Shortly before Halloween and getting closer and closer to Labor Day each year, retail establishments and other organizations begin preparing for the onslaught of holiday traffic. With retail business in particular, the holiday season can be a “make or break” time of year and certainly a barometer of how well the establishment will begin the next year. Thus, careful attention should be given to the planning of staffing needs during this time.
By the same token, customers take a keen interest in planning for the holiday season as well. In general, this time of year offers a more abundant opportunity to earn extra money or gain more experience through working a seasonal job. Some other benefits for the customer include networking opportunities, adding skills to a resume, and/or simply transitioning into full-time employment. In fact, BlogForce has written about this in a few previous blogs like “Holiday Rush” and “What are Seasonal Jobs.”
But let’s take a look at the other side of the coin, if you will, and talk about the employer. For retail establishments, the gift of the season is greater revenue but on the other side of the balance sheet are greater staffing needs. Right now is a great time to begin planning before the rush.
And by “right now” I mean right now in the middle of November. This is a good time of year to begin clearly outlining your plans for finding qualified candidates to help with the temporary season. As with most plans, putting in a sufficient amount of work to develop a strategy that is clear to all those involved in the beginning will have a beneficial snowball effect. In addition, preparing now will reduce the scrambling effect when Black Friday arrives.
Did you say plan? Yes! Even a simple plan is much more effective than no plan at all. One possible ingredient for planning staffing needs is to look right in your own store. Customers that you interact with can be a valuable set of individuals who are already familiar with your products. This group can also serve as a source of other possible candidates through networking. Yes, networking is not just for job seekers!
One ready-made group of possible seasonal workers is students on break from college or high school…that’s a given. Another sometimes overlooked group is retired individuals. Retirees usually have diverse and extensive work experiences, more wisdom, and are established (chances are they are not moving to another town after graduation).
Finally, reward those employees who stay with you through the season. Although it should not be, the holiday season can unfortunately be stressful. Other obligations may pop up, or an employee may find that they would rather spontaneously take a holiday vacation. Consider restructuring positions to include incentives for employees to stay as long as you need them.
Both you and your seasonal employees might just decide to make this all a yearly tradition.
David Spears is a member of the Workforce Solutions Navigator team for the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Combining training and education to real world examples, David brings personal and professional experience with disabilities to the table in order to help job seekers with disabilities realize their potential. David has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration with over 20 years of experience in the business world.