Every holiday season creates challenges for small businesses, but this year has been especially difficult for both small business owners and for their team members. COVID-19 has affected not only the financial stability of many Americans, it’s also impacted the country’s emotional well-being.
Truthfully, even without the threat of a pandemic or other global health issues, the holidays can be tough for your small business team members. On top of the expectations that families place on one another when it comes to gift-giving, there is also added stress about fitting in family time with work and how to travel safely.
Business owners have been struggling to adapt and change due to the pandemic and tracking all the different regulations by state, so this holiday will not be “normal” for employers or employees. Employers worry about their business but also want to keep their staff members safe, protected and able to make a living. Empathy for everyone’s situation can go a long way in maintaining team morale, but there are other ways business owners can support their teams this holiday season.
· Encourage your team to take their vacation time and earned PTO. Employees are stressed about a lot of things this holiday, but sometimes they don’t take their earned time off for a variety of reasons. They may fear coming back to a reduced workforce or face reduced hours. They may worry they aren’t supporting the rest of the team. But we all need to take well-deserved time away for work-life balance. If employees feel supported by their employer to take time off, they will feel more relaxed and less stressed.
· Show that you care about your team by asking them what they need. This means small business owners should not just intend or talk about supporting their team, they need to take action and do something, exemplify their true commitment to every employee. For instance, covering every inch of the office space (for those who are working in the office on a regular or scheduled basis) with decorations, or sending employees a holiday greeting card from you and the executive team is not really supporting them. Find out what matters to them, and ask them how you can help them attain a better work-life balance, and most importantly, listen to them. Rather than acting interested in employees’ lives, make a committed effort during this holiday season to support your teams’ needs with your time, resources and money. Happy, truly supported employees make better employees, and you as the employer can choose to make that a priority throughout the year — not just during the holidays.
· Let your team know they matter by acknowledging their extra efforts. It has been a tough 2020 for everyone, but your small business team has risen to the challenge, and they should be recognized for that. Regardless of what is going on at home, your employees (not just the executive staff) have been the ones to keep the fires burning, customers satisfied, suppliers coordinated and more even despite the many challenges of 2020. There have been more struggles and stresses than anyone expected, so consider making it an even better holiday by rewarding every team member for their service. A bonus can make a huge difference, not just monetarily, but it’s a huge confidence booster to feel appreciated. If money is not possible, think of other ways you can thank each employee for their steadfast dedication. Make it MEANINGFUL!
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It can be difficult to be optimistic in the midst of a national health crisis, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and you can help bolster your team’s outlook for the coming year by asking for their input and showing them continual appreciation for their efforts. Do not simply tell them but SHOW each employee they are an integral part of every small business’ success and that you trust and respect each of them. Let your staff know that there are many reasons to be optimistic, and that you support each of them 100% to help your small business grow in 2021 and beyond.