Black Friday can easily be something that is dreaded by your employees, or looked forward to by your excited staff. You just have to make sure you are taking the right steps before and during the big day so that the day isn’t as scary as the media makes it out to be.

We know it’s the busiest shopping day of the year and that the crowds can be a little intimidating. But, if your employees are upbeat, determined and passionate you can both get through the day as seamlessly as possible. Preparing your staff for Black Friday is one of those things that you should be thinking about sooner, rather than later.

Set clear expectations

There’s a good chance that your employees have been thinking about Black Friday just as much as you have. You need to start talking to them early about the big day so they can prepare. It’s best to give everyone their Black Friday schedule even earlier than you give out the normal weekly shifts. Some will be working long and strange hours and will need as much notice as possible to make arrangements for the day.

Turn it into a contest

With the holiday season coming up, there’s a pretty good possibility that your employees will be looking for ways to make some extra money or earn gifts for their family and friends. Keep this in mind when thinking about ways to motivate employees.

We’ve heard from managers who make a contest out of the day. For example, the department with the most amount of deals sold will win money. Or, the employee who gets the most positive feedback from customers wins a gaming system. This will not only boost the sales, but will also increase the overall energy of the staff, which will permeate throughout the store.

If banking on sales or customer feedback worries you, think about holding raffles throughout the day for all employees on staff. This can be for gift cards, shirts, technology, etc. You’ll start to notice your employees looking forward to these regular check-ins and have a positive overall attitude about the day.

This is also your chance to give specific employees some recognition. Create awards for the Black Friday MVP or the Black Friday Best Attitude. Everyone wants to feel noticed and these superlatives can go a long way in ensuring your best staff members want to stick around for the long haul.

Pump them up

You are the leader and the employees are looking to you to set the stage for the day. Before the doors open, lead the team in a cheer or get them excited with a motivational speech. Check out the video below. There’s no way that an employee could have been grumpy after this speech.

Show appreciation

Keep in mind that many of your employees have drastically cut back on their Thanksgiving holiday to work. Yes, they’re getting paid (and some stores offer overtime to those who work Black Friday), but they are still sacrificing holiday and family time to be at work. Use this as an opportunity to turn this into a second Thanksgiving with your retail family. A simple “thank you” can really go a long way.

Think about surprising the team with breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. If that’s not in your budget, have a potluck and encourage employees to bring in their favorite dishes for a Thanksgiving feast. This will make them feel appreciated (and full) but will also keep their attitude positive and motivation strong. Or, you might want to send each of them a hand-written card and gift card to your store as another way to show them you noticed how hard they worked during the day.

If you’re really feeling crazy, you might want to consider renting a fancy massage chair to give your employees’ overworked muscles a break. Or even bring in a masseuse that your employees can get back rubs from during their breaks.

What do you do to motivate employees during the holiday rush? Tweet us at @SnagajobWorks!