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The Heart of Hospitality: Supporting Employees During the Festive Season

Christmas is a particularly lucrative time for hospitality businesses as many people flock to bars, pubs, and restaurants to celebrate this time of year. While businesses are fully engaged in the joyous spirit of the party season, it is equally important to consider and address the needs of their employees.

In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of prioritizing employees’ needs whilst also trying to satisfy each customer’s expectations.

Why is it important to address employees’ needs?

While meeting the expectations of customers, especially those celebrating Christmas with friends and family, is vital, it is equally crucial to prioritize the well-being of your employees during this festive season. Addressing the needs of your staff plays a significant role in both employment retention and customer satisfaction, as a content and happy team contributes to excellent service.

Research on employment retention rates in the UK's hospitality sector indicates that employers could enhance efforts to keep their staff content for a more efficient team. According to a survey conducted by Francis Clarke, ‘[a]round 30% of hospitality employees leave within the first 90 daysof their job because it does not meet their initial expectations’ ( This data underscores the importance of considering employee expectations, especially when onboarding, as neglecting this aspect can be particularly detrimental during the bustling festive period.

If you anticipate hiring additional staff for the holiday season, it is advisable to revaluate your approach as an employer to foster team retention and ensure a seamlessly operational Christmas period.

How can you meet employees’ expectations and needs?

Incentives and bonuses

Consider offering holiday bonuses or incentives to recognize and reward employees for their hard work and dedication during the festive season. This could be a free staff drink at the end of the shift for those who manage to upsell a particular menu item.

Flexible scheduling

Implement flexible scheduling options to accommodate employees' personal commitments and preferences during the holiday season.

Clear communication

Keep communication channels open and transparent. Clearly communicate expectations, schedules, and any changes in advance to avoid surprises and reduce stress.

Opsyte’s ‘Bulletin Board’ feature allows managers to effectively communicate to teams of staff, as well as our option to include staff feedback questions when clocking out to give employers insight into their staff members’ thoughts and feelings from the previous shift. These features are particularly useful during the busy Christmas period as they quickly provide actionable data about employees’ needs.

Recognition and appreciation

Express gratitude to employees with verbal recognition, thank-you notes, or small tokens. Recognize the challenges they face during busy periods. Consider giving out free drink tokens as a way to thank a staff member for their exceptional performance during a shift or providing an extended break to those who put in extra effort.

Provide additional support

Offer additional support where possible, such as bringing in temporary staff to lighten the workload or providing extra resources to manage increased demand.

Employee well-being initiatives

Implement initiatives focused on employee well-being, such as providing healthy snacks, wellness programs, or stress-relief activities to help manage holiday stress.

For particularly busy days during the Christmas period, consider providing an array of snacks within a communal area for you team of staff to help boost their energy and bring everyone together during a bustling shift.

Time off requests

Be flexible with time-off requests and try to accommodate employees' preferences as much as possible. Allow them to spend quality time with their families during the holiday season.

Provide training and resources

Ensure that employees are adequately trained to handle the increased demands during the holiday season. Providing additional resources or support can also contribute to a smoother workflow.

Fair distribution of tasks

Avoid overburdening specific individuals. Distribute tasks fairly to prevent burnout and maintain a balanced workload.

Employee assistance programmes

Offer access to Employee Assistance Programs to provide support for any personal or work-related challenges employees may face during the holiday season.


Remember, a combination of these strategies tailored to the specific needs and dynamics of your team can contribute to a positive work environment and enhance staff retention during the demanding holiday season in the hospitality sector.






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