinks, parties and gift-laden shops. Their minds are distracted by their own Christmas plans – making your business planning a nightmare!
So how do you rally the troops and keep their full attention, right up to Christmas Eve and beyond?
We’ve rounded up some top tips to ensure your staff stay motivated, engaged and productive throughout the festive season.
A little precision planning is needed to balance the workload and your staff. The earlier you start this process, the better. But don’t despair if time is getting away from you, it’s never too late to begin.
Work out exactly what needs to be done before the end of the year, then set goals for each week.
You need to know exactly how many staff members are available before allocating specific tasks.
The more detail each staff member has about what they are expected to do, the better they’ll be able to meet the brief – and the more comprehensively your work requirements will be covered.
Short on staff? A specialist recruitment agency can bridge the gap with quality temporary workers.
Juggle the annual leave
It’s essential that each staff member knows in advance whether they are working or on holiday over the festive season.
Rather than giving one staff member an extended break, consider splitting the week or fortnight between several employees.
If some workers missed out last year, put them at the front of the queue. Put others on the list for next year, so they know they have something to look forward to.
Be a little creative with worker incentives this season. Set weekly challenges to boost staff motivation.
Consider prizes for the best performer, and you don’t have to stick to chocs and bottles of wine. Try interesting gift vouchers or cinema tickets.
If you really want to up the ante this year, fitness wristbands or tablets are a great alternative. For a relatively small outlay, you create a buzz in the workplace with staff vying for a desirable early Christmas present.
Go seasonal yourself
If you don’t want staff looking elsewhere for their Christmas spirit, why not create your own in the workplace?
The options are endless for setting the scene. Make the office or store a fun place to be, and staff will be far happier coming to work and engaging fully once there.
Relax the dress code on key days. Play seasonal music in the background. Stock the staff kitchen with some irresistible eat-treats. Organise a secret Santa with a theme to get everyone focused.
Revolutionise the staff party
Tired of the same old office ‘do’? Get your employees’ heads together to come up with a new kind of seasonal outing.
Let staff choose what they’d like to do this Christmas – it could be ice skating, dancing, a themed restaurant, a paint ball skirmish, a cruise or a treasure hunt. Even a beach barbecue in shorts and thongs!
December is a great month to allow staff to divide time between office and home. They avoid crowded commutes, and can schedule essential work around family and social commitments.
Sprinkle a few ‘bonus’ offerings into the weeks leading up to Christmas. Late starts and early finishes, for instance, are always popular.
It’s not a contradiction – you can be firm and flexible at the same time.
It’s a question of letting staff know that while you want to accommodate them as much as possible, you also have very clear and tangible work outcomes which must be achieved.
If staff feel relaxed and appreciated, they are far more likely to meet their goals – so blending firmness and flexibility is key to motivating staff during Christmas.
And if you need to bolster your staffing levels for the festive season, contact us. We can help you find excellent