Retailers Look to Boost PR by Staying Closed on Black Friday


Time to chill out and warm up. As Black Friday approaches, Costco, Nordstrom, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club, among other big brands, have decided to buck the door-busting sales trend and give workers time off to enjoy the holiday with their families.

While retailers disagree on whether to celebrate or cancel Black Friday, other groups are looking to shift the focus of the beginning of the holiday season away from shopping and toward charitable giving.

Last year, for example, the United Nations Foundation launched a campaign called “Giving Tuesday,” which provides an opening day for the giving season much the same way Black Friday opens the holiday shopping season.

Giving Tuesday, which falls on December 3, 2013, has expanded to include more than 6,500 companies that plan to use the day to activate employees and customers around the companies’ various causes.

Some notable Giving Tuesday efforts include Microsoft’s offer to provide a 1:1 matching donation for gifts to the Giving Heroes Fund and eBay Inc.’s plan to encourage donors to use PayPal to give to their favorite charities by adding the cost of 12 stamps ($5.52) to any charitable donation made on December 3.

Then there’s Costco, which is giving its employees a day off on Thanksgiving as a way to improve employee enthusiasm.

With all these moves in mind here are some tips on how employers can improve worker morale through communication, compliments of Tiffany Bond, media-relations specialist for Imagine Communications.

  • Be prepared to respectfully listen to whatever an employee has to say without being defensive or judgmental.
  • Be accepting of all ideas. Many times employees want to be heard, even if their suggestions won’t necessarily be put into practice. A concept may be able to be used elsewhere, at another time or in relation to something else in another department. Brilliant ideas sometimes come from the most unexpected places.
  • Be willing to make yourself available sooner rather than later if an employee has something important he or she wants to discuss. You may end up staying later or coming in earlier to make this happen, but doing so will make your employee feel valued and more invested in you.
  • Avoid the impulse to provide a quick fix. Instead, ask questions and encourage the employee to discover his or her own solution, thereby developing a capacity for creative problem solving.

For more tips on employee communications, order a copy of PR News' Employee Communications Guidebook.

Follow Brian Greene: @bwilliamgreene