My jaw dropped, and not because there was more turkey and pie. It was Thanksgiving and I was watching football with my family, when a news soundbite came on about stores opening at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to kick off the seasonal shopping madness.
I couldn’t believe it. Not that people would go shopping (that’s their choice). I couldn’t believe that employees were required to work. Enough is enough. I support businesses and their right to earn a living, but I don’t support their decision to do so by making employees work on major holidays. I am also disappointed at the shortsightedness of these employers, who have a make-money-now mentality no matter the cost. I’m not picking on any particular business, but did you ever wonder why one of the popular big box stores have a turnover of half of their entire staff every year? What do you think that’s costing them?
So, in the holiday spirit of promoting goodness, I’m going to share with you why forcing employees to work on holidays, to come in midnight the day after a holiday, or prep on a holiday for next day shopping is really bad for your business:
1. You are affecting an entire family. When an employee works on a holiday for you, they don’t just suffer being away from family, family suffers from being away from them. The family in turn feels negatively about you—and likely lets everyone know about it—and the employee is upset for missing out on family moments. No one is happy and resentment builds.
2. Power of reciprocity. "We get what we give", or maybe you’ve heard it as, “What goes around comes around.” Yeah there’s karma, reciprocity and payback, yet many don’t realize they all work both ways. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of you. If you squeeze every ounce of juice out of them, they will do the same to you. The rule to follow: Put yourself in their shoes, and do their jobs; if you don’t like it, they won’t either.
3. Passive-aggressive payback. Employees will keep their jobs even if you continue to treat them poorly. But they will find other ways to ding your bottom line. They take longer breaks, or spend more time complaining about you to co-workers rather than working. Even worse, they’ll develop the “it’s not my job” attitude, ignore customers or take their unhappiness out on them. They might even engage in work slowdowns at the checkout, stocking and service lines.
I know you don’t want to miss out on those holiday sales, so do something different. Give your employees the time off for the holidays. Close down for Thanksgiving and the day after and let your employees come back rested and refreshed for the holiday madness. Host a “Post Black Friday Sale.” You could even pay them for the time off. I know, I know you’re trying to make money, not spend it, but you want this to be a genuine time to reward your employees.
Studies show that most people do their holiday shopping at the last minute anyway. You may lose one big sale day, but you’ll gain so much more in employee and customer attitude, gratitude and loyalty—you'll win in the end, and be rewarded for doing the right thing.
Read more holiday sales articles.
Mike Michalowicz is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting group that helps companies whose growth has plateaued to grow again. Michalowicz is the author of The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, as well as one of the most popular entrepreneur blogs.
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