As the holiday season approaches, small businesses are gearing up for a potentially prosperous time, buoyed by the National Retail Federation’s optimistic prediction of holiday sales ranging from $727.9 billion to $730.7 billion. With this promising outlook on the horizon, the spotlight turns to the critical task of holiday hiring. Ensuring your business has the right staff in place is essential for capitalizing on the festive shopping frenzy.
To guide you in this endeavor, here are 10 invaluable holiday hiring tips specially curated for small businesses. These insights will not only help you navigate the challenges of seasonal staffing but also ensure a seamless and successful holiday shopping experience for your customers.
1. Offer A Training Class
One of the first suggestions offered by Tara Wolckenhauer, DVP of Human Resources at ADP, is to provide on-the-job training led by experienced team members. On-the-job training, especially when conducted by a team that is already performing the work, helps new hires quickly get educated and learn the ropes. Consider incorporating video content with interactive elements to make the training sessions more engaging and memorable.
2. Measure Small Tasks
To ensure strong, short-term performance, it’s crucial to have clear job descriptions that include objectively measurable tasks. By defining these tasks, you can assess how well seasonal help is performing and provide feedback accordingly. Use benchmarks like knowledge retention to gauge progress and identify areas for improvement.
3. Talk Frequently
Given the limited time available to train seasonal workers, it’s important to have frequent conversations and check-ins with them. This allows you to address any challenges or issues they may be facing, provide guidance and support, and boost morale. Regular communication fosters engagement and ensures a positive working environment for your temporary hires.
4. Make Job Descriptions Clear
When hiring seasonal employees, it’s essential to have clear and transparent job descriptions. These descriptions should include not only the tasks they will be responsible for but also any educational requirements. Clearly communicating the role and expectations upfront helps establish a mutual understanding between the employer and the employee.
5. Know Where to Look
Finding suitable holiday staff can be challenging, but there are various avenues you can explore. Recruiting agencies can be a great option if you have an early start, and posting your job openings on platforms like Indeed.com can yield positive results. Another option is to consider staffing agencies, which specialize in providing temporary employees for specific industries.
6. Leverage Existing Staff
Utilizing your existing staff can be an effective strategy for cross-training seasonal hires and driving results. By appointing strong leaders to help train new hires, you create a learning culture within your small business. This makes training sessions more familiar and effective, enabling experienced staff to share their knowledge and expertise with seasonal workers.
7. Look to Retirees
Don’t overlook the potential of older individuals, particularly retirees, who may be looking for holiday work. Consider posting notices at local Seniors’ Centers or reaching out to retirees from your industry. This can help attract experienced seasonal help who have industry knowledge and can contribute to your business’s success during the holiday season.
8. Focus on Flexibility
Holiday hiring often involves positions that require non-regular hours, such as overnight shifts in retail for stocking shelves. It’s important to find candidates who are open to these scheduling requirements and able to adapt to changes. Be upfront about any scheduling changes and look for individuals who are willing to switch shifts on short notice. This flexibility will contribute to a smoother holiday sales period.
9. Don’t Put Holiday Hiring Off
Experts recommend starting the planning process for holiday hiring as soon as the previous season ends. This gives you ample time to assess your staffing needs, review and update job descriptions, and carefully select the right candidates. While strong work ethics are important, don’t forget to consider the personalities of the frontline staff you hire. Your customers want to have a good experience, and friendly and helpful staff play a crucial role in creating that environment.
10. Overcoming Common Holiday Hiring Pitfalls
While holiday hiring holds the potential to elevate your small business’s success, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Understanding and proactively addressing these potential pitfalls can help you navigate the seasonal staffing process with confidence and efficiency.
Common Holiday Hiring Pitfalls:
1. **Underestimating Staffing Needs**: Analyze historical data and sales projections to determine the appropriate staffing levels for handling the holiday rush.
2. **Neglecting the Onboarding Process**: Allocate time and resources to properly onboard new hires, ensuring they understand their roles and responsibilities.
3. **Overlooking Cultural Fit**: Consider not only the skills but also the cultural fit of potential candidates to maintain a harmonious work environment.
4. **Failing to Communicate Expectations**: Clearly communicate performance expectations, behavior guidelines, and scheduling requirements to avoid misunderstandings.
5. **Delaying Recruitment**: Start the hiring process early to have enough time to vet applicants thoroughly and select the best fit for your business.
6. **Ignoring Feedback from Seasonal Staff**: Value the insights and feedback provided by seasonal staff to make necessary adjustments and improvements.
7. **Disregarding Compliance and Legalities**: Educate yourself about labor laws and regulations to ensure compliance when hiring seasonal workers.
8. **Not Planning for Succession**: Consider the possibility of retaining exceptional seasonal staff for permanent roles and have a plan in place for identifying and transitioning top performers.
By incorporating these tips and addressing the common pitfalls, you can streamline your holiday hiring process and set your small business up for success during the festive season.