For retailers in the U.S., Thanksgiving Day marks the eve of the most hectic day of the entire year: Black Friday. The National Retail Federation estimates 137.4 million shoppers will hit stores this year looking for deals. In order to cope with the influx of shoppers, which starts Thursday but continues through the New Year, retailers have been onboarding and training hundreds of thousands of seasonal hires over the past few months.
But adding new hires to the workflow in bulk and preparing them for busiest time of the year in just a few months is no easy feat. That's why employers are increasingly focused on the hiring and onboarding process — finding employees that fit in with their culture and dedicating time and resources to train them.
What does seasonal hiring look like this year, and why should retailers invest in training? We dug into some research to find out.
There's a Hiring Rush
Unemployment rates are down, amping up competition among retailers for a limited supply of seasonal workers. With retailers set to onboard more than 700,000 new employees this holiday season, many are tailoring their recruiting strategies to ensure they lock down top talent.
Brands Are Looking for the Perfect Fit
Finding seasonal hires that fit in with the culture of an organization is increasingly important to retailers. In 2015, nearly 20 percent said finding staff who align with their brand and culture was a growing focus, compared to only 4 percent the previous year.
Denise Domian, senior vice president of HR at national retailer Bon-Ton said, "We do group onboarding sessions to save time, but we also make sure that every employee is trained on our mission, vision and values, so that they understand what we expect from a customer service standpoint, how we want to collaborate and the caring environment that we want represented within our interactions with each other and our customers."
Making sure your employees fit in is especially important when you consider 63 percent of retailers indicate they plan to hire at least one-tenth of their seasonal employees on a full-time basis after the holidays.
The Training Payoff
Seasonal hires are the engine that keep businesses running during the holiday season, so it's not surprising that training new hires is key to holiday season success. A recent workforce study by IBM, which analyzed the best and worst performing organizations, found that 84 percent of employees in best performing organizations received the training they needed, a full 68 percent better than the worst performing companies.
Suzanne Lucas, an HR expert also known as the Evil HR Lady weighed in, "Don't skimp on the training. Too often managers think 'they are only temps' and don't bother to go through the regular training routine. Temps need even better training because you're bringing them in when they will be slammed every day. This isn't an area you can cut."
Research shows there is a payoff in investing in your talent, too. In fact, training results in 22 percent faster rollout of products and processes.
Header photo: Twenty20
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