The Friday following Thanksgiving marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, known as Black Friday. On this day many, many workers are asked to show up at pre-dawn hours the day after a major eating holiday and in some cases risk serious bodily harm to keep this brick-and-mortar tradition going.
But it’s all a rather odd tradition. Black Friday isn’t even the busiest shopping day of the season (Cyber Monday and Super Saturday have it beat). Plus retailers are always offering deals throughout the holidays, and better deals can invariably be found the closer it gets to Christmas.
Suffice to say the hype and the extraneous demands Black Friday puts on workers can add a lot of unwarranted stress, which is why this year 55 major retailers like Costco, Home Depot, and Ikea have chosen to stay closed on Thanksgiving Day to give employees a more solid buffer before it hits.
Even so Black Friday is still very much going to happen and there are still thousands of employees who will be asked to do some pretty irritating things in its name while suffering from tryptophan hangovers. That is why the companies who participate in Black Friday should be doing everything they can to engage their employees on that day. Here are five quick tips to get you started:
- Don’t Ignore Seasonal Workers – Seasonal employees should be supported with the same alacrity as full employees. In many cases seasonal workers can be developed into outstanding full-timers with the right opportunity. Leave doors open and spread support far and wide.
- Provide a Comfort Zone – Retail or service areas may be hectic and crowded, so take some time to dress up the break area with added creature comforts to help the day go by more smoothly, and allow employees extra latitude with taking breaks throughout the day.
- Set Proper Expectations – Make sure everyone on your team knows what’s expected of them before the day, even if that news is going to be hard to hear. People always appreciate honesty in stressful situations, and by being honest about it you can actually alleviate some tensions.
- Give a Gift or Thank You Card – Don’t let the day go by without expressing your gratitude in some way. A token gift, a nice card, a delicious cake, free coffee, anything you think would make the day easier and fun to participate in.
- Be Extra-Supportive – Make no bones about it, what everyone is being asked to do on Black Friday is above and beyond, and it deserves non-stop support and devotion. Celebrate wins in big fashion throughout the day to keep everyone energized.
However imposing Black Friday appears, it can be spun into an excellent engagement opportunity with a little extra care and attention. Having blockbuster deals is great, but if you put an equal amount of time and energy into making your employees’ experience more satisfying, that satisfaction will shine through, and customers will remember you for more than just the savings when the shopping season really gets busy in December.