WADE LAW GROUP
THE LEGAL ISSUE 408-842-1688
SPREAD HOLIDAY CHEER AT WORK
THROUGH GOOD DEEDS AND KINDNESS
The holiday season is a time of festive joy and an opportunity to create lasting memories with the people closest to you. Inevitably, that includes the folks you work with every day. Only the Grinchiest of business owners keep every semblance of the holiday season from entering the office. Spreading a little cheer and creating a festive environment can help boost morale and end the calendar year on a high — but only when you go about it the right way. Unlike traditions held among your family and closest friends, there are some rules to follow for celebrating the most wonderful time of the year at work. It’s important to make sure that you don’t create distractions or allow things to get too rowdy at the office. Striking the right balance can be delicate, but it’s much easier if you remember the following suggestions. CELEBRATE INCLUSIVELY It is perfectly acceptable to put up a tree, string lights, and adorn your office with Christmas-themed decorations. Heck, you can even invite Santa to stop by if you like. That being said, the holidays should be a time of inclusion and celebration, not a time of leaving people out. If you have members of your team who celebrate holidays other than Christmas at this time of year — such as Ramadan, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa — be sure to include some nods to their personal and cultural traditions. And it’s just as crucial to ensure that you don’t force anyone to participate in activities that could make them feel uncomfortable. The workplace is not an ideal setting for, say, Nativity reenactments. Focus on aspects of the holiday season that resonate with everyone, and you’ll avoid awkward situations and unneeded controversy. GIVE MEANINGFULLY Sorry to say it, but nobody on your team is going to remember the cookie-cutter, generically messaged cards you printed off en masse. There’s no use in giving meaningless gifts to employees or colleagues out of a sense of obligation. Put some thought into it, and your staff will be thankful. If you have a small team, you can probably come up with something personalized for each employee. Gift-giving at the office shouldn’t be required, but it shouldn’t be forbidden, either. Again, the key is to create an atmosphere where people can participate in what they want to and opt out of what they don’t. A powerful way to put the
spirit of giving to good use is to partner with local charities to provide presents to children in your area who are underprivileged. There are countless organizations that do this sort of work, and it’s a way for your company to give back to the community. That’s a type of shopping even Scrooge could get on board with. DECORATE TASTEFULLY It’s cute when a kindergarten classroom features a hodgepodge of amateur holiday decorations, but it’s less charming at a place of business. You have to create rules to keep decorations to a level below outrageous, especially if you have customers visit your office. In general, it’s a good idea to mark which spaces can and can’t be decorated and set some boundaries in terms of what’s acceptable. You also need to monitor how much time decorating takes away from work. If teams want to make paper stockings at their weekly meetings, you should allow it. However, if somebody wants to spend multiple hours to really get in the spirit — time that could be spent on other tasks — don’t feel bad about asking them to clock out for it. Decorating may be within the purview of the role of office manager, but it’s certainly not what you’re paying salespeople to do. THANK PEOPLE RELENTLESSLY Gratitude is one of the core values of the holidays, making it the perfect time to express your appreciation to your staff. You should give props and share kind words year-round, but upping your efforts during the holidays will have a huge impact. For some businesses, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year. For others, it’s the slowest. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, odds are you have employees who are stretched thin and expending extra effort. Maybe they’re covering for others on vacation. Perhaps they’re juggling work and creating a memorable season for their kids. Acknowledging their presence and thanking them for all the work they’ve done this year is bound to put a smile on their faces.
THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG? WHY NURTURING EMPLOYEES AND CUSTOMERS IS THE KEY TO RETENTION
Who comes first: employees or customers? When posed this classic business question, Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher had an easy answer: employees. “If employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right,” Kelleher explained. As Kelleher knows well, employee-customer relations are a cycle — one that fuels recurring business. Engaged employees deliver service that converts to sales, a fact backed up by a Gallup report. Gallup cited a 20 percent increase in sales as a result of this process. Even as you’re courting leads, you can’t ignore your existing customers. Likewise, even (and especially) as you grow, you have to nurture your employees. The cost of losing either is too high. In the holiday rush, it’s important to not lose sight of your priorities. GET THEM HOOKED ON YOUR SERVICE. Have you ever asked a client why they return to your business? Do you think it’s because they can’t find your product or service anywhere else? Probably not. Think about the last time you returned to a restaurant. Was it because it’s the only place in town that makes amazing Thai food? Maybe, but it’s more likely that you enjoyed the welcoming host, attentive waiter, and positive experience you had there. Starbucks is a great example. Even with thick competition, they deliver consistent service and quality products to customers, whether in Oregon or London. And they do this by providing competitive wages and benefits to their
employees along with training and learning opportunities. Employees who are knowledgeable and excited about what they are offering pass their enthusiasm on to customers.
