Every year around this time, retailers, restaurants and others who are
gearing up for holiday traffic start hiring their seasonal workers. Of course they’re not the only ones with seasonal work demand. Tax companies will need folks in a few months and resorts and amusement parks will be hiring for the summer vacation time after that. But despite the fact that this happens every year and the rest of the world is changing around us at dizzying speeds, some companies don’t seem to get smarter about hiring seasonal workers.
They might learn a few things each year, like don’t hire against your gut. And, have backup candidates in case some competitive employer offers fifty cents more an hour. Stuff like that. But that’s really more like learning small lessons. How about we rethink the whole process?
So maybe instead of putting out your ad on a job board or Craigslist and enlisting your employees to recruit their friends and siblings, you could take a minute and think about what you actually need.
A. How Many More Hours Do You Actually Need Covered?
Have you done a review of the last few years of employee productivity? How many calls on average? How many boxes filled? Do you have any data on how much traffic increased last year? That may tell you how much you could expect this year. Perhaps you review your traffic to see if you predict having more folks or fewer. Then there are other considerations. Do you plan to be open longer? Due to your increased advertising budget, are you forecasting better sales this year? Have you done anything to make it easier for people to buy from you online?
Obviously, a lot of factors go into this calculation.
B. What Are Options for Covering Them?
Let’s say, after you do the math, you realize you actually only need 20 hours more per week. What are the relative costs if you offer that in overtime to current employees? At time-and-a-half, that is cheaper than hiring at the full, hourly rate. After all, holidays are expensive. Your employees may not mind picking up some extra cash. Yes, that means overtime pay, but think about what it will save you in terms of hiring, on-boarding, and managing a newbie. And don’t forget that if you hire someone and lay them off, that person can file for unemployment. How much will that cost you? Before you hire someone else, see if you can split the hours among the people you already have and tally up the comparative costs. Betcha it will be cheaper and easier.
C. How Could You Reduce the Number of Hours Needed?
Do you have any inefficiencies that could be tackled now? Are there any aspects of your operation that could be made less labor intensive with technology? After all, It’s 2015, we’re supposed to have flying cars according to Back to the Future, see what tech options are available to you. It’s probably too late to implement new software when we are 23 days and counting down to Black Friday, but still it’s a consideration. Or, consider outsourcing some of the process. It’s a strategy that has been used by Fortune 50 and solo entrepreneurs and every size company in between.
If you do have to hire some extra people, think about whether it will work better to go with a temp firm—no filing for unemployment afterward—or bring on your own people. You could recruit through your staff, through colleges, or even at your place of business. Regular customers may be very interested in the idea of employee discounts during the holiday season and they’re already sold on what you do. The point is not to do it by default without really thinking through the process and trying to make it both more efficient and cost effective.
Ho ho ho, here we go. If you want help figuring out the wisest, most cost effective way to get through the holidays, give us a call!
We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267