The build up to Christmas brings a whole host of challenges.
Meeting increased demand, scheduling for longer operating hours and working around staff holidays can leave business owners fretting over how they are going to reach their targets during the festive period.
To accommodate the holiday rush many companies turn to seasonal recruitment, hiring temporary or extra part-time staff to see the business through to the New Year.
However, recruiting temporary staff has its ups and downs and can be difficult to manage. Short time frames and the pressure to perform often leads to weak screening of potential employees, meaning inexperienced or incapable workers often get the job.
The good news is careful planning and preparation can help you overcome these challenges.
Here are our top strategies to help you survive the Christmas period and enable you to make a success of this peak time.
START THE PROCESS EARLY
Some companies start recruiting for Christmas up to 6 months in advance, giving themselves ample time to identify, recruit and train new staff members.
It makes good business sense to plan ahead in this way. Hiring as early as possible gives you the chance to choose the strongest candidates, carry out any necessary reference checks, train them to do the job properly, and integrate them into your company’s culture.
Employees who have been properly recruited and train will also have the potential for long-term employment if required.
RECRUIT PEOPLE WHO REFLECT YOUR BRAND
It’s important to remember that most of the staff you hire during the Christmas period will come into direct contact with your customers. Your new recruits will be a representative for your entire company, and therefore need to reflect your business’s brand image and culture.
Experience isn’t everything. A positive attitude and willingness to learn is far more important for seasonal recruits. Customers won’t excuse poor service just because it was given by a temporary member of staff.
Invest in processes to support new recruits; check they have the right attitude and necessary skills for the role, then give them the training to do well in all aspects of the job. Neglecting these areas can lead to a poor customer experience, damaging your reputation at a crucial time of year.
TAP INTO YOUR EXISTING RESOURCE POOL
It can be tempting for companies to turn to recruitment agencies when faced with the demands of the Christmas season. While this can be a good option for some businesses, it can also be an expensive option.
Instead, why not use your existing resource pools? Approach staff who have worked for you as temporary staff in the past, or friends and family members of your current employees. Both of these are cost effective and tend to produce reliable solutions.
Alternatively, you could consider approaching people who you know will be interested in seasonal work, such as students or new graduates. Most students will be grateful for the opportunity and they have the added benefit of being able to work flexible hours.
INCENTIVISE YOUR STAFF
One of the main things that seasonal recruiters get wrong is that they treat their temporary staff differently to their full-time staff. Treating everyone the same can have a positive impact on your brand, as your temporary employees will be motivated to do the job well, providing a good customer service at one of the busiest times of year.
To do this you could consider offering the same bonuses for all staff, offering all employees discounts on your products and providing the same training and development opportunities.
GET A GOOD PARTNER
The challenges don’t stop once you’ve got the staff in place. Your next challenge will be creating schedules for your increased number of employees, working around your current staff’s annual leave, communicating the inevitable last minute shift changes and making sure all your employees know what they’re doing.
Most companies find this difficult at the best of times, but doing it over the heightened Christmas period can be even more daunting. Get yourself a good partner to help you tackle the festive season head on. The right workforce management software will help you to organize your scheduling, staffing and time reporting efficiently and easily.