Motivating your staff during peak trading periods



Christmas is, for most businesses, their busiest period. Either with clients trying to get projects completed before they shut down for Christmas or retailers seeing increased sales in the run up to the festive period.

How can businesses make the most of increase in trading? Generating interest and motivation using an employee incentive is a good way to drive performance but where do you start?

Generate interest early

Build hype and interest as early as possible. A corporate event such as a managerial conference or internal trade show can highlight the need for a strong performance, and even highlight the offers and products that a business will rely on to improve and increase sales during the festive period.

Consider using the event as a platform for launching a sales incentive, a drive to achieve previously unseen levels of performance, but with a major prize or reward at stake which stores and staff can rally behind.

If the event is only available to management take steps to ensure that they then pass the key takeaways and key messaging onto other staff. The crucial part is to ensure everyone is invested and motivated in doing well during peak trading periods.

Chart performance

During the peak period, even if there isn’t a major incentive, it is wise to track performance, either on a store or individual staff level.

You can see how your team is performing, look at the targets you have, KPIs you need to meet and see how you are performing.

This is crucial to motivating staff, they can either see that they are doing well and be encouraged to continue, or they can see where improvements need to be made and be driven to achieve goals.

The key to this is to set goals which are manageable and reasonable, not only so staff don’t feel like they are working towards an unattainable goal but they also get the morale boost from reaching goals frequently, allowing your team to maintain momentum.

Identify strengths and weaknesses

Tracking performance allows you to chart and identify areas of particular strength and weakness.

This allows you to position staff in ways that allow them to capitalise on their strengths, for example in a retail environment where everyone pitches in across multiple departments. You might identify that certain staff are better at selling specific products than others, or others are better at working through a delivery and keeping the store stocked and effective.

In the run up to peak trading periods identifying the strengths of staff in this way, then positioning them in ways that let them make the absolute most of their skills is a great way to encourage consistent performance and make a tangible difference to your success during busy periods. Consistently doing well is a great way to motivate staff, not only do they feel like part of a team but they will continue to want to do well to help the overall success of the group.


If through tracking targets you identify that staff are consistently falling short in some areas, such as closing particular types of sales, or neglecting key elements of customer service then it you should definitely consider additional training.

Prior to peak trading periods it is always worth giving staff a refresher course on the fundamentals of their role anyway, just to ensure they work their most effectively.

Tracking lets you identify areas for individual improvement, this might require one on one training or it might be something that all your staff need to be involved in.

Demonstrating that you care about their performance and development can inspire staff, much like playing to their strengths, helping them work on their weaknesses can motivate them to work harder to help the overall success of your team.


Tracking targets is all well and good but your staff need something to work towards. Rewards as a part of an incentive are great as an overall goal, but over time, and in the hustle and bustle of a busy period the focus on the incentive can wane in the face of simply trying to do your job effectively.

Smaller rewards, issues to best performing staff on a shift, or each week are a great way to maintain the interest and hype around the incentive. Driving motivation and keeping staff at least in part, aware and focused on their goal.

Keeping staff engaged and interested takes a lot of time and effort, but focussing on building skill and working towards achievable goals which build to something bigger can provide focus and be immensely helpful at keeping staff task focussed during more chaotic and busy trading periods.


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