OWN UP TO MISTAKES. Even the best businesses make mistakes. When it happens, own up to it. There’s probably been a time when you put in your order at a restaurant, only to receive the wrong thing. How did the business handle it? Did they admit their mistake and offer you a new meal? How a business treats customers when things don’t
go smoothly is a good indication of how they’ll handle adversity in general, and that reaction starts with employees. Set the precedent for employees that a mistake is their opportunity to go above and beyond.
A transparent environment will make employees feel more comfortable, which
will make customers excited, rather than
apprehensive, to engage with your business again.
Duping your customers is a bad business practice, but what makes it illegal? Well, California law requires that retailers post a retail price no higher than what the product was sold at within three months prior to the ad. “Families today … are striving to get the very most they can get from an extremely hard-earned holiday shopping dollar,” said LA City Attorney Mike Feuer. “They deserve to make an informed decision.” After the suit was brought against them, the retailers all quickly moved to settle, promising to never engage in false reference pricing again. Most retailers offer discounts around the holidays to encourage shoppers to come into their stores or visit their websites. Promotions and sales are great tools in any business’s arsenal, provided they aren’t out to mislead customers. Big-box stores may try to manipulate innocent people, and it’s up to aggrieved customers to hold those corporations accountable. Nearly every year, you’ll read about a class-action lawsuit that develops in response to the shady tactics of businesses eager to secure those holiday shopping dollars. Are there great bargains to be had on Black Friday? Of course. But if something sounds too good to be true, it very well might be. Keep your eyes peeled and don’t let retailers trick you into a purchase you wouldn’t make otherwise. FAKE DISCOUNTS AND ANGRY SHOPPERS A MASSIVE BLACK FRIDAY LAWSUIT
Shoppers flock to retailers every Black Friday in hopes of securing the best deals on the year’s hottest products. There are many nasty aspects of Black Friday — the long lines, the overzealous shoppers, the limited stock of items — but phony pricing and fake sales shouldn’t be among them. But that’s exactly what happened to folks in Los Angeles during the 2016 holiday season, leading to the biggest Black Friday lawsuit in history. In December of 2016, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office sued J.C. Penney, Sears, Macy’s, and Kohl’s for a practice called “false reference pricing,” a nefarious tactic whereby retailers lie about the original price of an item to make a discount appear bigger than it actually is. For example, Sears sold a Kenmore washing machine at a “sale price” of $999.99, compared to a “regular price” of $1,179.99. The problem was the so-called sale price was actually the price that product was offered at every day. Therefore, it wasn’t actually on sale.
There’s nothing quite like the magical lights of the holiday season, and some destinations in the U.S. have perfected the craft of holiday decoration. If you’re looking to get away this December and still engage in seasonal festivities, add one of these places to your must-visit list. NEW YORK CITY’S ROCKEFELLER CENTER New York City is an iconic location for Christmas. The scene is like a Hallmark card: Ice-skating lovers whiz past miles of twinkling lights underneath an exceptionally tall and amply decorated tree. The tree is specially selected by Rockefeller Center’s landscaping crews, who scout out trees years in advance. It remains lit from November to early January, so you have plenty of time to check it out. RANCH CHRISTMAS IN JACKSON, WYOMING Jackson, Wyoming, takes its frontier culture to the next level during the Christmas season. All year, the city proudly displays four elk antler arches, but around the holidays, they are lit up with white string lights and flanked by snow. The Christmas decorations and lights surrounding the archway make for a Western- themed holiday pulled right out of a John Wayne classic. For holiday admirers looking for a unique spin, Jackson has you covered. YEARLY YULETIDE IN SANTA CLAUS, INDIANA This one’s for the Christmas lover. If you can’t make it out to Santa Claus, Indiana, this holiday season, you can still celebrate Christmas in this tiny Midwestern town GET AWAY AND BE FESTIVE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
in January, June, or even October. Embracing its unique name, the town boasts a museum, holiday shopping center, and a Christmas theme park. In a moving tribute, the town’s residents also write responses to children’s letters to Kris Kringle himself. It’s impossible to avoid holiday cheer in this town. DISNEY WORLD’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC What better place to celebrate the most magical time of the year than in the most magical place on Earth? Walt Disney World’s halls are decked to the max with a parade, gingerbread homes, strings of lights, and festive parties. Plus, costs to visit Disney World can be cheaper during the Christmas season, so keep an eye out for a vacation steal.
