By Liz Cronin
Recruitment & Induction Specialist, Key Business Advisors
To maximise every customer opportunity for your business, you must ensure that you have the correct levels of competent staff particularly during the Christmas season, which is when many businesses, especially those in the retail industry, make a substantial amount of their annual income.
Strategic workforce planning helps reduce costs associated with staffing and provides a sound basis for making HR decisions. Moreover, workforce planning helps you ensure that you have competent staff; engaged teams who take less leave and ease the pressure on their colleagues and managers; and higher revenues.
Even though the silly season is fast approaching, it is not too late to implement effective workforce planning – that is, have the right people with the right capabilities in the right place at the right time.
The first thing you need to do for effective workforce planning is to forecast your targets and required staffing levels based on your figures and successes from previous years. Assess your current staff’s capabilities, ensure they know your expectations of them regarding their availability, and confirm as early as possible the dates when any of your staff would be on annual leave.
Next, determine who the right people are for your business, and how many of them you need during the Christmas period. Consider casual or short-term contract employees, who are ideal for the Christmas shopping season. You can hire casual employees early and have them fully trained and available for the busy times. Their hours can then be reduced, or they can cease employment with your business after the busy season.
After you’ve determined how many extra staff you need for the silly season, you then need to find them. The cost of advertising depends on the media outlet you choose – an ad in the newspaper may be cheaper, but I would recommend advertising your vacancies online to reach more people, including strong potential candidates who might not be in your area but are looking to relocate. Moreover, one of Australia’s major online jobs sites now offers free job listings, so there is no excuse not to be professional with the way you approach every step of the recruitment process.
How do you quickly find staff for the Christmas period? I would recommend designating the first week of November for advertising vacancies and screening resumes. Fast-track the interviews, reference checking, and making job offers. By November, you should have some new staff commencing work for your business. Ensure your new staff are not overwhelmed with the systems in your business or the volume of customers by pairing them with a senior team member who can support and guide them during the first few weeks.
Plan months ahead of time for the next busy period to spare yourself any added stress as the year winds up. To ensure you can focus on the recruitment process for the subsequent busy periods, kick-start the hiring process in July. Break down the process and estimate the time you need for each step. If managed well, effective recruitment does not need to take up a lot of your time.
Below is a recommendation on how you can spend only a couple of hours per day or even per week to recruit great staff for your business:
- Advertising and accepting applications: 2-4 weeks
- Screening resumes and candidates: 1 week
- Interviewing candidates (up to four candidates for each position): 1-2 weeks
- Notice period (after you have done reference checking and offered the job, successful candidates are required to give notice to their current employers): up to 4 weeks
- Induction and training to set your new employees up for success: approximately 12 weeks.
Click here to download our 7 Tips for Successful Recruitment. For more information or if you require assistance with your recruitment needs, call our Recruitment Department on 1300 4 ADVICE or email firstname.lastname@example.org.