As a small business owner, you're used to being a Jack-of-all-trades, working long hours, and digging deep to get things done. Whether you want to admit it or not, during the holiday season you might need some extra help to fulfill all of those rush orders, take care of seasonal clients, and keep up with the demands of the busy holiday season.
Develop a Seasonal Hiring Strategy
It's easy to say you need additional help during the holidays, but narrowing down the specifics around what kind of help you need, how much, and for long takes some planning.
Think about what's needed to keep your small business running smoothly during the holiday season. Do you need an extra set of hands to pick and pack orders, want someone to staff an extra cash station, or would like to add another delivery driver to your roster?
Defining the details around what you want your seasonal staff to do, the hours you need to be covered, and the specific skills that are required are key to both recruiting high-quality candidates and maximizing the return on investment you'll get from the extra help.
Seasonal Employee or Contractor?
How you classify your holiday help can have a big impact on the amount of time and money that you spend to onboard seasonal workers.
In many cases, using an independent contractor is to your advantage as a small business owner, especially when you are clear about exactly what you want your holiday help to do. This approach avoids the need to list the contractor on your company payroll, which can mean lower costs related to payroll processing and deductions. However, you may want to check your local labor laws to verify the ins-and-outs of using a contractor vs. hiring a temp employee.
Create a Clear Job Description
Job-seekers want to know exactly what they're getting into, especially when it comes to short-term employment. Make a clear, bulleted list that details what workers will be doing, for how long, and under what conditions. What are the hours of work? Will your temp be lifting heavy boxes, standing for extended periods of time, or working in the cold?
The more detail you can include in your job description, the better the chances are of connecting with a qualified candidate. More importantly, a detailed outline of the tasks you expect your holiday workers to perform can go a long way towards reducing any misunderstandings and issues that might arise during their time with your company.
Contact Former Staff Members First
If you have hired seasonal workers in the past who you were happy with, start your recruitment efforts by contacting them first. Not only does this mean you could onboard an employee who has a proven track record with your company, but if you're hiring more than one temp, you could ask past employees to recruit family members, classmates and friends as well.
Use Your Social Media Feed to Find Extra Holiday Help
Social media is quickly becoming one of the most popular places to find employees, so it simply makes sense to post your holiday vacancies on your Facebook page, Twitter feed, and other social media sites. Better yet, because social media algorithms are usually geo-targeted, you'll be able to hone in on prospective employees in your area.
Remember to make your post 'shareable' so that your audience can spread the word to their contacts.
Target High Schools and Colleges
Students are often the ones who fill holiday positions, thanks to the fact that school breaks coincide with the busiest times at retail outlets, restaurants, and other small businesses.
Contact your local colleges and high schools to see if there is a job board where you can post your job opening, and don't forget to post an ad in your storefront window as well.
Consider Older Workers
Think about posting a job ad at your local senior center, retirement community, or another place where seniors are likely to spot it. Many retirees welcome the chance to earn a few extra dollars over the holiday season, and chances are good you may even find a temp employee who has extensive experience in your industry.
Offer Special Perks
If you can't afford to pay premium wages to your holiday employees, think of other ways to make it enticing for someone to spend the festive season working with your small business.
Things like special employee discounts on products and services, company 'swag', and even free merchandise can help boost your recruitment efforts and incentivize your temps to seek out short-term work with your business. Consider including a bonus for employees who stay on to the end of the holiday season as a way to discourage your holiday help from quitting before the busy time is over.