Tips for enhancing seasonal hiring success

The holidays are right around the corner and, as we recently discussed, many companies - especially retail, transportation and warehousing companies - are ramping up efforts to hire seasonal workers. Utilizing temporary employees during the holidays has long been a popular practice of organizations across a wide range of industries. However, given the tight labor market and shortage of skilled talent available, the recruitment landscape is incredibly competitive this year, even though a large portion of companies started their holiday recruitment efforts earlier than usual.  

Seasonal hiring challenges supply chains
According to a holiday hiring report recently released by Snagajob, 90 percent of employers plan to hire this year, with 86 percent saying they expect to transition temporary workers to full-time employee positions once the holidays are behind us. And while this is great news for those looking for temp positions, it is somewhat concerning for the hiring companies.

Planning - or wanting - to hire seasonal workers is one thing, but actually being able to do it is an entirely different story. This is a harsh reality many businesses are already starting to face this year. Snagajob revealed that almost all, or 82 percent, of employers are finding it difficult to fill the temporary positions they have open. The biggest obstacles they are facing include:

  • Lack of qualified applicants
  • Lack of available talent
  • Heightened competition

Holiday hiring can be difficult, but it is not impossible. The key is to go about it carefully and strategically. However, you also need to act quickly. The holidays are fast approaching, and the longer you wait to begin your seasonal recruitment, the less chance you have of gaining the top talent you desire.

Lessons from the best
Supply Chain Digital recently pointed out that, when it comes to temporary hiring, a notable company to learn from is UPS.  Last year, on its busiest day of the season, the shipping organization managed to successfully deliver more than 36 million packages - which is at least twice the amount that arrive on an average day. How did it do it? One of the well-known strategies exercised by UPS is to ramp up temporary hires. According to SCD, this year, UPS anticipates adding approximately 1,300 temp workers - so, clearly, there is a thing or two that other employers can learn from this company. Below are some of those nuggets of advice:

Cut to the chase
When it comes to holiday hiring, time is of the essence. You don't have as much leeway when it comes to vetting candidates right now as you otherwise would. To optimize the recruitment process, you need to make sure you are asking the right questions. For example, do candidates work well under pressure? Do their schedules allow them to work the kind of hours your company's holiday season demands?

Create an ideal candidate profile
It is important to figure out ahead of time what it is you need in a temporary worker. Creating an ideal candidate profile can help you more quickly and efficiently filter out those who don't meet the preferred requirements. However, given that the market is so competitive right now, it also recommended that you establish ahead of time what you are willing to negotiate on. For example, maybe hires need to have retail experience, but you're willing to compromise on the type of inventory management system they are skilled in using. Decide which aspects of the role you can sacrifice for the sake of your immediate needs.

Outsource if necessary
There are certain situations where it is highly recommended you outsource seasonal hiring. For example, if you don't have the in-house talent, time or means to do it in the tight budget or timeframe you need to, a staffing agency will prove helpful. Another scenario where it makes a lot of sense to outsource is if temporary hiring and seasonal workers are not an area of business you are familiar with. Since there are certain compliance and regulatory requirements with temporary worker contracts, inexperienced employers will often be better served to outsource these functions to avoid landing in hot water with the law.

To make the most of your existing workforce and maximize productivity during what is likely the busiest time of the year for your company, take advantage of the opportunity to outsource certain services. Streamlining certain tasks and functions to third-party providers during the holidays can help take some of the lower-priority tasks off the plate of core, top performers and free them up to focus on more critical aspects of the supply chain. Whether it is to a temporary staffing agency or third-party logistics company, outsourcing can be an incredibly valuable and cost-effective solution to utilize during the chaotic holiday season.

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