It seems early to be planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays already, but here's why you should think about it now...

The fall/winter season is riddled with holidays, from Chanukah and Yom Kippur to Christmas, Thanksgiving, Ramadan, and Kwanzaa. Savvy entrepreneurs know that employees are motivated to do just about anything to keep their names off of the work schedule during the holidays. If you start thinking about how to take advantage of this now, it will pay off big time between October and January.

1) Tie holiday scheduling to mid-year performance reviews.

If your employee has a terrible review, then their punishment is to work on the holidays. Maybe it will inspire the employee to look for another job.

If the review is glowing, make sure to mention that their performance has earned them a free pass for their preferred holidays.

2) Start scheduling for the holidays in July and August when the employee hasn't started planning their holiday yet. This way, your schedule will be the one they work around, instead of theirs.

3) Allow employees to share their days with each other. Here's how it works:

Employee A might not want to take a lot of time off for the holidays. Let Employee A trade an expiring flex day this year for Employee B's flex day next year. In this way, the employees who want to work over the holidays can (with the reward of more time off next year) and those that want to take a lot of time off can (with reduced vacation next year).

We all have to get a little creative. If we plan ahead and make sure we know what we want from our employees, we'll get closer to achieving our goals.

Happy Holiday Planning!