Wednesday December 2, 2015
You’ve planned your holiday sales strategy down to the details. Your marketing strategy is already in motion, and new business is coming in. One problem — you need extra hands on deck to manage the increased workload!
Hiring is never easy for a small business, but hiring seasonal employees can be even more difficult. You simply don’t have the time and resources to devote to intensive recruiting, an inefficient training program, untrustworthy employees, or unexpected turnover.
Finding quality candidates on a budget — especially with the holidays approaching rapidly — requires careful strategizing and planning. Here’s how to fit your seasonal hires seamlessly into your business’s day-to-day.
Do You Even Need Help?
Many business owners struggle to decide if they even need extra help during the holidays. It’s tough to balance the conflicting priorities of saving money, providing great service, and preserving the business owner’s sanity.
Don’t be afraid to seek out help, even if the resources seem tight. If your holiday sales and marketing plan is solid, you should be able to cover the short-term extra expense. Focus on hiring for positions that will save you the most time (payroll, cleaning, accounting) or which will give a great ROI (marketing, sales).
Hiring new employees is always a risk, and it rarely “feels” like the right time. But if you get overwhelmed trying to do it all on your own, the costs could be even greater than the cost of hiring a seasonal employee.
To limit your risk and maximize your reward, you need to be smart about your hiring strategy. Don’t sink more time and resources into seasonal hiring than you gain from the new employees!
"Don’t sink more time and resources into #seasonalhiring than you gain from the new employees."
Finding Great Candidates, Fast
Let’s face it — if you’re still scrambling to hire this late in the game, the pressure is on. There’s still time to find high-quality hires, but you’ll have to be very strategic.
In particular, you don’t have time to cast a wide net. It’s time to focus on a few recruiting efforts that are most likely to succeed.
“Hi, Remember Me?”
The easiest place to start is with former seasonal or temporary employees of the company, or with freelancers you’ve used before. You already know they’re trustworthy, and they’ll already be familiar with how you do business, so you’ll save training time.
Plus, you already have the contact information for those individuals. It won’t take that much time to sit down and reach out. Hopefully one of them is scrambling some extra hours during the holidays!
“Have a Friend Who Needs a Job?”
It can seem hard to believe when you’re searching for a good candidate, but there are tons of people out there actively searching for opportunities just like the one you have to offer. Seasonal holiday work can be a huge help to job-hunters this time of year.
The best way to find job-hunters? Ask your network. In particular, ask your current employees if they know anyone who’s looking. The friends of your employees are likely to be quality prospects, who will be a relatively good cultural fit.
In addition, ask your customers, partners, mentors, or anyone else you trust for a recommendation. Nearly everyone has a friend, cousin, nephew, daughter, or someone who’s looking for a job.
“We Hire Local”
Finally, use locally-specific resources to get your job posting out there. Don’t waste time and energy targeting huge job boards this late in the game. Make sure that you’re saturating the local avenues, both in print and online.
Here are some ideas:
- Local college or university
- Career/Workforce Centers
- Career fairs
- Local newspaper
- Social media (especially LinkedIn)
Prepare to Hit the Ground Running
Hopefully, you were able to find candidates with at least some knowledge of your business. The more knowledge your hires have coming in, the less time you’ll have to spend on training.
No matter how much experience your hires have, though, you need to be prepared for their first day. You don’t have time to waste in an inefficient onboarding process.
Make sure your employment details and materials are all in order, including policy handbooks, SOPs, new hire paperwork, and so forth. When your new employees walk in, you need to lose as little time as possible to onboarding. The key to that is organization in advance.
You also should check in on the relevant laws, such as minimum wage, maximum allowable hours, and other details. Don’t cut corners just because you’re rushed — there are serious consequences for violations.
The Key to Smooth Hiring
Ultimately, if you want smooth, replicable onboarding, you need rock-solid systems and processes in place to stay consistent and organized. These systems take time and money to implement initially, but they’ll last well beyond one year of seasonal hires.
Growing businesses eventually need to hire in earnest. Seasonal hires let you practice your hiring skills while you hone your systems and processes.
"Seasonal hires let you practice your hiring skills while you hone systems & processes." [Tweet this]
The biggest factor I’ve seen help small businesses to hire more smoothly, is to use a software system to manage them. If you’re hiring young people, (and you likely are, if you’re looking for seasonal workers) you can take advantage of their tech-savviness to speed up onboarding.
For example, in AllProWebTools, you can simply create a new user for your seasonal employees, and give them access to just the tools they need to do their job. Timecards, productivity reports, and tasking are all built in, as is a password system with 9 clearance levels.
Most millennials I’ve sat down in front of the console have been comfortable using it after less than a day. The best part is, when those seasonal employees leave, you just disable their user and they lose all access. If you hire them again next year, you can reactivate them instantly.
I’ve seen this system help small business owners overcome all kinds of issues with seasonal hires, including security, productivity, and slow onboarding. You might not have time to implement it for this year, but if you’re serious about growing your business, you need a solution that will make hiring and managing employees easy.
Are you hiring seasonal workers this year? What are your tips to make the process go smoothly?