If you’re bringing extra help on board for the Christmas busy season, you need a strategy. Planning out your hiring needs early will make training and onboarding easier, and make the holidays less stressful.
Use your typical hiring channels — be that job board, recruiter, or just a Help Wanted sign — to start attracting help for the holidays. Be clear that you’re hiring on a temporary basis so potential employees know what to expect. Also make it clear what days new hires will be required to work, as many people want time off during the holidays — just when you need them most.
Figure Out Your Schedule
Start with your existing staff, as many of them may want to take on extra hours for gift-buying cash. They should get first dibs on extra hours. Then see how much help you’ll need in addition to them to be fully staffed.
Train New Hires
Don’t wait until Black Friday to train your temp staff on using your point-of-sale system. Start as soon as possible and have each new hire shadow a reliable employee until they get the swing of things.
If you’re hiring several temp workers, consider holding several training sessions for all of them at the same time. Then let them gradually take over their new responsibilities until they’re confident.
Work with Existing Staff
The holidays will require extra smiles and the ability to deal with irate customers, so spend some time working with your current employees to make sure they know what to expect. If they worked for you last year, that should be a good indicator of what this year will be like, but for any who were hired since, they may need some guidance on how to act.
Make it clear that customer service is more important now than ever, since stores will be crowded, customers will be angry if they can’t get what they want, and tempers will be short. This season is truly the test for your staff to see if they’ve got what it takes to meet customer expectations, as well as your own.
Manage Your Own Expectations
If you tend to be more hands-off as a manager, now’s the time to change your style. You’ll need to be around a lot more during the fourth quarter, not only to help customers when your staff is swamped, but also to ensure that your staff is doing what it should be. This way, you can nip personnel issues in the bud before they affect business.