Hiring for the Holidays
It’s the last quarter of the year and many small businesses are looking to fill seasonal positions to accommodate the rush of the Holiday season. The job market and projected spending are both areas to keep an eye on as we move toward 2022’s close, but there are still some excellent ways to bolster your numbers and many advantages of hiring seasonal employees.
Make sure all the customers that come your way are taken care of and review some of our tips for hiring before the Holiday season starts!
Establish your timeline
Be considerate of your potential new hires and your business by establishing your hiring timeline now! Review your numbers from last year to determine the busiest days and weeks leading up to and following the holidays. On days you were short-staffed in previous years, hopefully, you took a mental or physical note to have more employees ready to help where you need extra support. Use this information to determine how long you’ll keep your job listings open and when you’ll need new hires to start.
Along with the typical full-time or part-time descriptors, clearly list in all of your seasonal job descriptions when the interview periods will take place, when the interview process is projected to end, and when the start dates will be for those hired. This helps avoid any miscommunication that could result in a new hire having to reject a job offer or low application numbers due to ambiguous information. Start the recruiting process off on the right foot by respecting everyone’s time.
Keep an open mind
Many people use the holidays to earn extra money while on school vacations or to supplement a job that slows down during the winter months. Some might even be using the opportunity to explore a change in their career path by taking on temp work in an industry different from their current job.
Do not limit yourself to hiring people who only have a direct connection to your open position. Many soft skills acquired in other industries can apply to what your open position entails. Let your applicants show you how they can be a good fit for the position!
Depending on your small business’ industry, you might need a longer lead-up time for the hiring process, and there may be some compromises necessary when reviewing the level of experience your applicants possess.
College students, for example, will have less experience on their resume but might make up a majority of those who are willing to work during the Holidays since they have fewer family commitments and responsibilities. Keep your expectations reasonable and flexible, and you might be surprised at the caliber of people that you end up bringing on board.
Put time and thought into training
Seasonal employees are often under-trained compared to their full-time counterparts; but why is this? An employee’s path to proficiency has to be shorter due to the time-sensitive nature of the Holidays. Unfortunately, training is the biggest hurdle to getting extra help on the floor. Therefore, training gets abbreviated and underprepared employees are left to learn as they go more than their full-time coworkers had to.
The amount of training your seasonal employee receives might need an overhaul if you want to provide the excellent customer service necessary in the coming months. Automate as much of the HR paperwork process as you can, especially if your new hires are considered contract hires. This way, time-consuming logistics can be taken care of beforehand instead of taking up valuable training time.
Invest in new training platforms or ready-made resources already available to you from software and service providers you currently use. If your budget is tight leading up to the end of the year, consider applying for a small business loan or a business line of credit that can help you purchase the tools necessary for employee success.
Most importantly, build in enough training time in your onboarding process to make sure there is a solid period where your seasonal employees can focus on learning their roles without the added pressure of performing.
Have something to offer
Many employees looking for work this holiday season will be looking for the benefits you can bring to the table for them. Whether it’s competitive pay, flexible scheduling, attractive store discounts, or a foot in the door for full-time employment down the road, your position has to have perks.
First, learn about the difference between seasonal employees and seasonal workers, and determine how your new hires will be reported on the books. This distinction is important due to employment laws and regulations. For instance, seasonal employees are entitled to some benefits while in general, seasonal workers are not.
If you are able, consider offering some select benefits for employees. This can help boost loyalty and potentially help in bringing back seasonal employees year after year! Discounts are a great way to reward seasonal employees for the hard work they put in during such a busy season. If possible, consider raising the discount percentage for a set period for all employees as a thank-you for full-time staff as well as an extra incentive for seasonal applicants.
Ask seasonal employees upfront if they would like to continue working beyond the holiday season to gauge their interest in full-time benefits. This can not only help you budget for the first quarter of the new year but also help start the clock sooner for employees who will qualify for benefits that continue working into January or February.
Protect them and yourself
Make sure your business has sufficient insurance coverage to protect yourself against the higher number of cyber attacks during the holiday season. This goes back to the level of training new employees receive, and the serious consequences of gaps in cyber threat training, especially.
Having an up-to-date cyber insurance policy (as well as other well-known types of small business insurance such as worker’s comp and general liability insurance) will signal to seasonal staff that you can handle whatever comes your way. New employees who receive work emails, or who will be handling service requests, will not have the weather eye that longer-tenured employees have and can easily become prey to phishing emails and other fraudulent tactics. Having solid insurance coverage will give your new hires peace of mind as they navigate the holidays in their role.
Give them a reason to stay
With job satisfaction at record lows, it’s more important than ever to do whatever you can to foster employee loyalty and retention, even among seasonal staff.
While much of what comes your way this holiday season is out of your control, do whatever you can to foster an encouraging and supportive environment for your staff, regardless of their time working with you. Kick favoritism to the curb and provide equal opportunities for staff to shine and receive recognition for outstanding work.
Collect feedback on how you can better equip your staff to handle difficult situations and customers. Giving them more deciding power or powerful scripts to go off of can create higher confidence that leads to higher engagement in their work.
When you have thoughtful planning, a flexible mindset, and benefits and protective measures in place, you’ll be able to sift through the current labor market and hire the right people to keep your business running throughout the holiday season.
Thanks for reading! Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only. As best practices change regularly, you should refer to your trusted advisor for specific counsel.