How to Keep Your Part-Time Workers Motivated During the Holiday Shopping Season

The holidays are an especially taxing time for part-time employees who have to deal with the holiday shopping rush as well as make holiday plans for their personal life outside of work. You may see focus begin to fade during the holiday season as employees get burnt out from the holiday stress and show more signs of being eager to get home to prepare and celebrate for their own festivities. It’s up to you to create excitement about coming into work and pushing through the holiday rush. Here are some ways to keep your part-time workers motivated during the busy holiday shopping season:

Create goals and visibly track them

Creating challenging goals helps motivate employees to avoid scraping by with just the bare minimum this holiday season. Hold a meeting to make sure your company goals are clear to everyone. Consider creating personal goals or team goals to encourage some friendly competition among the staff. And don’t forget to add incentives. It doesn’t have to be a huge bonus, but even something as simple as a small gift card of choice or getting out of bathroom-cleaning duties for the rest of the month can be the perfect amount of motivation to get your employees through the holiday season. Be sure to track goal progress loud and proud in the employee break room or near the clock-in station. Ask creative employees to design and update the progress board to encourage their artistic talents and get them further excited about achieving goals. Ask your employees which incentives they would like to see and try to get the friendly competitive spirit going.

Celebrate achievements

This is a season of celebration, and you don’t want employees to think that all happiness and cheer stops when they walk into work. Be sure to celebrate the holiday season goals you have set, but also celebrate the individual achievements each employee has accomplished throughout the year. This is the perfect time to show your employees individual recognition and appreciation. If it is not easy or possible to track individual achievements in your business, consider creating fun awards for your employees instead (think: “Most Punctual,” “Best Helper,” etc.). Don’t be afraid to ask for employee input or hold a storewide vote for these awards. Get super creative and make trophies or ribbons and hold an “Awards Ceremony.” Announce that you will be awarding achievements as far in advance as possible and watch their motivation boost as they try to reach for an achievement award.

Be mindful of schedules

This is the time of year when scheduling your part-time employees can be most difficult. Many people are going on vacation, have guests visiting, or need extra time to finish their holiday shopping. Take this time to have individual meetings with each employee to discuss holiday schedules. Make it clear that you cannot grant everyone’s time off requests, but you will try to be as flexible as possible when creating the schedule during this time. Ask employees whether they would prefer longer or shorter shifts during this time (as holiday shopping escalates, shifts become more stressful and it may be wise to create shorter, more frequent shifts all-around). Also keep in mind that some employees might want more hours during the holiday season or may wish to work on the actual holidays if they do not have plans or wish to avoid holiday stress at home. Consider your overtime budget and offer overtime pay for employees who work on the holiday.

Consider a holiday party

The type and size of party can be as big or small as you want, but holding a holiday party is a great way to show appreciation for your employees and create positive experiences associated with work. Consider allowing employees to invite family and friends to the event. You do not necessarily have to pay for everything with the company credit card, but make sure you employees know what is and is not covered before the party starts.

Host a contest

Similarly to proclaiming company goals, a contest can create a motivating competitive spark amongst your employees. This gives them something to look forward to and be exited about coming to work for. The contest can be company-related: who can make the prettiest latte foam art (consider getting the customers involved in the voting process), or who can make the biggest sale from just add-ons. It can also be unrelated to work: a cookie baking contest (plates and score cards in the break room), or best holiday desk décor. Be creative, take employee suggestions, and don’t be afraid to hold more than one contest.