Retail Staffing Tips For The Holidays

Small Business Canada
Don’t let your staffing get in the way of the most wonderful time of the year

With the holidays fast approaching, many businesses are looking for extra sets of hands to come on as seasonal hires. The problem is, the labour market is tight and unemployment is low so there isn’t a massive pool of job seekers looking for seasonal roles. Here are a few tips to make your life easier heading into the holiday season.

Hire Permanent Roles

Most people who are looking to pick up shifts during the holiday season are also looking to work during other times of the year. Instead of making the position a seasonal role, try making it a permanent role with reduced hours after the holiday rush. This can work perfectly for students who may be willing to work full-time hours over their school break and scale down to 10 hours per week once classes resume. This can also help reduce the time and money you spend hiring and training future new employees over the coming year if you can retain most of your previously seasonal hires and make them regular staff.

Tap Into New Talent Pools

If your existing job boards, hiring signs and career fairs aren’t working, try exploring new talent pools to tap into. Reaching out to local charities, nonprofits, schools, or sports teams to see if their members are interested in your roles is a great way to meet people where they’re at instead of waiting for them to come to you. Consider having your current staff make fun and engaging TikTok videos about their roles during their shifts to encourage others to come and work for you.


Schedule By Volume

If you’re running into issues trying to staff all your shifts for the holiday season, consider asking for availability at the interview stage to ensure there’s enough coverage of shifts before you make hiring decisions. There is nothing worse than hiring three staff and having them all unavailable on the same day. A strategy to incentivize increased availability can be to give employees who provide the most availability their preferred shift times. This will keep them happy and reduce the time it takes to fill out the schedule.  

Increase Pay

If you find your current employees aren’t taking as many shifts as you’d like them to, or that it’s challenging to find additional staff for the holidays, consider increasing your hourly wage for holiday shifts. Yes it might mean a few hundred dollars extra in wages, but if you think that will be far surpassed by the sales you’ll make that day, it’s better to be fully staffed and generating revenue. Another way to think of it is valuing your time from a monetary standpoint. If increasing your hourly wages saves you tens of hours of headaches with recruiting and scheduling, that time saving in dollar terms may outweigh the additional monetary expenses you’re incurring.

Plan Ahead

Many employers will create schedules on Thursday nights for the following week and expect to give employees only a few days notice on shifts. For the holiday season, instead of doing a weekly schedule, make a schedule for the entire season so that employees can make plans around their shifts. This will reduce the risk of them making plans and you trying to schedule shifts last minute.

While the holidays can be stressful and hectic, remember to take a step back and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. Here’s to a great holiday season and hope these tips will be helpful with retail staffing this holiday season and beyond.

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