Seasonal hiring can be a monumental task, and managing hourly workers through the busiest time of year is often a challenge. With so much going on, you want to be well prepared for what the holidays bring. Here are five ways that technology and best practices can help ease the burden for everyone through the holiday season and make managing a holiday workforce easier.
#1 Review Historical Data and Do Forecasting
Assuming you have access to a decent workforce management solution as part of your HRIS, this is the time to start pulling reports from last season. A review of previous history for the holidays will help you determine shift rules, work patterns, breaks, and more to have the best chance at providing the right level of coverage. Guess work will always play a role since not every year is the same. But it’s smart to bring in additional factors such as the amount of holiday spending forecast for consumers in the current year, local economic conditions, new competitors, and other trends. Decide at this point if you will be using any contingent labor and provide your staffing agency partners with information about the roles you might need to fill on short notice.
#2 Focus on What Matters Most in Hiring
Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “The greatest ability is availability.” That’s not true in every sense, but when you need to fill low-skill positions on a temporary basis, it might as well be. Since being short-staffed is the nightmare of any manager during the holiday season, you need to choose workers who will show up. Period. They can’t be tempted away by all the revelry of the season, blowing off a work shift to attend an ugly sweater party or make a last minute out of town trip. When you interview and perform reference checks for seasonal job candidates, focus on characteristics like work ethic, reliability, flexibility, and attitude. Hiring for these traits will help make it easier to manage your workforce through the holidays.
#3 Make Managing a Holiday Workforce Easier by Getting Employees Onboarded Fast
Managing a holiday workforce isn’t supposed to be all about managing paperwork. There’s too much at stake when you could be spending that time getting new hires oriented, trained, and productive. Using an online onboarding solution ensures that new hires complete all the required forms on day one. More important, a rules-based application enforces state and federal requirements for how the forms are completed, limiting the risk of errors and omissions. This means HR spends less time chasing down and correcting information. With automated workflows taking data all the way from an integrated Applicant Tracking System on one end to Payroll on the other, candidates should be able to transition to paid employees with minimum hassle.
#4 Stay in Continuous Communication with Workers
Seasonal employees working holiday shifts may be willing to be on call to fill any available shifts. But that doesn’t mean they want to be constantly on the edge of their seats waiting to be pulled away from other activities. Make managing a holiday workforce easier by giving as much advance notice as you can when creating shift schedules and encourage employees to provide notice as far in advance as possible if they will miss a shift. Using an online portal for this communication can make things easier—especially if it’s integrated with your shift scheduling software. Consider using an app that allows employees to interact directly with the system as well. For example, off-shift workers could mark their availability so you know exactly who to call first if a scheduled worker doesn’t show up. This type of software can also automatically notify all workers of schedules and any changes on the fly, saving you loads of time. In addition, you are doing employees the courtesy of letting them know when they won’t be needed so they can make other plans.
#5 Keep Spirits High and Cheer at the Maximum
The holiday season is a real revenue generator for your business. That means it’s important to make the most of each shopping or dining day. Make managing a holiday workforce easier by focusing on ways to help each worker start and end their shift with a smile. Remember that this is probably a busy time for your employees in their personal lives as well, and many people get stressed out or just “blue” around the holidays. Whether it’s giving teams goals to reach and celebrating milestones, running friendly competitions, or engaging in random acts of appreciation, your employees will get through the holiday bustle better when they have at least one thing that they look forward to at work each day.