Winter is here and with it comes weather changes and the holiday season right around the corner. Business preparation for the holiday season has started earlier and earlier as marketing campaigns and strategy are defined and executed. Behind all of this activity and planning are your employees who make it happen. Incorporating your employees into your holiday game plan is just as important as the game plan.

Ever heard of winterizing your car? You most likely do it every year if you live where temperatures drop and the roads get slippery. Getting the people side of your business ready for holiday season is as easy as winterizing your car. It all starts with changing your tires.

Increasing Employee Traction Like Changing Your Winter Tires

Winter roads are unpredictable which require a traction like no other season. You change your car tires to a tire with deeper treads and high sipe densities which help keep you speeding towards your destination. Your holiday orders may reach numbers that double or triple your sales compared with the rest of the year and your employee traction and pace need to keep up and stay ahead of this demand.

Are there any changes to procedures that need to be made when there is an increase in sales? Have you checked in with employees for feedback on how processes can be more efficient? We change to winter tires because they are made specifically for the winter conditions. In what ways does your company need to change specifically for the holiday season?

By identifying these changes, you can prepare your employees and enable them to seamlessly pick up the pace to keep up with the holiday demand.

Keep Incentives Clear Like Checking Your Defroster and Windshield Wipers

The morning commute usually starts with the defroster on high as it slowly melts away the lingering ice from the night before. Clicking the windshield wipers every minute or so to clear away the ice, you’re finally on your way to work. This process can significantly increase your commute time if you did not investigate the status of your defroster after months of no use and windshield wiper quality. Together, these tools keep your vision of the road clear helping you get to your destination.

During the holiday season, the busy-ness of each day can tire employees or blurry their perspective. Help keep employees’ focus clear by defining their incentive. Whether it is a bonus based on the bottom line or an extra day off in 2019, keeping these visible will carry employees through the holiday rush. Even if your business doesn’t have a holiday rush, reinforcing incentives can serve as one last push to the end of the year.

Change Your Office Look Like You Change Your Oil

Your oil keeps your engine in peak condition. In the winter, sometimes the oil type needs to be changed based on the viscosity and freezing temperatures. In order to keep the engine of your company running smoothly, changing the environment can bring new energy and excitement to your employees (and your visiting clients!).

Decorate!

It goes a long way. Stand out from your competition with a unique approach to decoration. This is a great area to drive team connection as employees partake in decorating. Add some kind of element that ensures interaction, after all, people crave connection and what better way to solidify team dynamic than with an afternoon of decorating, building gingerbread houses, and learning from one another. By making a change in your office environment you’re setting the foundation for changed behavior.  

Check Your Battery, Check Your Team Charge

Freezing temperatures are not an ideal time to have your car battery die. Prior to winter season is a good time to get it checked. Similarly, team check-ins are important throughout the year, but specifically prior to holiday rush. How is team morale? Are there any underlying issues that are bogging your team down? If your team heads into the busiest time of year with a battery half full you risk a handful of consequences from quality to productivity decline.

How do you take a pulse check? There are a number of approaches. First and foremost, be open as to your “why” for asking how things are going for employees. By clarifying your purpose it can help employees understand your intention. Their answer isn’t a risk to themselves but a risk to the company if they do not answer. Ultimately, by asking questions from a place of growth the team’s charge can regenerate as everyone grows together.

If you find frustration or burn out during the pulse check, work to have transparent solution building to get the employees on the track that benefits everyone. A team outing or team acknowledgement session can go a long way. Opening space to gathering questions that employees have or need answers to is another way to mitigate frustration. Is there a problem that the employee would like to help solve? Even better, with employee engagement towards solutions you are already stepping away from grievances.

Knowing How to Use Your Four Wheel Drive Like Your Previous Year’s Holiday Data

Having four wheel drive on your car is only as great if you know how to use it. Holiday data is the same way. What sources do you collect your data from? Social media, website traffic, email feedback – all sources provide different insight you can use to maximize your outcome for 2018.

Did a certain subject line get more emails opened? When did you post your most interacted with social media post? Did your new approach to customer service increase purchases and decrease returns? Organize these findings to focus on the micro impact that tells the story of where you need to direct your energy this season. Use the macro impacts to spot trends that can drive your strategy beyond into 2019.

By including employees in reading this data, new ideas and perspectives will maximize your efforts in using data as a tool. It is beneficial to prep your employees with changes made this holiday season based on the feedback from the prior year. This lets them know that the company is growing and cognizant of using historical lessons learned to inform future steps.

Just as it is important to use last year’s data for this year’s benefit, take time to look over your data after the holidays. Is there a different message that your data is telling you? Time gives us a new perspective and by incorporating regular analysis of data it helps us more effectively run our business. Are you including your employees in these discussions? Innovation comes from space to understand trends and, in turn, drive where the trends are headed.  

Keep Your Gas Tank Full, Check Your Personal Tank

During the winter, condensation can build up in the gas tank leading to frozen fuel lines when the temperature gets colder. Many recommend keeping your gas tank fuller than usual in order to avoid this. During November and December, checking your gas tank isn’t the only tank you should look into. Readying the people side of your business is only possible as a leader to be ready yourself! How is your tank? Have you been burning the midnight oil in preparation for this season? Consider

what it takes to be on your A-game, then do it. Self-care can easily fall down the priority list yet, without it, it can have impact on your ability to get the rest of your list completed.

Self-Care comes in all shapes and sizes. With the flurry of activity the next few months it is very easy to not listen to your body. Take a moment each day to check in with yourself, listen to your breath, re-ground in your space. While taking a quick walk isn’t always the most appealing, it is worth bundling up and getting a dose of Vitamin D. Plus, some fresh air always does wonders for clearing the mind. What does self-care look like for you? How can you prioritize it? The people side of your business needs a strong leader during this time, so keep filling up your tank!

The winter comes around every year as we ready ourselves for change. With the anticipation of boosting sales, getting all of our holiday shopping done, and everything in between, it is easy to forget about the readiness of the people side of your business. With a strong foundation of communication, incentives, and procedures you and your business will seamlessly get through the holiday season and drive into 2019 without a hitch. Oh yeah, if you haven’t done any of the above for your car, add that to the list too!