The smell of turkey is starting to fill the air, which means dedicated shoppers are already staking out their Black Friday campsites and boxy brown UPS trucks can be seen everywhere you go. The lead-up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all the other legendary shopping days is frenzied – and it’s great for business.
You’ve already recruited and hired your seasonal workers for the holidays, so now is the time to think about managing them in a way that makes your holiday hires clamber to come back next year and save yourself time and money in 2018.
In many cases, seasonal employees make up a significant percentage of the workforce. Target has announced that they would be hiring 100,000 team members and an additional 4,500 people for distribution centers (DCs) and fulfillment facilities this year, while UPS estimates about 98,000 seasonal hires. But with unemployment at a 16-year low of 4.2%, retailers that depend on seasonal workers are finding it tougher to find the help they need. Which is why – if you do hire a temporary workforce for the holidays – it’s critical to nurture and retain them as employees who want to come back year after year.
Here’s how Target, UPS, Williams-Sonoma and other retailers win at seasonal hiring:
1. Treat temps well.
As you manage your temporary workers through this hectic holiday season, think beyond just getting through the day. It’s easier said than done, of course, because everyone working retail feels the crush of keeping up. But if you take care of your people, make them feel like they are a part of the team, and make sure there are good perks and culture, they’ll be more likely to come back next year, which will significantly lessen your load as next year’s holiday season comes down the pike.
Target chief stores officer, Janna Potts, says “Target team members play such an important role in helping guests as they prepare to celebrate the holidays with their families. As always, we will provide our seasonal team members with meaningful opportunities to build and develop skills, and offer great benefits, including a variety of schedules and team member discounts.”
Related: To plan ahead for seasonal hiring, download the Ultimate Recruitment Planning Guide from Glassdoor and Jobvite.
2. Cater to flexibility.
Temporary seasonal workers are, by definition, flexible. So it pays to meet them where they are. Allow them to work the hours that fit their availability, whether that’s just certain days each week or nontraditional work hours like overnight shifts.
This year, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. announced that they would be hiring some seasonal sales associates to work from home – practically unheard of for temporary hires. With these positions, they offer 40% discount on most merchandise, fun contests, reward and recognition programs, growth opportunities, and paid virtual training from the comfort of your own home. And to meet the temporary workforce where they are, Target strategically hosts annual seasonal hiring events at every Target store in mid-October. During the events, candidates can stop in for on-site interviews for store positions with the opportunity to get a conditional job offer on the spot.
Related: For tips on how to quickly and effectively vet resumes for candidate fit, download Glassdoor’s Candidate Screening Checklist.
3. Offer good discounts.
While no specific perks are listed on the website, Glassdoor reviews show that the employee discounts at both J.Crew and Madewell are excellent. At Target, they recognize that “as team members take care of our guests, we also want to make sure they take care of themselves and their families too.” Which is why Target offers a number of compelling benefits, including market-competitive wages and a variety of schedules, plus a 10% merchandise discount and an additional 20% off wellness-oriented products.
4. Use Glassdoor and social media to show workplace culture.
Let people know your employees are having fun on the job via Glassdoor and social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing candids of your temporary workforce enjoying their gig helps cement their camaraderie while acting as a recruitment technique for future years.
Madewell, owned by J.Crew, launched a seasonal hiring campaign this year with signs in windows and social media pushes using the slogan: “A job so cool, we hesitate to call it work.”
And Target uses social media and their Glassdoor profile to showcase employees enjoying their workdays. Their Glassdoor page features hundreds of candid photos from stores all over the world, plus a prominent link to their blog that’s all about “what life is like inside the bullseye.”
UPS, who hired around 95,000 seasonal employees this year, advertise their seasonal hiring efforts prominently on Glassdoor. They also have a strong social media campaign, featuring many posts like this one that highlights the growth opportunities of part-time, seasonal work.
Related: Show job seekers what it’s like to work at your organization by creating an amazing “Why Work For Us” section on Glassdoor.
5. Share stories of successful seasonal employees.
In an interview with Jeff Patrick, a Target store leader who started his eight-year career with the company as a seasonal team member, he personifies the ultimate brand ambassador, saying, “My favorite day of the year to work is Black Friday. There’s this great moment where the team huddles up right before the doors open. We get ourselves pumped up for the night ahead and get ready to help all the guests waiting outside to get what they need and have a great time. At that point, we’ve spent hours – days – getting the store looking great and the products stocked so everything’s ready to go, and it all comes down to that big moment. You can really feel the energy.”
When asked what advice he has for new seasonal team members joining Target this year, Patrick says, “Work hard, show that you can give guests great service, and be vocal about your interests – let your leaders know if you want to try out a different role or learn a new skill so they can help you. And take advantage of the opportunity to make personal and professional connections. I get to help teammates and guests all the time and I love going home at the end of each day knowing I made a difference.”
Designing a plan for fostering employee engagement can be overwhelming at first because it requires holistic thinking. That’s why we’ve created a series of quick-start templates. Download 8 Employee Engagement Templates to Help Improve Your Employer Brand to jumpstart the communications that will serve to build your employer brand, helping with seasonal hires and year-round recruiting alike!