Have you ever stopped and thought about how Santa finds his workforce? And how did he get them onboard? Christmas is, after all, a time when Santa is extremely efficient but there is a lot of work behind the scenes before he becomes a delivery man once a year!
So who do we thank for that? Well, the elves of course. If any one of them fails to meet their toy quota, well some poor children would be terribly upset. We had a bit of a chat with Santa recently, and here are some of his top tips that you can borrow from the big man himself!
Get in Early!
Santa may have a seasonal business, but if he tried to bring all his new Elves on in November, Christmas would be a disaster! You better believe that the planning for next year starts as soon as Christmas is over. The world’s population grows every year and that means the workforce is in continuous growth. He’s smart, he’s done this before. Santa knows he needs to bring in the new recruits gradually, assign them to the top managers and make sure that they’re trained up before the real pressure hits.
Choose Great Leaders.
Rudolf has been Santa’s right-hand, umm, reindeer for quite a while now. He’s a leader. He’s been there, seen it and done it. Santa knows that he can lean on Rudolf, and the red-nosed wonder is going to respond. He’ll light the way and he’ll drag that team round the whole world, across every rooftop, before the kids wake up. That is a seriously Herculean task, but if you want to really push your business then you need to forget about the good and go for the great. Hire people that are better than you.
Hire people that can do things you cannot even dream of. Don’t be intimidated by them, embrace them and then focus on uniting their disparate, often awkward personalities. Rudolph took a lot of stick from his peers for his bright red nose. But one year, when the snow drove down and Christmas was falling apart, Rudolph and his red nose saved the day. So, don’t hire the herd. Look for your Rudolph!
Trust your Managers
The whole Santa Clause Corporation is a massive enterprise with billions of ‘customers’ around the world. That is a LOT of pressure for just one man. So yes, Santa Claus is the CEO, but he has to back off and let the department heads do their thing. He has to get his own prep right and he can’t do that if he’s fussing over every hire, every bulk buy and every new toy to hit the line. Respect the people you’ve hired, let them get on with it and give them the freedom to make choices. If they’re not good enough, you’ll find out in the end. If you micromanage them, you may never know.
Santa is the boss, there’s no doubt about that. But all the Elves want to work for him because he is, fundamentally, a friendly and approachable person. That’s his whole thing; being jolly and kind. That is an absolutely killer employer brand. The Elves could easily work on stage in a panto or head to warmer climates and make a living in the movies. But no, they all want to hit the North Pole, one of the most inhospitable places on Earth, and work in a toy factory.
We reckon that’s because of the way Santa carries himself, and the cause he represents. It’s a feelgood job for a feelgood person. You obviously can’t bring the spirit of Christmas into the office every day and sometimes you have to be the bad guy. But don’t be the Grinch. Don’t do it all the time. Be the person that lights up the office with an infectious smile and real enthusiasm. Lead by example and be the boss you would want to work for.
Demand the Impossible but Lead the Way
Santa Claus covers the length and breadth of this Earth in the space of a night. He launches himself down chimneys, he sprints across rooftops and he even gets into secure apartments. You could say he’s an intruder and should be in jail. But you cannot doubt his commitment and can-do attitude. Seriously, how can the Elves complain about working conditions, or impossible targets, when the leader sets that kind of example? When a new recruit joins your company, show them what you expect from them.
Don’t dictate, demonstrate. If you’re the first in to the office and the last to leave; if there are tales floating round the company of the amazing things you have achieved, the crazy deals you’ve pulled off and the way you dragged the company forward, then that is the standard they have to live up to. Make your staff do as you do, not as you say.
Yes, it’s a bit crazy (but also a bit of fun), however, there are lessons you can learn from Santa Claus when it comes to your recruitment and your management style. Hire standout people, trust them to do their thing and focus on being a figurehead and a shining light. Merry Christmas!