Navigate the Stress of Holiday Scheduling

Many managers and owners despise the task of scheduling, but during the holiday season this hate-fire burns more brightly than any other time during the year. Holiday scheduling can absolutely be a stressful nightmare! As a leader, you want to balance the desire to make your employees happy by giving them time off for important events and the need for plenty of staff during this peak time. Here is how you can successfully navigate holiday scheduling without the stress.

Interview Staff on Their Schedules

Some staff will want to take some time off during the holiday season while others will be ready to pick up a bunch of extra shifts. The first thing you need to do is interview every employee about their holiday schedule. This will give you a roadmap to start planning ahead and find out where gaps need to be filled. During this interview, be sure to tell your employee that you hope to be as flexible as possible with their needs.

Offer Incentives for Tough Shifts

There are going to be some shifts during the holidays that employees will not want to work. While it is difficult to find enough coverage for these days, you can increase your chances of being fully staffed by offering incentives. Award a bonus, a paid shift off, or even something as simple as gift cards to employees who fill the tough shifts.

Give Employees a Break

Of course every manager wants their all-star team up to bat during the peak sales time of the year. But overscheduling your best staff will lead to burnout and disgruntled employees. There are two simple ways to put your best staff forward without wearing them down.

First, do not back-to-back schedule employees. Each employee should have at least ten hours between their shifts. Scheduling someone to close one night and then open the next day is not going to make that staff member friendly and ready to serve customers.

Second, give your best staff members leadership opportunities leading up to the busy holiday season. Ask if they want to train team members on how they do the job. Not only will this help your best employees prepare for industry growth, but it will bring the rest of your staff to the same all-star level that will help you feel confident scheduling them during busy times.

Explain Your Strategy to Employees

Now that you have a strategy in place for easy scheduling that ensures you will have plenty of staff and your employees will be happy, explain it to them. When your staff understands your reasoning behind scheduling, they will be more receptive to taking shifts.

Scheduling during the holidays is not easy, but with some preparation and utilizing tools to automate the process, your holiday season will be infinitely less stressful.

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Matt Thompson

CEO of ShiftNote
Matt has let his lifelong passion of food and people lead him to 15 amazing years as a restaurant manager and another 9 years working as a Director with a major food service distributor. He has channeled this passion to help create and run ShiftNote. When he's not dominating the food service industry, he's spending time with his 4 children and cheering on the Tigers as a Mizzou Alumni.