HOLIDAY ROAST PRIME RIB
Looking for an easy holiday roast that still feels elegant enough for the occasion? Look no further than this delicious prime rib flavored with garlic, thyme, and red wine.
4 cups beef stock
1 bone-in prime rib (6–7 pounds)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups red wine
4. Place a rack inside a roasting pan and roast prime rib for 2 hours, until medium-rare. 5. To make au jus, place roasting pan with drippings from roast over 2 burners on high. Add wine and scrape pan as liquid reduces. Add beef stock and cook until reduced by half. Finally, sprinkle in thyme. 6. Slice roast and serve topped with au jus. 3 408-842-1688
1. 30 minutes before cooking, remove roast from fridge and let sit until it reaches room temperature. 2. Heat oven to 350 F. 3. Make small slits in prime rib and stuff with slices of garlic. Liberally season with salt and pepper.
Inspired by Food Network
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WADE LAW GROUP
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Holiday Spirit at the Office
Don’t Let Retention Slide in the Holiday Rush
The Biggest Black Friday Lawsuit in History
Holiday Decoration Tours
Holiday Roast Prime Rib
How Does Santa Do It?
incentives, the amount of available labor is directly proportional to the number of elf births. On top of that, Santa has to consider the worker-to-production ratio when factoring in new employees. The number of new hires and how much they can produce has to outpace the population increase of the world. For example, if Santa has 100,000 workers, each employee needs to create at least 70,000 toys so they can supply the world’s human population. If elf births go down, then production has to increase to make up for the difference. 4. MATERIALS Since Santa can’t gather raw materials from the barren wasteland of the North Pole, he is required to import or artificially grow the necessary supplies and equipment to produce toys. The number of shipments needed would be a nearly impossible feat, so Santa would need a facility that could produce synthetic materials and greenhouses that could grow organic materials. These facilities alone would be impossible to keep hidden from explorers or satellites, so he would need shrinking capabilities via a laser, or perhaps he’d have to go underground, which is the more commonly accepted explanation. We don’t know how it happens each year, but somehow, Christmas goes off without a hitch. It’s the greatest feat in the world of business. Move over, Jeff Bezos, because Santa is coming to town! ONE COMPANY YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO RUN BUSINESS LOGISTICS OF THE NORTH POLE
If you think running your business is tough, try thinking about how Santa operates the North Pole. From least to most complex, here are the four hardest aspects of running an operation that delivers gifts to 7 billion people. 1. REAL ESTATE Finding an office space that can facilitate your business operations is a challenging undertaking for anyone. You need to provide an optimal workspace that offers room to grow. If you run a production operation like Santa’s Workshop, you also need adequate space to house your products. Just think how big the warehouses up North need to be. If you thought Nike or Google had big campuses, Santa’s must cover the entire Arctic. 2. INTERNAL COMMUNICATION A frequent business killer for most of us is probably a smooth-sailing process for Santa — surely the North Pole doesn’t have any challenges creating a positive work culture. Elves are often depicted as cheerful and consistent team players. They whistle while they work and enjoy Christmas candy, and every toy is ready by Christmas Eve. 3. LABOR Finding skilled labor in America is a challenge, but in the North Pole, it has to be even more challenging. Since Santa can’t hire new workers or offer moving
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