It’s that wonderful time of year again when we start to gear up for Christmas.  A critical part of this process is hiring seasonal staff.  The very thought of this is often enough to cause even the most experienced of managers to break out in a cold sweat!  But don’t worry … it’s all about planning and execution.

Whether you need to recruit only three new temps or as many as seventy, it’s time for you to get moving right now.  Not sure where to begin?  Follow these key steps to ensure your success this season:

 

  1. Develop a plan. How many seasonal staff do you need?  When will you bring them on board?  How many hours will each one be assigned?  At what point after the holiday season will their employment be terminated?
  2. Know what you’re looking for. Do you have an employee profile of the best type of seasonal staff for your store? It’s a lot easier when you have a clear picture in mind.  Sure, we all want unlimited scheduling flexibility, but what do you need in addition to this?  Please, please, please be sure that you’re hiring happy, energetic people who are able to keep up and be positive additions to the sales floor.
  3. Create a training plan. You know they’re only seasonal staff, but your customers don’t, and they won’t care either.  Get your new hires up to speed on product, service and policies.  And be careful about assigning them to the cash desk, thinking they’ll do the least harm there.  Make sure they can work quickly, and don’t forget to teach them to sell at the P.O.S. too!
  4. Make them part of the team. If you want better results, you’re more likely to get them if you make them feel welcome.  A quick staff meeting with the regular gang will help build this bond.
  5. Manage their performance. Don’t wait to do this, get on it now.  Catch them ‘doing things right’ early on, but never, ever tolerate poor performance of any kind!

There you have it.  Your ‘playbook’ for a successful seasonal staff experience this Christmas.  Be sure to follow it to the letter … we’ll all be better off that way!

Linda Montalbano is a true retail operator with a history of leading large retail teams to success. If you need a fresh perspective on what's going wrong in your stores, Linda is the one to tell you like it is and come up with a solid game plan to turn things around!

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