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Preparing your business for the holiday season

Guest Article | Hope Brace - Retailworld Resourcing New Zealand

Filling your roster over the festive season can prove challenging for any business, and the high-demand, customer-facing roles of retail and hospitality can be the hardest of them all.

Having a comprehensive overview of what the silly season may look like for your business will be your secret weapon when filling your roster this summer. Check-in and find out your existing employees' plans well in advance so you can identify sore points and have a clear vision of how many contract or casual staff you may need.

Reviewing and increasing your headcount over the holiday season is essential, not only for your customer's experience but also to take off increased strain on your existing employees. With the number of open vacancies available in the job market, it’s no easy feat finding talented, well-suited staff and now, as we near the holiday period, it's time to ask yourself how can I ensure my business secures the right talent?

With most roles requiring four weeks' notice, it can be hard to find fabulous staff. Partnering with a recruitment agency (like Retailworld) can be a great way to secure talent while ensuring they are properly suited to the role brief and align with your company values. If you’re looking for short-term solutions, we recommend advertising in schools and universities where working short-term is preferred! Plus who knows, it may lead to a full-time position in the future! It can also be a great idea to look at previous years' Christmas Casuals. If you haven't already, create a file of candidates that you use for summer or casual hours and keep that handy for future years. Consider giving them a call, even if they aren't available they may know someone who is! Offering a referral bonus to both current and previous employees is a surefire way to increase applications.

On top of referral bonuses, making the remuneration and benefits on offer clear on your job ad can attract potential talent. We’re seeing high salary increases across unfilled positions so ensure your pay rate matches or exceeds competitors in order to stand out in the crowd and attract applications.

Filling your roster doesn't only mean finding new staff, but retaining existing staff. Focus on increasing both communication and incentive in order to reduce burnout during the busy period.

Research from the Retailworld 22/23 Market Insights & Salary Guide shows employees reporting flexibility as a key factor when deciding to stay in their position (or find a new one!). If you can let your full-time or key staff take annual leave or look for ways that you can adjust your roster to provide them with some flexibility (eg, a weekend off) this can go a long way in terms of employee relationships, satisfaction and your overall ROI. Consider discussing holiday plans with existing staff well in advance. This will not only make your employees feel heard but make your life easier when planning your roster and assessing where you may need extra staff.

Clarity is key. This can mean communicating any changes in responsibilities, such as training new staff, changes in hours or discussing the sales goals of the company. Feeling seen, heard and appreciated will make it easier for staff to bring up any issues or feedback they may have. If you are proactive with these conversations before they escalate, you can save yourself time, money and probably a few headaches.

Finally, it’s no surprise that your front-line staff will be experiencing a huge increase in workload. Really focus on going the extra mile for your team this year. Showing your appreciation can be as simple as a thank you message regarding any extra work (small or big), extra incentives, gifts, or team bonding sessions to keep spirits high. Ensure the work atmosphere and team culture is fun and supportive, share sales targets and progress with the team while celebrating excellence and any wins in the store along the way.

Be extra attentive to any staff experiencing disruption in their usual day-to-day responsibilities. It’s a great idea to roster key staff with your new hires so they can pass on their wisdom, but make sure they know before getting to work that day!

Retailers are the superstars that hold this festive season together. Let’s be grateful to our front-line workers; It’s easy to forget how vital they are to the success of everyone's holiday season. Happy trading and all the best for the season to come!


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