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Holiday Hiring Tips for Small Business Owners

Christmas is almost here, and with a slew of public holidays on the horizon, now is the time to ensure that your team is ready for the most critical sales season of the year. In fact, according to the Bank of England, the average UK household spends over £500 more than their usual monthly budget when December rolls around and British consumers are set to spend a staggering £20 billion this Christmas.  Whether you’re selling gifts or clearing end-of-season stock in a retail store or a food and beverage business, you probably need some extra hands in place to ensure that business runs smoothly.

Here are four things you should be thinking about now to prepare for a busy holiday trading season:

Determine your hiring needs.

Before you kick off recruitment, spend some time analysing your previous year’s holiday sales data to determine your staffing needs. Using your point-of-sale and analytics software helps you pinpoint the best time to hire more people.

Look for employees who are ready to go.

Finding and attracting seasonal staff who don’t require a lot of training helps expedite onboarding and ensures that you’re not wasting time (and money!) on fruitless recruitment. Use effective interview questions to evaluate whether your candidate is prepared to hit the ground running.

Don’t skimp on training seasonal employees.

Once hiring is complete, review your training strategies and set customer service and sales expectations that your team can agree to. Consider elevating a more experienced, long-term employee to a team manager position — you’ll empower them with the additional responsibility of training new staff and give yourself an extra set of eyes to manage the group.

Speaking of training, always remember to cover the basics. If your newly recruited staff come from a non-fashion retail background, for example, you may need to train them on something as simple as how to fold clothes for packing. During the season you may also want to train your staff up on the art of gift wrapping or how to serve Christmas exclusive drinks with the perfect garnish.

Know the holiday wage rules.

Be aware of public holiday wages and how they apply to your rostering. Christmas Day and Boxing Day as well as New Year’s Day do not have to be given as paid leave. Most employers can also choose to include these days as part of the 5.6 weeks they must offer employees as paid holiday.

You should also be clear about how to pay overtime during extended opening hours. Unless written into your worker’s contracts, it is not compulsory for them to work overtime. Similarly, if agreed upon in your contract with your employer, you may also wish to provide ‘time off in lieu’ instead of payment.

Now you have a checklist to work to, you can get started right away to ensure you’re prepared for a stress-free holiday season!