30th November, 2018

How to deal with seasonal staff

Let’s just say you’re a manufacturing and logistics business specialising in toys for every good girl and boy, and you need seasonal staff to get you through a large order this month…

How do you go about it?

This may be a magical time of year for boys and girls around the world, but behind the scenes it’s a mad dash to the finish line for many businesses.

As we approach the Christmas season many businesses are gearing up for their busiest time of year, so hiring extra helping hands for the workshop may be on the agenda.

How do you best do this to make sure you’re not understaffing or overstaffing? What do you need to do to make sure you can concentrate on what you do best?

Plan ahead…

If you’ve been a good boy or girl over the past year, you’ve kept sales and staffing records from the last year.

There’s a reason why more data is on the Christmas wish list of every business owner big or small.

If you know what happened last Christmas and how you dealt with that, refine the process for this year.

If you don’t have this data, you’re pretty much putting the blinkers on Rudolph. His red nose may usually guide the way, but he may not know where he’s going.

That’s a big problem if you’re in a sleigh behind him.

…but expect the unexpected

There’s an old statistician’s tale which begins:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

But that doesn’t they won’t be stirring next year

Because previous outcomes do not imply the future events and one year is an incomplete dataset anyhow…

Rhyming isn’t exactly a statistician’s strong suit, but the logic is sound.

Using historical data to predict the future may be useful, but it’s no perfect thing.

It’s important to have a plan but be sufficiently ready for when it all goes haywire – and it usually will this time of year.

Do I need more helping hands?

If you decide that a few more elves in the workshop wouldn’t go astray, then it’s time to hire.

An important part of the process is planning out leave for existing staff in advance so you know how many hours you have to cover in addition to the Christmas crush.

Then think about what kind of elf you want to bring into the workshop.

If the new elves will be on casual contracts to cover just the Christmas period, make sure you check all the right boxes

It will be a hectic time, but you’ll get through it – just like you did last year and just like you will next year.

What’s most important is that you look after yourself and don’t sweat the small stuff.