With the holidays right around the corner, small businesses across the country are taking stock of their inventory, anticipating the inevitable onslaught of hurried customers and preparing everything within their power to manage the mad rush of the season. With the stress and excitement of the season, the last thing you want to worry about is not having enough staff. The hiring of short-term, seasonal employees can be used to your advantage—you can gain the help you need to get you through the season, without the fuss of having to vet and hire long-term staff.
So where should you start? Here’s what you need know to help you find and plan for your temporary holiday workforce:
The ingredients of pulling together a successful holiday staff
- Identify your need: before you ever start hiring, make sure you’ve identified the gaps in your current staff—do you need more people on the phones with customers? Do you need help stocking the shelves? Are there certain times of the day you tend to be short staffed? Start by identify the gaps in your business and hire to fill them.
- Hire for the right reasons: don’t hire just for head count—even if it’s only temporary, you still want to engage employees that have a willingness to learn, are adaptable and are willing to take on responsibilities. Incompetent employees can give you a major headache on top of an already stressful season.
- Keep it legal: managing temporary staff correctly from a legal standpoint right from the start can save you a lot of grief later on. Categorize your temporary staff’s employment status properly. Place all your part-timers on the payroll. Withhold taxes. If you’re not sure what all the guidelines are for hiring temporary employees, the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers and the SBA have some great resources to help you out.
Where to find seasonal help
- Hire a veteran: veterans bring discipline, ambition, hard work and drive to the table, which makes them exceptional employees (we may be just a little biased). Check out Wounded Warrior Project’s Warriors to Work program or Hire Heroes USA—both programs help match employers with qualified veteran candidates and help facilitate a smooth onboarding process.
- Hire a college kid: hiring college students during the holidays could be a perfect fit for you—they are available for a few weeks over the holiday season and are usually looking for ways to bring in a little extra cash. If you live close to a university, ask the administration if you can put up flyers around campus or in dorms advertising temporary positions at your small business.
- Get your online community involved: if you have a significant following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or other social media sites, create an announcement that you’re hiring and direct them to your website for a full list of open seasonal positions. If you send out weekly newsletters to your customers, let them know you’re hiring. Chances are your raving fans would love to pass the information along to their friends or family members looking for temporary work.
- Post on hiring sites: There are lots of sites out there specifically focused on posting part-time, hourly, seasonal or student positions for free. Try posting an ad on SnagAJob.com or SeasonalJob.com. Job search engines like Monster and LinkedIn also have sections devoted to advertising part-time employment.
Your employees are your most valuable assets and can make the greatest impact on your customers’ experience this holiday season. Once you get the perfect crew together to tackle the hustle and bustle, make sure they understand the vision of your business and are equipped to deliver excellent customer service and a just a tad bit of holiday cheer.