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.