BrainTrust Query: Seven Tips for Retailers to Avoid Holiday Burn Out
Commentary by Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor
Through a special arrangement,
presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail
With all the demands of the holiday season, including longer hours, co-workers
calling in sick and returns, it’s easy for retail staff to throw up their
hands and become Grinches. But that comfortable old "grinchy" feeling
will cost a retailer sales.
Here are seven tips to avoid it:
1) Embrace the idea of the holiday music: Instead
of fighting it, retailers should look at it as a reminder these are the money
weeks. Holiday music makes shoppers feel merry. And happy shoppers buy more
than unhappy ones.
2) Make a schedule policy and stick to it: No one gets Christmas Eve
off or the day after Christmas. If it is slow, associates can be let go early.
3) Offer shorter holiday shifts for your employees: Associates can
become Grinches much quicker than store managers/owners. Give them a six-hour
shift if possible. A split shift enables employees to work the opening four
hours and the closing four hours with a break during the middle of the day
for errands or shopping. Giving schedule choices ahead of time allows for much
4) Set a daily goal for the store: Stores can also set a goal that
by close of business Christmas Eve they’ll have done X for the month and by
close of business December 31, they’ll have done Y. Progress should be tracked
daily. Employees can be given incentives for achieving both daily and holiday
5) Have short meetings with the staff: Set a goal for their shift of
some of the store’s most profitable products, and show associates how they can
6) Feed the sixth sense. Store managers/owners should always have their
head up and looking around the store to see who has been waiting a long time,
who has a question, which cashier is not up to it, etc. People are more stressed
than ever with less time and they are going to punish those who make them wait.
7) Keep managers off the registers: They can most move the needle of
sales on the sales floor. Save their skills for bigger decisions than a price
check or a markdown to avoid additional stress.
Discussion Questions: What tips do you have for avoiding store associate
burnout during the Christmas rush? What would you add to the recommendations
suggested in the article?