Three Ways Managers Can Maximize Employee Engagement during the Holidays

December 8, 2016

With all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, many employees wonder if it really, ‘tis the season to be jolly. 


While businesses are focused on fulfilling customers’ needs in an effort to grow their share of holiday consumer spending, many managers fall short on recognizing the employees who actually provide the customer experience.  The chaos of the holiday season is not limited to actual retail workers.  Behind every sales person is usually a team representing warehouse workers, shipment facilitators, call center associates, online support staff and more. 

Here are three ways to engage employees during the holidays.

Support and shine.  Without support and guidance, some employees may succumb to pressure-cooker circumstances given the heightened state of urgency and overwhelming stress.  It is, therefore, critical to, ‘Talk in terms of the other person’s interests,’ Dale Carnegie’s 8th Human Relations principle.  It’s easy to make a general, “If you need help, holler!” statements, however tailoring messages to employees will resonate and therefore refuel them.  Instead, make a specific offer to help such as, “Sheryl, I know we’re short-staffed and your back is bad.  Let me know if you need help lifting anything.”  That statement tells Sheryl she is cared for, appreciated and supported—all aspects of employee engagement which brings us to…

Rally and root.  According to Gallup research, managers are responsible for as much as 70% of the variance in employee engagement!  To understand how powerful the impact of management is, remember the old adage, ‘Misery loves company.’  If a manager arrives at work hemming and hawing about traffic and the enormous amount of work that must be completed by end-of-day, everyone else will follow suit.  Instead of commandeering a crescendo of complaints, managers who rally team members together and state the performance goals of the day with enthusiasm are ‘throwing down a challenge,’ Mr. Carnegie’s 21st principle.  Instead of ranting, employees are more likely to rise to the occasion—to band together to achieve the goal that has been set, and when they do…

Recognize and strategize.  Sadly, only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days according to a Gallup poll.  Dale Carnegie’s 9thprinciple, ‘Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely,’ is one surefire way to engage employees during the hectic holiday season. 

Consider honoring an employee daily or weekly by creating an ‘MVP’ award for which the prize could be nominal, such as use of a special parking spot, or as costly as a free lunch or gift card.  It only takes a few minutes to announce who the winner is, and then be sure to ask how they accomplished so much in such little time.  The answer may reveal a new and improved method of approaching and/or completing a task.  The revelation may result in savings of time and/or operational costs for the individual department or overall organization.   


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