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‘Tis the Season – Hiring Seasonal Workers

hiring seasonal workers

‘Tis the Season – Hiring Seasonal Workers

The holiday season is well underway, as we are constantly reminded by commercials, sales, decorations and red-suited welcomers at every store. If your business sees an uptick this time of year, it is not too late to consider hiring seasonal workers.

While the obvious businesses are retailers, a whole slew of different companies see more activity this time of year. Some organizations want financial advisors to review their accounts at the year end. Other companies see a surge in manufacturing and packing.

Caterers, photographers and event planners are in demand for company holiday parties and family gatherings. And within retail, it’s not just more cashiers at the registers, but more stockers, delivery people (UPS announced that it planned to hire as many as 95,000 temporary workers this season), security personnel and customer representatives. Especially needed is help with online sales, as nearly half of Americans plan to do at least part of their shopping via the Internet.

Hiring for this time of year begins as early as October, but the positions can last well into January (someone has to handle all those returns and post-holiday sales).

hiring seasonal workersHiring seasonal workers for the holidays can be entirely manageable if you plan and are organized.

Hire those with holiday experience. If the role does require direct customer contact, it can be helpful to have someone on hand who is used to longer hours, more impatient customers and generally increased frenzy typical of the season. While it’s not as important as experience in a specific industry, it can be easier for those who know understand the specific stresses of holiday shopping and entertaining to give lift to your year-round employees.

Clarify that this is a temporary role. Despite the obviousness, there will always be hopefuls that the extreme demand of the season will become an opportunity for a more long-term position.

If you know that you can only offer something for the November-January months, make it clear from the date of the job offer that you don’t have a permanent position open. This will help take pressure off of you when it’s time to let your seasonal help go.

Find help before it’s a crisis. No matter how willing and bright your temporary employees are, they do need time to learn your business and understand their role.

[bctt tweet=”Don’t wait until the night before a corporate holiday party to add waitstaff, or hire new cashiers the day before a sale.”]

You won’t get as much out of extra hands if they are overwhelmed because they are learning in the middle of a frenzy.

Take the time to vet candidates as if they were permanent hires. It’s tempting to just grab the first few resumes that come in the door when you’re feeling the pressure of a busy period. But that could prove to be costly if you have to let people go and then hire more new people because of poor due diligence the first time. Conduct real interviews, check references and sleep on the decision before extending seasonal offers.

Hiring seasonal workers can be the smart way to run your business this time of year.

Even if you are just realizing now that you need more help, it’s certainly not to late to put the word out. You can do this via notices on your website, via social media, or by contacting staffing agencies.

Millions of Americans, including college students on winter break, are still actively looking for a few weeks’ of work in the market. Just be sure to have clarified what kind of help you need (is it more sales clerks, or more stocking help?), that you select for people with the personality and temperament for the challenges of holiday shoppers, and be clear that the role won’t last far beyond the last glass of New Year’s champagne. If you keep those ground rules clear, you can get set for a happy holiday season.