Organizations should consider these workforce planning strategies to excel during the high volume holiday season.
By Debbie Bolla
Ready for the holidays? This is a question that is already on the minds of retailers. With a little strategic planning now, organizations can get their high volume holiday hiring on track now and be effectively prepared for execution in the Fall. And they will need to be ready if last year’s trends indicate this year’s activity. A 2017 CareerBuilder study found that across industries, 35 percent of employers expected to hire seasonal workers in the fourth quarter and 38 percent of top holiday jobs were in customer service.
Where should organizations start? Adam Godson, vice president of global technology solutions for Cielo, a strategic recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partner, says that retailers that are looking to ramp up for the holiday season should began workforce planning now.
“Organizations must understand what internal and external resources are needed to execute their hiring needs,” he says. “It can be easy to miscalculate the number of resources it will take to interview and onboard all of the candidates before the season starts. For example, HR needs to consider if they have enough mangers to conduct all of the interviews it will take to ramp up.”
Once resources are determined, Godson says organizations can help fill holes by training team members who are on a growth track so they can step in and help when necessary.
“Managers need to get them prepared so they can delegate some of the interviews,” he explains. “This is often a good stretch assignment, meaning that an employee that is looking for a growth opportunity should be considered for this type of role.”
Hiring a consultant or contractor for this type of role can be a risk: Using current employees who have a good understanding of company culture is beneficial during the hiring process -even when bringing in temp workers. And training is also essential so team members understand the questions they should be asking in order to obtain the type of information needed to make the right decisions.
Getting Candidates In
Organizations should also develop a strategy around reaching and bringing in candidates. Today’s technology can play a role in helping in the process.
“Having enough qualified candidates to interview is often a barrier of holiday hiring,” says Godson. “Organizations can leverage data to help with determining ‘recommended’ candidates. This will help increase the selection ratio.”
Once candidates are chosen, a self-scheduling interviewing tool can help push managers to candidates. After candidates are selected, a seamless onboarding process is necessary when hundreds of new employees are being hired at the same time.
“While some organizations may chose to cut out parts of onboarding to make it quicker, this is not recommended,” says Godson. “A solid onboarding process will help decrease turnover.”
And turnover will always be an important factor to consider. “For workforce planning, HR should also keep in mind turnover,” says Godson. “Some organizations only hire for the total people they need and they don’t account for turnover.” But Godson recommends a simple ratio: If 50 employees are required for the holiday season, HR should hire 20 additional candidates to account for fall out.