September is here, which means fall is upon us. It also means service organizations will start ramping up their holiday workforce. During the holiday season, however, service industry managers often see morale across their organization drop. Since there are few options for upward growth and long-term involvement after the holidays end, many seasonal workers feel disconnected from their company and end up underperforming.
While managers may think September is too early to engage and motivate holiday employees, it is a critical time to strengthen and prepare their seasonal workforce. Employee engagement platforms like WorkJam can help open the lines of communication to cultivate productivity and propel workers to survive the holiday chaos.
Here are three ways managers can defend against seasonal employee burnout and keep workers engaged throughout the holidays:
- Be flexible. During the holiday season, many employees are eager to take vacations and spend time with their families. Accommodating everyone’s unique schedule requests may seem like a challenge during peak holiday hours, but it doesn’t have to be.Employee engagement platforms streamline the scheduling process, allowing workers to input their time-off requests and communicate directly with others for shift swaps. When managers are flexible and place employees’ personal lives at the forefront, they show that they care – an added bonus that could boost company loyalty and productivity.
- Follow up on training. Much of the first-day training workers receive in September will likely slip through the cracks by December. Research suggests that the average person forgets nearly 80% of new information over the course of a month, signaling the need for refreshers every now and then. Training employees who won’t be with the company much longer may seem counter-productive, but training doesn’t have to be a major time investment.Tools like WorkJam allow employers to provide easily digestible self-service training videos and other instructions to mobile or desktop applications with quick assesements that validate successful learning. Providing this kind of independent training allows managers to allocate their time more effectively while still giving holiday employees the refresher they need.
- Give and get feedback. Just like year-round employees, seasonal workers also appreciate feedback and recognition. Managers should provide feedback multiple times throughout the course of the holiday season, especially during the last few weeks. It’s also important to remember that feedback is a two-way street. Managers should encourage their holiday workers to offer their feedback on how to improve store training or streamline internal processes.Having this constant line of communication will better engage workers and show that their voices are being heard. It also inspires loyalty by valuing workers’ opinions and offers management insight into the front lines. Giving and receiving feedback can cultivate a satisfied holiday workforce that has the stamina to deliver quality service throughout the crazy months of November and December.
It’s all too common for holiday workers to burn out during the peak of the season and quit their jobs early. But, employers can avoid scrambling to find last-minute replacements and reduce turnover costs by implementing more flexible scheduling, additional training and open communication channels. Having these initiatives will inspire workers to go the extra mile and have a significant boost to the quality of customer service – even if they won’t be sticking around for the long-run.