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Holiday Staffing 101: How to Ensure a Smooth Holiday Season

Ah, the hustle and bustle of the holidays. This is the time of year when retailers stock up on inventory and manpower. The rushes are inevitable as shoppers try to find the perfect gifts for everyone on their list. There’s just one problem: with the influx of shoppers and stressed out gift buyers, your team is going to be put to the test.

To ensure your store continues to run smoothly this year, it’s time to start hiring. Here are a few tips to help you put together the perfect crew to make your holidays a breeze.

Look outside your typical candidate pool

During the year, you have a specific type of employee in mind for the job. This person might be technically savvy, fast-paced, and upbeat (even under stress).

However, during the holidays everything changes. Shoppers attitudes and behaviors are different than usual. The way you staff your business should adjust to these seasonal differences.

When browsing through your pool of candidates, don’t shy away from entry-level candidates or retirees. Both can have a unique skillset ideal for the busy season. For example, entry-level candidates might be more eager to get experience and can take on more shifts. Retirees might have a more laid-back service mindset, which will ease shopper stress.

Start an employee referral program

Your team might feel like they’re stretched a little thin during the holidays. Tensions rise as customers get more anxious during their holiday shopping. To give your employees the help they need and want, consider starting a referral program.

Referral programs work well for many reasons. They encourage your team members to bring in more like-minded people with similar work ethics. They also allow your team to work with people they know, like, and trust already. This can help take the edge off so your team provides better customer service during panicked rushes.

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Go beyond seasonal

Hiring seasonal employees can be difficult. The best employees want long-term jobs. These people don’t want to learn something for only a few months; they want to use their new skillset for years to come.

Let your new hires know that you’re looking for long-term hires. The holidays will be their test run. For an employee who wants to keep her job even after the holiday madness dies down, this is great motivation. She’ll perform better and give you fewer schedule request headaches.

Post in-store and online

If you’re struggling to see the resumes pour in, try posting a notice to the people who already love you—your shoppers. Many shoppers will jump at the chance to get a good deal and make some money during the holidays. This is especially true of college students who are only in town for a few weeks.

Post your notice in-store and on your social media profiles. You might be surprised at the quality of applicants you receive.

Experience smooth sailing

As the holidays approach, set yourself up for a smoother season with the right staff. Look outside your typical pool of candidates and incentivize your employees to perform better. Doing so will help everyone in your store relax and enjoy the most wonderful time of year a little bit more.

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