Spotlight On The 2015 Holiday Season and How to Hire

While the average person may barely even be considering the holidays right now, for businesses that need to hire seasonal employees the time is now.

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Amazon Holiday Hiring

This week Amazon announced its holiday hiring plans, and it appears they’re going to be ramping things up, which could indicate a strengthening retail season.

Being one of the world’s number one global e-Commerce retailers, Amazon often sets trends in a number of ways, one of which is holiday hiring.

The online retailer recently announced it would be hiring a whopping 100,000 people for the holidays, which represents a 25 percent increase from last year. Last year Amazon brought on 80,000 holiday-specific employees.

The Seattle-based company also just hired 25,000 people to fill full-time, year-round positions.

“It used to be that the bulk of holiday hires would be in customer-facing positions on the sales floor and behind the cash register, said CEO said John Challenger. “These extra workers would also help pick up the slack in the backroom, helping to receive and stock increased deliveries. Now, as more and more shopping is completed online, the holiday hiring is shifting away from stores and into the warehouses.”

The National Retail Federation released data showing their own predictions for holiday spending. Online sales and all holiday spending are anticipated to rise 3.7 percent this year, for a total of $630.5 billion. That would be less than the 4.1 percent increase seen last year, although NRF predicts online spending will jump to an 8 percent increase, as opposed to the 6 percent increase seen last year.

Other major retailers have announced their own holiday hiring plans. Wal-Mart says it will hire 60,000-holiday employees; Target says they’ll bring on 70,000 and Macy’s says there will be 85,000-holiday hires.

Many of the holiday hires for all of these companies are expected to be primarily utilized in the warehouses where online orders are fulfilled.

Beginning Your Holiday Hiring

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 12.47.06 PMYou may not have a company that’s of the magnitude of Amazon, but these recent announcements do demonstrate that now is the time to begin holiday hiring.

The job search site Monster released an article reflecting their views of this year’s holiday hiring scramble, saying the potential for a strong buying season coupled with low unemployment could make this an interesting season that errs on the side of the employee.

Monster reports many labor experts are warning companies they could feel the squeeze when it comes time to fill holiday positions, and it could become a competition to source the talent they need.

Along with the challenges that come with a lowered unemployment rate, there’s also likely to be a slight rise in wages for seasonal employees. While some businesses may be reluctant to pay a high wage for someone that’s temporary, it’s advantageous. Many companies that do holiday hiring, including hospitality, retail, and restaurants, depend a great deal on their holiday season performance. You may find yourself paying a little more to get the best possible talent right now, but you’re also protecting yourself against risks like poor customer service that can not only ruin a holiday season but also stick with your company’s reputation well after December 25th has come and gone.

Filling Those Holiday Positions

The good news is that while it may be more challenging to fill seasonal positions this year than it was last year, if you get a head start you’re likely to be able to find and attract the talent you need.

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Consider these holiday hiring tips:

  • Before you begin looking outside of your organization for holiday hiring, you may want to look within. The holidays aren’t just a busy time for businesses—it’s also a time when your employees might be willing to take on extra work to buy gifts. Ask your current employees if they’d be willing to pick up extra time as holiday help, and you’ll have less outside hiring that has to be done. You can also ask employees for references and provide perks for holiday hiring referrals. Many employees may know a friend or family member looking for holiday work, and you’ll save time and money when it comes to recruiting.
  • As well as looking at full-time employees wanting additional work, think about your seasonal hires from last year. They may be willing to come back again this year, which will save you time in the onboarding and training process.
  • Many employers invest in specific holiday talent management strategies so they can build and strengthen their pool all year. Consider organizing your holiday employees using talent management software, just as you would your year-round employees. Not only will it help you save time, but you can foster relationships with holiday talent throughout the year, even when they’re not working.
  • When you do create a holiday job posting don’t just use the one from last year. You want your postings to be accurate, up-to-date and reflect, what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to provide. Make sure employees know the position is seasonal and give them as many details in the posting as is possible. This will help you weed out employees that aren’t actually looking for temporary or seasonal employment.
  • Be prepared for interviews. Holiday hiring is unique when it comes to interviews because you don’t have the luxury of time. This leaves it up to hiring managers and business leaders to be prepared in order to expedite interviews and drill down to the core of what you’re seeking.
  • Don’t approach the holiday hiring process with the concept of “temporary” at the forefront of your mind. When you structure hiring around a temporary mindset, you may not take the time to find the best employees. If you do work to find the very best holiday talent, these people may end up being a long-term asset to your business.
  • Focus recruiting efforts around retirees or college students. These are two great groups for holiday hiring because they tend to have strong skills and flexible schedules, both of which are crucial to finding holiday talent.

Do you plan to hire holiday employees this year? If so, when will you start the hiring process and what methods will you use?

October 23, 2015   Updated :September 19, 2016      

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