If you own or manage a retail store, then Black Friday is one of the most polarizing events that you need to face head on every year. You love it because your store is going to, presumably, make a lot of money. On the flipside, you hate it because of all of the stress and frustration it causes for you and your employees.
But to be fair, the employees have it a lot worse than you do. Sure, you will be putting in extra time getting everything ready for Black Friday, but the employees are the ones who are on the front lines dealing with the madness all day.
Here are some basic things that you need to do as an employer to help your employees get through Black Friday safely and without losing their minds. Most importantly, following these tips is the best way to get through this hellish retail event while keep your employees happy and also showing them that you care.
Pay Overtime, Every Time
Most companies that are big on Black Friday, especially retailers, are not really required by law to pay employees for overtime. Employees working on Thanksgiving technically don’t have to be paid extra for working a holiday, because holiday’s are considered regular working days for most retailers.
The fact is that you legally probably don’t have to give your employees extra money for working Black Friday, but it really is the right thing to do. Working Black Friday usually requires them to go above and beyond and perform irregular amounts of work.
This type of dedication needs to be rewarded. Plus, if you tell them ahead of time that they are going to get paid extra, this will probably motivate your employees to do a better job.
At the end of the day, it’s the right thing to do, and your employees will greatly appreciate it.
Ensure Worker Safety
Safety issues on Black Friday are no joke. Even if you are a small business and aren’t expecting stampedes like the people at Wal-Mart anticipate to have every year, you still need to make sure that no one is going to get hurt.
A good tip is to have someone working as a supervisor. This person should be constantly updated on what’s going on by your employees and he or she should have detailed knowledge of safety regulations and procedures.
If you have the room in your budget and you think it will help, hire security guards to work that day. Tell your employees to dress comfortably, wear comfortable and safe shoes, and to make sure that they are eating and staying hydrated throughout the day.
It’s important to check in constantly with your employees to monitor the safety situation and make sure that everyone is doing alright.
Schedule Enough Employees
Black Friday is hectic, and this means that your employees are probably going to need more frequent and longer breaks. Make sure you have enough staff scheduled to work so that everyone can take the time they need to recuperate while working.
As a small business owner or manager you’re always looking to cut costs, but Black Friday is not the time to do that. You need to invest in your staff on this day in order to ensure that you have a successful retail day and that everything runs smoothly.
Hold a “Dress Rehearsal”
Put in some extra time and hold a dress rehearsal the night before. Keep your staff late and discuss everything they are going to need to know about working Black Friday.
Make sure that everyone is on the same page. Go over who is working what shifts, when people will be able to take breaks, how customers are going to be let into the store, how to handle customer complaints, and everything else they might need to know.
Also, make sure to field questions from your staff and answer them as thoroughly as possible. Both you and your staff will be able to sleep better, even if you’re only going to sleep a couple hours, knowing that you are fully prepared to tackle the challenges of Black Friday head on.
Be Present and Available
Sure, you’ve done all of the important things ahead of time. You’ve made sure that everyone knows what to expect, you’ve scheduled enough people to work, and prepared your employees for Black Friday.
But that still does not mean that you should be missing in action that day. Coming in to work first and staying until the end is your obligation as a manager. This shows your team that you are one of them and that you are all in this together.
You should be there not only to offer emotional support, you can provide technical support as well. Customers will complain to your staff about deals they misunderstood, coupons they didn’t read well, and a whole host of other things.
It helps your staff out to know that you are there to field these questions and take some of the burden of complex Black Friday customer relations off of their shoulders.