Major retailers Walmart and Target did not open their brick-and-mortar retail stores last week on the major U.S. holiday Thanksgiving Day.
Retailers began opening stores on Thanksgiving a decade ago, in an effort to kick-off Black Friday sales a day early and create a holiday rush after the turkey feast. Many did so to compete with the massive online retailer Amazon.com.
However, big retailers suffered blowback by forcing millions of people to work on a family holiday. Critics have argued that workers should be at home with their families on Thanksgiving instead.
“What started as a temporary measure in 2020 driven by the pandemic is now our new standard,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a note to employees. Cornell said he made the policy permanent after visiting Target stores last week in New York and New Jersey, where workers told him they were glad they could stay home on Thanksgiving.
Jill, What Can I Do? Put yourself in your employee’s shoes and demonstrate empathy. If you would not want to work on a major holiday, chances are your employees wouldn’t either. Additionally, consider communicating to employees that they can stop work (with business needs dictating) at Noon the day before a major holiday. I did this as a manager, and know my employees felt cared for and appreciated, which increases employee engagement. As I always say, it’s not rocket science. Treat people with respect and they will give you their all.