The National Retail Federation projects that retailers will hire a whopping 450,000 to 600,000 seasonal workers this year – yet retail is not the only industry scrambling to hire seasonal workers.
If you need additional workers for the holiday season, you will compete with retailers, warehouses, restaurants, food and beverage delivery companies, and the hospitality industry. They, too, are gearing up for the holiday season.
Hiring the staff, you need just the beginning. Making sure you have the suitable systems and tools to manage your now expanded workforce can be critical, as, without them, the holiday shopping season can feel chaotic.
Below are some tips and best practices for recruiting, onboarding, and boosting the productivity of seasonal hires. They are based on Connecteam’s experience working with thousands of companies worldwide, including Ireland’s Stemrp.ie
Recruiting: The Digital Generation Expects a Modern Employer
If competing to attract Gen Z workers, you must show them you are a modern, tech-savvy business.
Remember: This is the mobile-savvy digital generation. They are used to using mobile apps for every aspect of their lives.
You can also leverage these workers’ smartphones for your business by using apps for communications, scheduling, training, and more. Not only will this position you as the kind of modern employer they want to work for, but it will also make it far easier to manage your larger team during the hectic holiday shopping season.
Gen Z workers are digital natives who value their time and appreciate flexibility. How easy or difficult can they change their shifts or ask for time off? How simple is it for you, as an employer, to track and manage those changes? How accurately are you tracking their time to ensure they are getting paid what they expect?
Because many employers still use spreadsheets and pen and paper for shift scheduling, workers are often faced with rigid or inefficient methods for scheduling and tracking time. Make sure you’re not one of them.
The bottom line: If your business uses more advanced and flexible tools, highlight them. This next generation of workers values flexibility when it comes to scheduling, and as digital natives, they are used to using their smartphones for everything. They want to work for companies that get that.
Onboarding: Accelerate With Training on the Go
By definition, seasonal workers don’t expect to stay with your company for very long. That means you can’t afford to spend weeks giving them the knowledge and skills they need to be productive. They need to hit the ground running on day one. At the same time, there is probably more information to master than could ever be conveyed in a single training session or recalled accurately and in detail just days or weeks later.
You can help them be productive from the first day by providing on-the-job training.
Consider creating training videos, cheat sheets, checklists, and even quizzes that can be shared through their smartphones to ensure they have the necessary knowledge. You can also provide timely reminders tied to particular schedules or shifts, such as opening or closing shop or taking weekly inventory.
That way, even if they can’t recall all of the details shared during training, they can refresh their memory and reinforce their learning by reviewing the information when needed.
Boosting Productivity: Use Incentives and Rewards
According to research from Oxford University, happy employees are more productive – approximately 13% more productive. Start by conveying a sense of appreciation for their work through all of your communications. Seasonal workers might not want to build a long-term relationship with your organization but want to be appreciated for their efforts.
Incentives and rewards can also increase motivation and encourage desired behaviors.
Some of our customers provide gift cards to workers who sign up for difficult-to-staff shifts or volunteer for assignments no one else wants. Others offer incentives to exceed particular sales thresholds or reward customer service wins.
Whatever behavior you try to encourage, ensure your rewards are relevant to workers or that they have a say or choice in how they want to be rewarded.
At a time when hiring is so complex, and retention is so low, you may decide you want to keep some of your best seasonal workers as permanent hires. Follow the advice above, and they might even be excited to stay.