The fourth quarter always seems so far away…until it’s right upon us. While it’s just September, it’s actually time to get a game plan in place on how you’ll amp up your staff to handle the holiday shopping season.
Step 1: Look at Last Year’s Numbers
While no two years are ever identical when it comes to the flow of business during the Christmas season, last year can give you an idea of what you should plan for. (If you’re not keeping detailed info on how many temporary hires you brought on during the last months of the year, start doing so this year to help you in future years.)
If you had 4 full-time staffers, 2 part-timers, and 5 temp employees last year, for example, that’s a good place to start, assuming you kept up with demand and never felt over- or understaffed.
Step 2: Invite Back Your Temp All-Stars
If you had temporary employees who did a great job last year, check in with them to see if they’re interested in working for you again this holiday season. This is the easiest path, since you’ll reduce the time you spend training new temp hires.
Step 3: Offer Additional Hours to Existing Staff
Another way to cut down on hiring new folks is to check with your existing staff (particularly the part-timers) to see if they have the bandwidth to take on more hours this winter. They might be delighted to double their hours, and you’ll get more great help without having to hire wild cards.
Step 4: Check Your Network
Now that you’re ready to hire new temps, ask your personal network before resorting to that “help wanted” sign or posting on job boards. Referrals tend to perform better, and are easier to find. If your business is in a strip mall, ask other business owners to pass along any applicants they weren’t able to hire.
Step 5: Sift Through Apps and Interview
Once you make the big push for applications, spend some time reviewing them, then choose your top candidates to be interviewed. Focus your questions on their experience working during holiday rush, as you’ll need level-headed staff that knows how to deal with irate holiday shoppers.
Step 6: Hire and Train
Once you’ve hired all the extra temp help you need for the season, start training. Even if you don’t have the flood of traffic coming through your doors yet, now’s the time to get your new employees ramped up on your point-of-sale system, as well as your sales strategies. Make sure they’re confident on all aspects of the job before turning them loose.
Starting your holiday hiring plan now will help you breeze through what, for many, is the most stressful (yet prosperous) time of year.