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Many businesses are gearing up for holiday hiring. The holiday sales surge serves up equal doses of thrill, anxiety, and reward to business owners and managers. Amongst all that excitement, and all those exhausting hours, the last thing you want to worry about is not having enough staff to pull it all off. A well-trained work force will keep your operations running steady during the holiday buzz.

Start Early Especially for businesses with huge fluctuations, preparing a seasonal staff shouldn’t take precedence only during the holiday months. The search for competent employees should continue all year round. The first place you should look to find employees is your part-time staff list. By drawing from a pool of workers already familiar with your organization, you can be assured that they will catch on quickly with the everyday operations.

You should also look for and cultivate certain traits among prospective hires. Starting early gives you an early indication at who will break the greatest strides during those crucial holiday months.

What to Look For and Where It’s very possible that your part-time staff simply can’t fill all the holes you have in your roster. This highlights another reason to start ahead of time: you need to assess the upcoming needs and anticipate where you’ll have to make the biggest changes. Once you create your roadmap, it’s time to fill in the blanks. Do you need more sales strength? Maybe you need an extra set of hands in the stock room? Are there specific time slots that have more demand?

Train Often For the average small business owner, customer service can and should be one of your greatest distinctions. Along with product expertise and specialty, it’s one area where you can outpace your competition. Customer service and sales training is a critical component of success during the holidays. But don’t expect any overnight miracles. You should always aim to get your seasonal hires to buy into your mission and really ‘wow’ the customers every time they walk in.

Promote Progress Seasonal employees not only give you an extra boost during the busy season, but they also provide a repository of talent should you have full-time hiring needs in the future. From that standpoint, you can look at the work almost like a two or three month job interview. It’s also important to identify both tangible and intangible achievements when making full-time employment decisions. Maybe some workers may not have pulled in as much commission as others, but were always helping out around the store. By contrast, maybe some employees only stuck it out for the promise of holiday discounts. For the ones who put in the effort and did stand out, be sure to reward their success by at least letting them know that you’ll consider them for full-time work when you expect to have turnover.

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