Retail Stores: Staffing For The Holidays
The National Retail Federation predicts that holiday sales will increase in 2017, with expected total retail sales of up to $682 billion. With consumers planning to spend an average of nearly $1,000 on holiday shopping this year, it’s more important than ever for retail stores to make sure they are fully staffed for the holiday rush.
The holiday season is already here—it stretches from November 1st to New Year’s Eve, according to the National Retail Federation. But it’s not too late to hire reliable part-time workers and to ensure that your current staff members can cover the holiday rush.
The best way to hire seasonal employees.
Online job-hunting websites – For example Indeed, Monster, and Craigslist can be an excellent way to reach potential employees.
School/College Job Boards - Many seasonal employees are high school or college students on winter break so consider using school job centers, which can be an inexpensive way to reach out to seasonal employees.
“Help Wanted Sign” - Current Customer Population - People looking for seasonal employment often start their searches at stores they already frequent—so a well-placed sign outside a retail store can be an effective and inexpensive way of attracting potential employees. Because these potential hires are already customers, their familiarity with the store can mean fewer bumps in training. And advertising the perks of working a seasonal retail job, such as an employee store discount, can help attract applicants.
Employee Referrals - Another inexpensive way to hire seasonal employees is to use your current employees as a resource. They might be able to recommend good candidates, and some businesses have found success offering a bonus to employees who help recruit seasonal workers.
Make Sure Your Staff Is Prepared
Retail studies indicate that 20% to 30% percent of annual retail sales occur during the holiday season. That means it is critical to keep your store working smoothly during these busy November and December weeks.
Once you hire seasonal employees, you will need to quickly get them up to speed on your store’s procedures and policies. Call on your current employees to help with sales training. And keep in mind that holiday errands can be stressful for shoppers, so consider some extra customer service and customer sensitivity training.
Consider offering additional perks to your employees, such as overtime pay or extra commission, for holiday sales. A Christmas bonus can help retail employees feel valued during the holiday season.
Plan Ahead To Prevent Headaches
Remember that the holidays are not just a busy time for businesses—they’re also busy for workers, who may request time off or have unusual commitments. Creating schedules in advance, as well as scheduling staggered breaks, can prevent chaos during busy times. By planning ahead, retail stores will be ready for the holiday rush.
Genevieve Carlton is a writer who specializes in history, education, and sales. She holds a Ph.D in History from Northwestern University.
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