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Sing Carols Not Ballads this Black Friday

Once upon a time, Black Friday actually was held on Friday; nowadays, it starts on the Thursday we like to call Thanksgiving. For businesses planning to open their doors on Turkey Day, beware of potential morale issues with your employees, who will be sacrificing holiday time with family and friends.

Given the copious amount of food your employees are likely to have consumed just hours prior to the store doors opening, expect a bit of lag to accompany any bad moods. Thus, the question arises: How can you prepare your staff for the rush, influence good customer service, improve overall employee well-being and boost team morale?

Managers can’t ignore a weekend that, according to, potentially earns 40 percent of their store’s annual sales. In 2013, approximately 141 million U.S. consumers shopped during Black Friday, spending a total of $57.4 billion. With a chunk that hefty at stake, retailers should operate at the top of their game, and that requires getting your team onboard. To sway them to your side, leverage these five simple but effective engagement tactics.

1. Provide energy-boosting snack options

Turkey has a rap for making people nap, but the bird isn’t to blame. In fact, according to, turkey contains no more tryptophan (the chemical which forms the basis of brain cells that make people tired) than other poultry sources; therefore, it isn’t any more sleep-inducing.

So why are we always so tired after our Thanksgiving feasts? Blame it on the fats and overeating. Like most American celebrants, your employees will stuff their faces with an obscene amount of Thanksgiving food: more than 4,500 calories’ worth, estimates the Calorie Control Council, which may mean workers could show up to work dragging their feet.

Keep Gatorade, coffee, nuts and granola in the break room to provide an extra energy boost. Sooner than later, the “stuffed” feeling will wear off and stomachs will be growling for seconds. Instead of grabbing more mashed potatoes, employees can fill up on nutritious snacks to keep them going.

2. Show your appreciation

Employees want to feel their hard work is valued. Show them how thankful you are for their service by offering in-store discounts, raffling off prizes or hosting a post-sale party. Include them in the planning processes to ensure their voices are heard.

3. Offer shorter shifts

Assuming you have the proper staffing for Black Friday, consider assigning shorter shifts. Dealing with customers – some of them not always the most pleasant – can be grueling. Make sure your employees are not getting overworked or feeling discouraged; a shorter shift can be re-energizing.

4. Switch up the roles

Sometimes, a change of scenery can make a world of difference. Consider moving around tasks so that employees aren’t stuck in the same monotonous routine for the entire shift.

5. Use the buddy system

Managers are pulled in a million different directions; you can’t cover everything, so enact the buddy system. Pair employees so they periodically can check up on each other throughout the shift, lending a helping hand if necessary or just listening to help relieve some stress. This is another great way to improve team morale, because when everyone is unified, production runs a lot smoother.

As a leader, it is your job to ensure your employees’ needs are met and frustrations are diminished so that both performance and profits rise high. Engaging and empowering your employees ultimately will make this Black Friday a very merry one.