By: Roberta Chinsky Matuson
It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas, even though it feels like fall has just arrived. With this year’s budgets in hand, employers will be checking their lists twice to get the most of every new hire for their holiday jobs. Here’s how to make every new hire count.
Think beyond the holiday season If you want customers to return long after the holiday trim is gone, pay close attention to your hiring process. Begin by adjusting job descriptions and job requirements to ensure that you’re attracting candidates that can handle this year’s seasonal needs.
Hire your hourly workers as if you were bringing on a year-round employee. This means casting your net wide to ensure you have an adequate pool of candidates and investing the time required to thoroughly screen candidates and conduct an interview. Don’t forget to wrap up the hiring process with reference checking before making an offer.
Shop early A reduction in headcount means you’ll need to hire people who are willing and able to do more than what’s required. Look for self-starters with a history of working independently.
These candidates are best found early in the season, as they are the ones knocking on doors before the masses decide it’s time to find employment. Early October is the perfect time to begin searching for star performers. You’ll get first dibs on candidates and have time to recover should a new hire need to be replaced.
Over hire People with a host of experience are looking for work this holiday season. Go against the trend and add mature workers to your seasonal team. Many are more fit than their younger counterparts and most know better than to text while talking with customers. Take advantage of the breadth of knowledge that experienced workers can bring to the table. Listen to their suggestions and implement those ideas that have merit.
Shop your aisles for seasonal hires Who better to represent your products and services than someone who is a long-term customer or client? Keep your eyes and ears open for people who are passionate about your business and make them an offer they can't refuse. Offer current employees a referral bonus to encourage them to refer top-notch candidates who they’d be proud to work side-by-side with.
Avoid job burnout Seasonal workers are as prone to job burnout as regular full-time staff. Crazy holiday schedules combined with demanding customers make for a stressful workplace. One way to reduce the likelihood of job burnout is to ensure everyone on the team pulls his or her own weight.
This means addressing employee performance issues when they occur, rather than counting down the days until Christmas arrives.
Pay attention to the staff schedule with your hourly workers. Avoid scheduling employees for late nights followed by early morning openings and provide employees with frequent breaks. Set aside a quiet place for employees to take breaks so they can decompress.
Invest in training It may sound counterintuitive to incur costs when the outlook for a strong holiday season is dim. But this is exactly what is needed to be a strong contender in the months that follow. Employees who lack training quickly frustrate customers and often become disgruntled as well. Keep in mind that comments regarding lousy service live on long after Ebenezer Scrooge has left the building. Put seasonal employees through as much training as any other hire.
Dedicate resources to onboarding Ask anyone who has worked a seasonal job to describe their first week at work and most will say chaotic. That is if they make it through the first week. You wouldn’t drop a new skier at the top of a mountain without proper instruction, yet companies do this all the time with their seasonal new hires. To best assimilate new hires into your workplace it’s important to have an onboarding process in place for their first few weeks that includes detailed instruction and coaching.
Manage your seasonal hires Manage the performance of seasonal hires as you would your regular staff. Provide them with a job description and details regarding how performance will be measured. Then do what you would do for any of your employees. Provide them with on-going feedback and a year-end performance review.
The best way to make the most of every new hire this holiday season is to treat them as you would any of your regular staff with your hiring process. When you do this, don’t be surprised when neither you nor your customers can easily discern which workers are here to stay and which are here only for the season.
Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions and author of the highly acclaimed book Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, a Washington Post Top-5 Leadership pick. Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta's monthly newsletter, HR Matters.