During the holidays, employee productivity often decreases due to stress from gift-shopping, weather changes and travel plans. This can be an unexpected difficulty for business owners to manage. Gia Ganesh is the Vice President of People and Culture at Florence Healthcare, where she helps clients improve workflows and develop strong employee teams. Today she joins host Jim Fitzpatrick on the Atlanta Small Business Show to discuss how managers can keep their workforce on task, despite the winter festivities.
The end of the year is an important time for businesses, especially those which deal with increased demand during the holidays. Managers often find themselves balancing heavy workloads with fewer work days as employees take time off for vacations. However, despite the stress owners may feel, Ganesh notes that workers are often negatively impacted by the season as well, due to stress from planning, budgeting for gifts, loneliness or even Seasonal Affective Disorder. Rather than discounting the validity of these struggles, the better solution is to recognize the difficulties employees face, and to develop a solution tailored to one’s team. Ganesh has three tips to help employers maintain productivity during the holidays.
1. Start a conversation
To address a decrease in productivity, owners should open up a dialogue with their entire workforce. Ganesh cautions managers against discussing employee performance one-on-one, as this can make stress worse. A better way is to simply inform all employees that the company is willing to accommodate employees struggling with the season, and that anyone who needs assistance need only to ask. Loyal workers will be willing to open up and discuss solutions, provided they are treated with respect.
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2. Plan ahead
Ganesh also encourages employers to have this dialogue before the holidays, rather than waiting to take action until productivity decreases. This not only circumvents awkward conversations, but also avoids situations where employees may take advantage of a business owner’s hospitality. It also provides structure for workers during the holidays, allowing them to form a plan ahead of time.
3. Set expectations
However, while it is in the interests of employers to foster a positive relationship between workers and management, they also have to look out for their company. The conversation should form a compromise between the employee’s and business’s needs, rather than giving workers free reign at the cost of productivity. Setting realistic expectations when discussing the holidays is an excellent way to keep employees focused. It allows the company to keep workers accountable, while giving employees a metric to measure their own performance.
Rather than being frustrated at employees for low productivity as a result of holiday pressures, business owners should be open-minded and proactive. Empathetic dialogues, early planning and realistic expectations prevent confusion and stress, while ensuring everyone can enjoy their end-of-year celebrations to the fullest.
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