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5 Strategies to Help with Staffing Seasonal Shifts

The infamous Black Friday videos are familiar to all – where customers storm through the doors of big box retailers the moment they open, trampling over each other in search of the latest products. Stores that see moderate traffic all year get flooded with desperate shoppers looking to complete their holiday checklists.
 
New toys, new technology, new clothing, better prices and last-minute gift purchases drive people to stores in droves during the holiday season – just picture the King of Prussia Mall. This uptick in sales makes it necessary for many business owners to hire seasonal employees. Temporary workers can help control the massive holiday workloads and keep operations running smoothly.
 
But it’s not just the holidays that can prompt business owners to look to seasonal hires.
Demand for seasonal work may come at any time of year, depending on the focus of a business. Obviously, a swimsuit shop will be busiest in spring and summer when much of the area heads down the shore, while a ski equipment shop will see its greatest sales in fall and winter ahead of the rush to the Poconos.
 
Busy periods like these, along with staff vacation times, changing schedules of student employees, and ups and downs in a business’s growth are just a few of the reasons why staffing needs fluctuate. Without planning, this can cause unnecessary headaches and prove costly for business owners.
 
Hiring temporary seasonal workers can present challenges if business management is not prepared. Here are five crucial steps that business owners should take to prepare themselves for those busy times of year when they may need to temporarily boost staff:
 
  1. Examine the business’s needs: First, business owners should review their company’s performance from the last few years to determine the weeks that were busiest and most difficult to manage. Then, they should pinpoint exactly what aspects of the business require additional assistance. This way, next year, they can focus their staffing searches on temporary employees with the right qualifications.
  2. Recruit early and spread the word: No one wants to miss out on the most appropriate or qualified workers because they waited until the last minute to start their search. Business owners should start drafting job descriptions and sending them out on social media, websites and elsewhere as early as possible to reach a large, diverse audience.
  3. Clearly outline goals and expectations: Some seasonal workers are college students and young adults looking to get their feet wet in a fast-paced work environment. It’s important for business owners to set expectations and be clear with new hires about the likelihood of a path to full-time employment.
  4. Develop comprehensive training: Providing thorough training to temporary employees should be a priority. Both sides want to make the most of their time, and a well-trained seasonal employee will perform better on the job than someone who receives a basic overview.
  5. Create incentive programs: Incentives, such as cash or gift cards, are a great way to motivate workers, particularly temporary employees, who may not feel that building the company’s success benefits them over the long-term.
This year, during that busy season, business owners should make sure they are prepared with a deep bench of versatile staff members who are ready to handle any challenges. They can stay ahead of the curve by keeping an eye on their businesses’ workplace trends and by planning accordingly.