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Responsible business practices in action over the festive break

08 December, 2006

The next few weeks will be extremely busy for most businesses in the lead up to Christmas, according to Australian Business Limited.

As the calendar year draws to a close, your business is no doubt preparing for a rush of year-end activities. Follow the reminders in this checklist to ensure the next few weeks are as hassle free as possible and all commitments are met.

Your staff

If you haven't already done so, don't forget to organise your staff Christmas party. Good venues book out fast. Let your staff know what is planned, when and where. This gives them time to prepare, particularly if the party is themed, and the anticipation of a good time can act as a motivator in what can often be a stressful few weeks preceding Christmas.

Consider staffing levels. If December is likely to be a peak month for your business, now is the time to consider the options for recruiting casual employees.

If rosters are needed develop them now and get staff involved as early as possible so there are no disappointments and you are not left in the lurch.  If appropriate assign contingency staff.

Don't be a Scrooge. Find some way of thanking each and every member of your staff for the work they have done for the business throughout the year. They all contributed in some measure to your business success this year. You may choose to do it in a fun way with amusing employee awards and novelty gifts handed out at your end of year party, or with a bonus and a thank you letter but whatever you choose show your staff that you are genuinely thankful for their efforts and support.

Forget the 'Bah humbug' attitude at this time of year! Lead by example. Your behaviours are those you want reflected in your staff.

Your customers

Be prepared for the unexpected in customer demand at this time of the year.

If your business is closing down over Christmas be sure to let your customers know now.  Don't overlook the importance of stepping up service during busy times. Ensure you take care of their needs, which might require last minute planning, changes in production, and additional work before your holiday period shut down; and let them know when you will back on deck and who to contact in case of an emergency.

Organise Christmas cards for your existing customers and for those whom you would like to be your customers. Write a personal message of thanks on the cards of your existing customers and if any of your staff deal with them, get them to also write their own personal message.

Administration

Consider carefully what really has to be done before rushing off in a flap to get everything done by 25 December. Focus your effort and that of your staff on those things that definitely have to be done. Do you have production deadlines to meet? What customer satisfaction issues require attention? Does a specific project need to be completed this year or would your staff be more productive or creative work if they addressed the work in January?

Post any important business correspondence as early as possible in the month because mail can be slowed down due to the festive rush. Use online payment facilities where possible

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