supporting happy employees during the holidays
(originally published to the Business Owner Tide Chart newsletter - September 2019)
It’s game day for the Gators at the University of Florida. It’s the 4th of July on Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a crisp Sunday in October in Salem. Whatever the day, wherever the location, what these settings all have in common are busy shops, eager tourists, and employees who would rather be watching football, celebrating the holiday, or really anywhere besides work. But working in the service industry requires us to show up with a smile even on the holiday.
I worked in a gift store in Gainesville, Florida for about a year. And each Saturday while my friends were cheering on the football team, I was selling jewelry and purses. I envied my friends. But what made the work day a bit more enjoyable was that my boss knew I’d rather be at the football game. As a small token of her appreciation she had gifted all of us with earrings in Gator blue and orange. We were allowed to wear a University of Florida shirt to work that day, instead of our typical black. We could show our team spirit even if we couldn’t be at the game.
Then there is the summer I worked at a t-shirt shop on Martha’s Vineyard. No one wanted to work on the 4th of July. The tourists expected otherwise. The deal was everyone had to come in and work a 4 hour shift. We all had to bear the burden together. In the end, it ended up being a lot of fun! Everyone was in great spirits, excited for a night of BBQs and fireworks.
The commitment of 4 hours was minimal and we knew we were all doing our part.
For Salem, the busy season lasts a whole month. Every weekend is busy with more and more visitors as the month goes on. Find the small ways you can show appreciation to your employees and invite them to celebrate along with your customers. Can they wear something outside normal uniform one day a week? On Halloween, can everyone pitch in and work a shift? It takes a whole crew to ensure a successful Halloween season. Acknowledging the sacrifices your employees may be making in their personal lives helps them feel valued. Setting consistent expectations for everyone shows a common purpose. And a little gift, be it themed earrings or free lunch, can go a long way to show your employees you appreciate them.