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6 Tips for Hiring, Training, and Managing Seasonal Employees at Your Retail Business
December 06, 2018
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6 Tips for Hiring, Training, and Managing Seasonal Employees at Your Retail Business

The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend as much as $720.89 billion in November and December 2018, which is a  4.8 percent increase over 2017. For some businesses, the holiday season represents 30 percent of their annual revenue, so to meet this customer demand, they’ll need to hire seasonal employees.

If you’re looking to hire seasonal staff, then this post is for you. We’ll list six tips for hiring, training, and managing seasonal employees, so you can ensure that your retail business’s operations go smoothly this holiday season.

How to Hire Seasonal Employees:

Tip #1 – Ask Current Staff for Referrals

Your hardworking employees probably know like-minded people, and if you already trust their judgement, it can be appealing to hire somebody they know opposed to an unknown candidate. It’s a win-win situation for both parties because they get to work with their friends, and you get a trustworthy seasonal employee. To incentivize your current staff members to give candidate recommendations, offer a bonus if they refer an employee who works through the entire holiday season.

Tip #2 – Attract Retirees

The Center for a Secure Retirement found that 28 percent of retired baby boomers are either currently employed or have been employed during their retirement, and they want flexible work arrangements. By attracting retirees who have experience in your industry, you could get an experienced professional for a short-term position. They may also work for more than one season, and that may not be the case for college students or younger seasonal workers.

How to Train Seasonal Employees:

Tip #3 – Don’t Shortcut the Training Process

Seasonal employees generally work during the busiest time of year, so it can be difficult for them to perform well if they don’t have adequate training. While it’s tempting to give seasonal workers an abbreviated training because they won’t be on your staff long-term, it’s important to fully train them on all of the necessary processes and responsibilities, and don’t allow them to interact with customers until they know your products. If your seasonal employees are making frequent mistakes due to a lack of training, it could harm your business.

Tip #4 – Offer Online Training

While online training can be time consuming to develop, once it’s established it can be used for years. Online training is beneficial because employees can complete it on their own time, you don’t need to individually train every seasonal employee, and it can save you valuable time that you can put towards other important tasks. Plus, by including colorful graphs, videos, and demonstrations, you can even make it fun!

To ensure employees complete the training course, have them take a comprehensive quiz at the end of the training and only allow them to schedule shifts once they’ve passed the quiz. You can easily create training courses through 360Learning and Skyprep.

And Finally, How to Manage These Employees:

Tip #5 – Motivate Through Incentives

Unless a seasonal employee is trying to land a fulltime job at your company, they may not be motivated to work as hard as your full time staff members. To engage all your employees during the holiday season, create contests like “most sales in the month of December” and “friendliest employee on Christmas Eve.” Your employees will be motivated by prizes and friendly competition. You can also offer higher product discounts to employees who work more hours.

Tip #6 – Treat Them Like Regular Employees

Even though seasonal employees may only be around for a month or two, it could hurt team morale if you don’t treat them with the same respect that you show your full time staff. Reminding them that they’re only around for a short time will hinder their growth and they won’t be motivated to perform well. Instead, recognize all employees for their performance and hard work, regardless of tenure.

In Conclusion: Prepare Now for the Holiday Season

Retailers, restaurants, and shipping companies are planning to hire more than 700,000 seasonal workers this holiday season and many of the best candidates get hired first. If you haven’t already started your holiday hiring, you should start as soon as possible. Seasonal employees can be a challenge for even the best manager, but you can make it easier by starting early and training thoroughly!

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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