The Final Countdown
 
  Shop Local Christmas Pledge
   As Christmas approaches, store owners (and employees) get tired (and cranky)…  Here are a few tips to make that final push to Christmas!
Extended hours, more customers, less natural light, colder weather and less "outdoor time" starts to take its toll on business managers and employees as Christmas approaches.  It is important for businesses to understand that there is a definite link between "happiness" in the work place and sales growth.  So, keeping staff and management "up" this time of year is critically important both for the culture of your organization AND your bottom line.  Many businesses when they think "happiness" for employees, they automatically think some sort of cash bonus incentive, but national studies indicate that their are many non-monetary ways to improve the mood of your business without breaking the bank.
 
1.  Eat healthy and stay hydrated.  It is easy to eat "junk" during the holiday season, but it is important to have higher energy (and healthier) foods at the ready to snack on and also drink plenty of water.  Just like an athlete that hydrates and eats right, your staff is moving at a faster pace than normal.  Your food input can impact your productivity output.  CLICK HERE for some snack ideas.
 
2.  Create shared and consistent perks.  Instead of the short term sales perk, find something that the staff can enjoy together.  A consistent movie night out, amenities in a nice break room, a coffee bar for staff, a team spirit (or other alternative clothing) day or other industry specific perks can create a consistent uplifting effect for your staff.
 
3.  Identify personal rewards.  Talk to your staff and find out what they value.  An "out of the Shop Local Holiday Seasonblue" appreciation gift based on your conversations lets a staff member know that you pay attention to them and value them as a person.
 
4.  Show that you care.  If staff feels like they
 are valued, they tend to work harder.  If they feel like they are simply an input in a machine, that's how they will act.  Although management must be cognizant of a personal "line", a little empathy creates a lot of loyalty.
 
5.  Institute a culture of respect.  Yes, managers are the final say in business matters, but when staff and management both value peoples ideas and opinions on a more equal basis, people are more likely to share ideas for improvement and take a vested interest in an organization's success.
 
6.  Find something positive to focus on each day.  News can get dreary, and negativity can have an appealing gossip effect.  If left unchecked, a negative mood can permeate your organization and result in a "down" atmosphere.  Good weather, a local team win, new inventory, sharing a positive customer story and other uplifting items should be talked about to encourage positive thought.
 
7.  Create a defined mission with clear objectives that go beyond "make money".  If your goal is to brighten peoples day by serving the best coffee in the area, bring music to the masses through instrument sales and service or bring more beauty into peoples lives through home decor, those objectives allow your staff to "buy in" to your concept.  Find clear ways your staff can meet objectives and adhere to your mission, and reinforce your mission to your staff and the public whenever possible.
 
8.  Give staff a purpose, and find ways that they can "win".  When a staff member is "the Holiday Window WOWbest window designer" or acts as an example of how to deal with a certain situation, your acknowledgement can lift the staff member up and instill pride in his or her accomplishments.  You don't know the limits of a staff members talents without trusting them to succeed (and realizing that failure is inevitable).  Build confidence by encouraging staff to push themselves and recognizing success.
 
9.  Too much individualism can be a bad thing.  Remember to emphasize work place harmony by focusing on your unique culture and the "team".  Happy atmospheres incorporate the whole of your staff, and an organic environment creates a supportive culture.  An individual environment can create a competitive atmosphere, which isn't always conducive to long term success. 
 
10.  Celebrate group achievements while absorbing individual losses.  In management, wins are "we's" and loses are "me's".  A lack of performance coupled with blame can drag down a staff.  Focusing on areas of improvement and group achievements can lead you to a sustainable happy path.  Absorbing the "loss" as professional management can encourage your team to rally around you as you try to create team wins in the future.

 

 

This isn't quite "don't worry, be happy", but you can do some things to augment the culture of your organization.  Those cultural changes, when added to good products, services and a solid business acumen can result in profitability and a work environment you WANT to be a part of.  Try and institute a few of these techniques in your operation, and remember to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Emporia Main Street.