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How to Manage Your Employees During the Holidays

The holidays. A time for romance, sharing, caring, elves…oh wait…this is manufacturing? How about scheduling conflicts, stressed employees, and slowed production.

 

And if personal shopping stress or turkey brain aren’t slowing your team down, it could be the anticipation of that sweet holiday time off.

 

This time of year, employee productivity needs a boost. With the proper incentives, organization, and time off accommodations, your manufacturing team will be buzzing. Busy bees.

 
 

How to Motivate Manufacturing Employees

 

Aside from good pay, keep employees productive and enthusiastic with incentives. Employee incentives go a long way when it comes to everyday tasks. They refresh their perhaps repetitive, mundane jobs and add a little flavor. Unless you run the most interesting manufacturing business ever, in which case, I totally take that back.

 

Your first step is to set goals and expectations. Regulated expectations work as a basic motivator. If an employee doesn’t meet the expected standard of work, the worst discipline is dealing with it. It takes a mental toll, especially if others are keeping up with their workloads. No one wants to fall behind. It’s embarrassing. Keep your team in the know of shifting expectations, and provide constant reminders of company goals.

 

You can further the effects of set standards by raising them and introducing a friendly competition between team members. If you up the weekly goal and give rewards for exceptional work, you’ll see a difference in the attitudes of your team and the load each worker takes on.

 

Don’t underestimate the power of acknowledgment. Many employees will go over and above, but if they feel their efforts are overlooked, they’re likely to feel discouraged.

 

The hype surrounding these competitions dies quickly, so only roll this method out during times of lull to get things moving. The holidays are a great time to exercise this workplace attitude adjustment and to refocus your team.

 

Recognition comes natural to some team leaders, and is neglected by others. Don’t underestimate the power of acknowledgment. Many employees will go over and above, but if they feel their efforts are overlooked, they’re likely to feel discouraged. A few good words could motivate manufacturing employees to work harder. Without acknowledgement, you’re encouraging the opposite.

 

Make a note of hard work, and then make it public. Announce good work to set an example and to motivate employee productivity.

 
 

Managing Employee Time Off Requests

 

Also known as “juggling knives set on fire.” Not exactly something you can get your PhD in. Maybe you’ve been dreading this responsibility. But it’s yours for a reason. And it requires planning, discretion, flexibility, and patience.

 

Managing employee holiday time off requests is a developed skill that proves to be an annual challenge. Don’t you just love tradition? Take advantage of the time you have to prepare for book offs. I mean the entire year. You absolutely cannot afford to handle all of your employees’ requests at the last minute.

 

First come, first serve. Give employees ample information and time when it comes to booking their holiday requests. Getting the heavy planners out of the way first will reduce holiday stress. Then, set a deadline for requests.

 

Remind your employees that “requests” are called so for a reason and that no guarantees can be made. Your employees will appreciate that you show an effort in making requests work. And if you’re proactive enough, you probably won’t have to break too many hearts.

 

Discuss your policy on vacation requests with each of your employees during the hiring process. Make sure to remind them through the year.

 

A good way to show fairness and consideration is to provide employees with a ranking sheet on which they indicate their preferred days off of all major winter holidays. Including Christmas Eve, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Years Eve, and New Years Day, ask employees to rank their most (1) to least desired days (5). This can make your job easier in organizing who works when. It guarantees hours for those who want to work, and keeps things fair.

 

To avoid any discrepancies when the time comes for managing employee time off requests, make sure everyone is well informed well in advance of the process and their responsibilities when booking off time. Discuss your policy on vacation requests with each of your employees during the hiring process. Make sure to remind them through the year. And lastly, follow up.

 

For special cases, work with employees directly. Don’t rely on pen and paper requests. Solid communication will save you and your scheduling process from angry, pitchfork wielding mobs (as well as sick calls, miscommunications, employee turnover, etc).

 

Aside from first come, first serve, you can introduce vacation slots as rewards for hard work. For some, there may be no greater reward than cutting the line for guaranteed time off.

 
 

Effective Management and Organization

 

If you’re not shutting down for the holiday season, you may be considering hiring extra staff. Regardless of individual vacation times, the world keeps on spinning. Some seasonal relief could help fill in any gaps, as well as give you a head start on talent for future hiring sprees.

 

Consider that for many people, the holidays are crucial times for raking in some additional hours. Therefore, knowing your team’s holiday plans well in advance is very necessary.

 

And what happens when weathered employees don’t get the hours they expect? They find them elsewhere.

 

Hiring seasonal staff can be great for filling up your schedule, but if you’re seasonal preparation is misguided, your employees will suffer for hours they need and deserve.

 

And what happens when weathered employees don’t get the hours they expect? They find them elsewhere.

 

Of course, not all employees can be so easily substituted. You need to consider who needs to be there to make sure certain jobs get done.

 

Cutting down on any gray areas with scheduling will save you a couple gray hairs and keep your employees positive and productive this holiday season.

 

There are options for ensuring coverage that can reduce holiday stress. If your team is well motivated and focused and your schedule is solid and organized, you’re on the right track. Managing your employees will be a lot easier this holiday season.

 

Those blizzards that block the roads, making them late? Well, you’re on your own there.