Just as retail footfall increases store staff want a holiday!

Does this sound familiar to you? School holidays are classically a time when retailers experience increased footfall. Of course, this is also exactly the time when key staff want to book time off to spend with their kids! Managing the holiday period, balancing keeping the sales line up with having key personnel away, is always a challenge.

Managing staff holiday in a smaller retail business

When it comes to managing staff holidays small businesses always struggle – not just retailers. However, retailers do have the opportunity to plan and prepare to have well trained resources available for exactly the periods of time when regular staff are looking forward to a break.

The answer is students. During term time most students can only manage weekend work – good for the retailers as you can take them on for your busiest periods, ensure regular staff get some weekends off every month, AND get the weekend staff trained up. Students ALWAYS need extra cash – and they’re usually available full time during the school holiday periods too. Therefore if you play your cards right, you can be sure to have competent, loyal, well trained staff available just when you need them.

Planning ahead – where to find staff to cover for the next wave of holidays?

It’s simple really – approach your local University, colleges and 6th form – ask if you can advertise weekend / holiday positions on the notice boards or intranet. Still ensure you go through a professional interview and selection process, and always ensure you provide good quality training – but tap into your local community and you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be to get the right kind of cover for your retail business.

Get your student work-force trained during part-time weekend hours in term-time so that when it comes to  school holidays you’ll be confident letting your regular full timers take holiday, allowing your student workforce to rise to the challenge of providing cruical holiday cover for your regular staff.

Having the right mix of staff available to cover seasonal peaks and troughs is key!

Having the right mix of staff available to the business to cover peaks and troughs in demand, seasonal variations and key staff holiday cover is a great benefit. You’ll know your customer experience is un-compromised and you’ll be able to capitalise on increased seasonal footfall. Now is the time to start thinking about where can you best source the ideal resources to support you during the Easter holidays and also the longer, Summer holidays. If you start the recruitment process now, your new team will be competent by the time you need them most.


About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email champion@retailchampion.co.uk.
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