Employers Should Tune Up Their Holiday Playlists


by Colleen Fahey

I’ve written previously about how employee morale has a direct effect on the customer experience. Right now this couldn’t be more important. Especially this year with prevalent worker shortage and burnout, it’s important for companies to keep in mind the employee experience. 

One simple, but beneficial, way for employers to be considerate of their staff is to be attentive to  in-store holiday playlists. 

First and foremost, ask your employees what they think! Here are a few opinions I’ve heard: 

  • “It’s on a loop. I hear the same song over and over. I even know some songs that I wish I didn’t because they play so often.”
  • “They play Christmas music in late October, even before Halloween. And the clients say, ‘Isn’t it a little early?’ Some of the carols may be religious. And a lot of our clients are Jewish, they don’t like it. It’s too early and, then, the people who enjoy the carols are not in the store yet.”
  • “They think the retailer is trying to force it on them. Like, ‘You’ve got to buy Christmas products now!’ They’re not thinking of it for enjoyment, it’s just a marketing strategy to get people to buy presents early.”

So, what are some ways to improve holiday playlists?

  • Make sure the playlist is not too short — it needs to be long enough so that it doesn’t feel repetitive: a good rule-of-thumb is no fewer than 60 hours of music per quarter, refreshing 20-30 songs each month
  • Consider refreshing even more songs during this intense period of heavy crowds and long hours, or refresh them every couple of weeks
  • Expand the playlist to be more inclusive of different genres 
  • Add more fresh and creative versions of the holiday classics
  • Dayparting: be sensitive to staff moods at different times of day, let the music be calmer in the mornings and more energetic in the afternoons – both the staff and the customers will appreciate it

We know that customer experience affects sales (happy customers spend about 10% more), add to that, the fact that happy employees result in happier customers – and you get a clear case for improving the environment for your staff.   

Music is the quickest route to our emotions. ‘Tis the season to choose wisely.

Photo by Mert Kahveci on Unsplash