The holiday season: the most wonderful, and busiest, time of the year. As the season quickly approaches, now is the time to prepare your staff for the realities of the holiday season and start planning for how you’ll handle the large influx of eager consumers coming your way.

Fortunately, you can tap into some knowledge, best practices, and a few tips on staffing for the holidays so you keep your customers and your team members in the holiday spirit. Ready?

Examine past trends

Past sales trends are often a good indicator of your future hiring needs. Before beginning the hiring process, look at previous peak hours and slow days, and examine the current strengths and challenge areas of your current staff. As you head into the holidays, you’ll have a clearer picture of both the number and type of seasonal employees your business needs.

And in light of the pandemic that changed the dynamics of most every business during last year’s holiday season, you may wish to examine trends prior to the 2020 holiday season as a predictor for how the 2021 holiday business rush may impact your staffing needs.

Consider temporary and full-time workers

Of the many challenges of holiday staffing, finding great workers that are fit for the job is one of the most difficult. The best employees are often looking for full-time work, so consider recruiting for both full-time and temporary, part-time positions. No matter who you take on, you’ll want to ensure you manage fairly during this stressful time of year (don’t simply stick the temporary workers with the less-desired shifts just because they’re temporary).

Set clear expectations

Vague job descriptions and misleading interviews are a quick way of finding unfit employees and worsening the normal holiday headaches. Don’t make these mistakes! Make sure you’re bringing on people that are right for the holiday season, and your business as a whole, by communicating your values and expectations clearly. The responsibilities laid out in a job description or during an interview should be accurate, up-to-date, and honest about what each job position entails, both generally and throughout the holiday season.

Train the right way

The holidays are a crazy, action-packed time of year for both customers and employees. This means it may not always be possible to call in for extra help when critical problems arise. To prepare for any unexpected holiday woes and avoid disappointing customers, implement a thorough training program for each job position into your onboarding process.

Tip: during the holiday season, consider cross-training employees so you’re never left unprepared.

Adjust your scheduling approach

Don’t forget, your employees are celebrating this holiday season, too. To keep them happy and motivated, consider adjusting your approach to scheduling and giving employees more control over when they work. With the right digital scheduling solutions, and after you’ve established clear guidelines, you can allow them to reschedule and change shifts with minimal manager intervention, boosting both morale and operational efficiencies.

Incentivize

Time off requests shouldn’t come as a surprise around the holidays, especially for days like Black Friday and Christmas Eve, so finding people to cover less desirable shifts may be one of your biggest challenges. One way to ensure you’re fully covered throughout the entire season is to offer meaningful incentives to employees for working unpopular shifts. Consider offering bonus pay or compensation days that they can use once the holidays have passed. Will a few of your employees work the weekend before Christmas? Offer them a weekend off of their choosing in January.

Are You Ready for the Holiday Season?

The holidays can be stressful, but they don’t need to be. With the help of a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) partner like Empower Partnerships, you’ll get the tools you need and a tried and true approach for staffing up for a successful season. With our expertise and holistic approach to talent acquisition, we’re ready to do more than just fill your holiday staffing needs — we’re ready to find you top-tier talent that contributes to the growth of your company. Connect with us today to learn more about how we can empower your business both during the holiday busy season and all year long.