Manager Headaches After the Holiday

You’ve opened all the gifts, spent some time with family, ate more than you should have, and now it’s Back to Work….for the worst time of the year – post holiday! Managers working in service industries will be ‘suprised’ to find the number of their own beloved employees who decided family was more important than working.
Experienced managers prepare for staff shortages on the holiday. Great managers try to head off holiday no-shows with fair practices for approving time off. Even better managers say thank you before, during, and after the holiday.

As a Manager, you likely worked the holiday due to the business need, a company event, or staff shortage. It’s likely you gave a valued employee time off and worked the holiday yourself! Now, you’re feeling like your sacrifice was not worth it. Despite your attempts to offer a work-life balance, to give back, someone or some did not show up to work, and you’re forced with the next action – discipline or even termination. What can we learn from our experiences this holiday to make the next one better?

1: Employees bank on picking up another job with ease. Yes, even in today’s economy. Lower wage workers feel the pinch during the holiday season. Gifts, travel, feasts put a damper on financials. There is a sort of grey line that Employees will cross if they feel both unappreciated & underpaid. As a manager, it’s likely you can only manage one of these aspects – appreciation. Show it at every opportunity.

2: Employees look for fairness. If they feel your decision as a manager was not, they will take back control. “If they don’t give me Christmas off, I’ll just quit!” Remember, this is not about your perception of what is fair, it’s about someone else’s.

3: Promote rewards. Most companies have some type of reward or recognition system in place for those who work on a holiday. How actively did you promote yours? And, did you rely on payroll and compensation to issue that reward alone, or did you take a moment to personally say thank you? Personal recognition goes a very long way, and be specific, “Thank you for working on the Holiday. Our customers appreciate your commitment to them, and so do I.”

4: Hold them accountable. Set the expectation and be consistent. Employees might make the choice to quit their jobs, or fail to show up. We know this. Don’t be afraid to move to the next step in your discipline process.

5: Let go of your own emotions. As a manager, you may feel angry, hurt, or resentful, but keep that in check. It’s likely you had many wonderful and trusted employees who did do the right thing. Recognize that, and leave your negative emotions at the door.

Employees will make decisions on holidays, or any time of year that work in what they believe to be their best interest. It’s really not personal; it’s not directed at you. Say thank you to those who continued their commitment to the business, and remember to always smile. There will be another holiday around the corner. Strive to set new expectations for yourself and those who work with you!

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