The holiday season can be the busiest time of year for supply chain companies. USPS alone delivers nearly 16 billion packages and pieces of mail during the holidays. With e-commerce continuing to grow, logistics professionals can expect these peak seasons to become increasingly busy.
This skyrocketing demand puts increased pressure on the workforce. Supply chains often need more employees and higher productivity from their current workers to remain efficient through the season. As labor shortages continue to plague the industry, that can be a challenge.
Logistics businesses need ways to attract new workers or incentivize current ones to be productive or work longer hours. Here are eight such incentives that could prove effective during the holiday season.
1. Cash Bonuses
One of the most effective incentives is also the most straightforward. Money is a powerful motivator at any time of year, but during the holidays, when workers are likely spending more, it may be even more enticing. According to one survey, 44% of employees quit to earn more money elsewhere, so monetary incentives can convince them to stay through the holidays.
Supply chain companies can take multiple routes to this end. The most straightforward is to increase hourly wages during peak seasons, but that’s not the only option. Businesses can also offer a one-time holiday bonus, tiered rewards for shifts taken, or other financial incentives. The holiday shopping peak may help offset these costs, too.
2. Extra Time Off
A similar option is to give employees who work extra during the holiday season additional time off. Providing days away from work at another time of year makes up for the time they put in around the holidays. These incentives can also follow a tier system, with workers earning more time off as they work more holiday hours or reach new productivity goals.
Like cash incentives, these rewards can take several forms. One option is to give workers an extra paid vacation day or two to use at their discretion. Another is to increase their number of sick days, or companies could give workers more flex time.
This last option may be the most effective. Studies show that 82% of employees today would be more loyal if they had flexible work options.
3. Discounts at Local Establishments
One more unique alternative is to offer gift cards or discounts at businesses in the area. Many businesses have programs where employers can provide discounts or free services to their employees, and if that’s not available, gift cards likely are. These incentives are similar to cash bonuses but offer a specific chance for workers to try something new or visit their favorite place.
For example, employers could give employees working overtime a complimentary month’s gym membership. As workers gear up for their New Year’s resolutions, they may appreciate the opportunity. Other items, like gift cards for local businesses, can help them complete their holiday shopping or treat themselves.
4. Holiday Parties
Supply chain organizations could also embrace the holiday spirit and throw a party for their employees. This time to unwind and have fun with co-workers can help mitigate the stress of working during this season, motivating employees to push through it. Social events also make excellent incentives because a sense of community can improve worker satisfaction and productivity.
Parties should include food, drinks, games, and if employees would be interested, optional gift exchanges. Employers can even find alternatives to the classic Christmas turkey to keep things fresh and appeal to more people.
5. New Equipment
Sometimes, holiday incentives can lead to longer-term benefits for employers. One such example is to provide new workplace equipment if enough employees work through the holidays or reach a pre-defined productivity goal. This could include more comfortable office chairs, easier-to-handle pallet jacks, elevators to provide a way around stairs, or similar upgrades.
These new tools will boost productivity in the long run, so they help employers too. Workers will appreciate them because they make their jobs easier. While this option may not be as enticing to employees, it can still be effective, and it offers a win-win scenario.
To determine what upgrades will be the most enticing, employers should listen to their workers’ complaints. If there are any consistent issues that new equipment can solve, that should be the prize.
6. Charitable Donations
Around this time of year, employees may feel more charitable, thanks to the holiday spirit. That gives employers another less conventional but effective incentive: charitable giving. Instead of rewarding workers directly, businesses can make donations in their name to the charity of their choice.
Companies can either ask individual workers where they’d like donations to go or poll the workforce. In either case, the business will end up giving to a cause that employees care about in return for their hard work. Knowing they’re making a profound difference can give employees the motivation they need to work through the holidays.
7. Professional Development Opportunities
One of the most common reasons employees feel dissatisfied with and leave a position is a lack of career development opportunities. In fact, 20% of workers who quit in 2019 did so for professional development reasons. Offering opportunities for employees to advance their careers could have the opposite effect.
As a reward for working through the holidays, supply chain organizations could provide a choice of development paths. Workers could take complimentary classes in an area, attend training seminars, or work briefly in another department. Employees who long for more options in their careers will be motivated to push through the holiday season for these incentives.
8. Public Recognition
Sometimes, all an employee needs to feel motivated is recognition for a job well done. Reports show that nearly half of all Americans feel lonelier now than usual, so knowing that someone else recognizes and appreciates them can go a long way.
Supply chain companies can offer recognition-related incentives in several ways. One option is to create a friendly competition where top-performing employees during the holiday peak receive public recognition and a place on a “wall of fame.” Alternatively, employers could write handwritten notes of appreciation to all workers.
This reward pairs nicely with others, too. Employers could recognize exceptional workers in front of their peers at holiday parties or reward top performers with vacation days or material prizes.
Motivate Employees This Holiday Season
It can be challenging to keep workers motivated through the holidays, but it’s not impossible. Any of these eight ideas, or a mixture of several, could push employees to perform at their best through this annual peak.
As labor shortages continue and e-commerce rises, holiday motivation becomes increasingly crucial. Regardless of the specifics, every supply chain organization should consider rewarding their employees around this time of year.