6 hiring tips for a Christmas workforce

ALEX LAMONT • 15 Nov 2021

Santa doesn’t have 50 temporary workers in his sack this year, so it’s likely you’re spending November racking your brains to figure out how you can bring a Christmas workforce into your business.

With budget expectations needing to be assessed for 2022, classic avenues like recruitment agencies may not be at the top of your priority list. The cost of a recruitment agency tends to range between 15% and 20% of a candidate's first annual salary, but this can go as high as 30% for hard to fill positions! So what considerations do Hiring Managers need to make when sourcing temporary staff themselves?

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Communicate contract terms

Whether you’re using an applicant tracking system, or relying solely on job boards like Indeed to reach out to staff, make sure you clearly communicate contract terms. Is there a chance that your new-hire will join the team permanently after Christmas? Make sure to tell them! What’s the pay? Don’t rest on the term flexible because the job market is turning away from vague promises like that!

Speed up and automate your application process

You might be a shop, bar, or restaurant Preparing for an influx of customers, so what you need from a temporary hire is that they’re confident in the role, and have a couple of shifts under their belt before the Christmas storm hits. If you have recruitment technology already in place, now is the time to make the most of the automation that will offer you.

If you’re a recruitment team still working from spreadsheets, make the application process as quick and painless as possible. Test your application form – can a candidate apply for the job in less than thirty minutes?

Click here to learn how to attract more candidates

Temporary employee insurance

This is the boring stuff – but it’s still incredibly important. Every employer in the UK needs to be covered by employer’s liability insurance. Assess your current policy, and check that it covers temporary hires. In most circumstances, this ought to be the case, but we’ve heard of situations where a business can be burned for missing the fine print!

If you’re unsure whether or not you’re current policy covers you, the easiest solution is to reach out to your insurance provider and let them know you’re taking on extra help. They will be able to advise on whether or not you’re covered to do so.

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Create an onboarding process just for temporary staff

Especially in industries like hospitality, we sometimes see an employer attitude that new hires are dispensable, so onboarding doesn’t happen in the way we might hope!

Because time is of the essence with a Christmas workforce, it might be useful to integrate training and onboarding into one. We’ve seen organisations use online modules for licencing and health & safety training prior to a candidate’s first day. This saves you contact time, and means you can dedicate in-person training to day-to-day tasks.

Stand out from competitors 

The philosophy behind hiring temporary staff isn’t that much different from hiring permanent employees. Deciding what sets you apart from the competition is key, and often that comes in the form of benefits.

For retail, differentiate yourself by advertising the staff discounts you offer. In the run up to Christmas, something as simple as 20% off the products you sell could make all the difference to a candidate, especially if they’re looking at Christmas presents!

For bars and restaurants, consider your tips policy and add this to the job advert. Do the owners give a Christmas bonus to staff once the dust has settled? Do they contribute to a staff night out? This can bring the permanent team and the new team together, and form bonds which carry into the new year.

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Use talent pools for boomerang hiring

Christmas can be trial-by-fire for customer service. If an employee can get through the December rush, they can get through anything, and that makes them gold-dust when you’re looking to hire again! However, what happens if you know a quiet January is looming on the horizon – and there won’t be hours for the workers who have helped pull you through the busy period?

The answer is simple – don’t give false promises to the Christmas staff but do give them a timeline where you’ll reach out again. Add them to a talent pool in your applicant tracking system, and log key details about them, such as whether or not they’ve worked with you before!

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