Holiday season isn't just about cheer, gifts, and taking time off of work to be with family. In many industries, holiday season is crunch time. Orders fly in, and tasks that were put off in previous months are rushed to completion before the year's end. As a result, an increased strain is placed on hubs, logistics centers, factories and administrative personnel.
Some companies respond to the hectic holiday season by hiring temporary workers. Just last year, Amazon brought on 120,000 seasonal workers in 27 states. These temps worked across departments: in sortation centers, fulfillment centers and in customer service.
Will you employ holiday hires? With an increased demand on your employees, a temporary support staff could be your solution. But managing change, however temporary, isn't easy. Here are some important tips to remember as you plan for the holiday staff-up.
- Develop Continuity with HR Staff - Understand what a contractor or temp worker will need on their very first day. Will they require an orientation with HR? Do you have the bandwidth to create a shortened training manual? Do they understand the chain of command if they have questions, or if they need to escalate warehouse or facility issues or potential emergencies? Temp workers will have diverse backgrounds and may not naturally conform to your company culture and code of conduct. Reinforce vital HR information from the get-go to avoid problems down the road. Strategize with your HR staff ahead of time, so that the influx of new workers won't cause a major disruption.
- Create a Clear Project Scope - When a temp worker joins your staff, make sure they understand the length of your project, the scope of their daily duties, and who they report to. Contractors must hit the ground running. Don't add to the confusion by making them fumble for these details on their own. The sooner a temp is trained, the sooner they can ease the burden placed on your overstretched permanent staff.
- Make Temporary Workers Feel Temporarily Permanent - Temporary workers may only stick around for a little while. But while they're around, they need to develop a sense of cohesion with your other staff. You need to treat them as though they're "temporarily permanent." It may be as simple as introducing them to the other individuals they'll be working with. Onboard your temp workers so that they have a sense of team spirit.
- Create Feedback Channels - Don't be afraid to give and ask for feedback. Contractors and temp workers bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, and may be able to see your business from a different perspective. If you don't take the time to ask for feedback, you could be missing an opportunity to draw advice from an experienced project manager or a technical expert. Similarly, give constructive feedback when appropriate. Your temp workers are more likely to do well if they feel you are invested in them beyond being an interchangeable, seasonal pair of hands.
- Prepare Emergency Management Plans - The unpredictability of supply chains, weather, technical issues and human error means that you expect the unexpected. A well-trained contractor can quickly become an ally in the face of emergency. Emergency management looks different for every company, but there are certain key details you need to consider, no matter what. If something goes wrong, how will you coordinate shut-offs? Who can be contacted after business hours in the event of a crisis? What tasks are delegated to permanent staff, and which tasks can be managed by contractors? Put the framework in place for quick alerts and efficient communication. One way to safeguard against a procedural breakdown is by using a mass notification system like AtHoc Alert. Timing can be critical, so don't want to lose valuable minutes with confused contractors. Make sure that you've communicated about damage control in a worst-case scenario.
- Keep in Touch with Contractors - When the holiday season is over, you'll probably need to scale your staff back down. Make sure to stay in touch with your best temps and contractors. For those who have done an outstanding job, make a note of that somewhere. You don't need to start over from scratch every year. As soon as your staffing needs increase again, you'll have a roster of qualified workers that have already been trained at your facility.
Learn how BlackBerry AtHoc's Crisis Communication Platform can help streamline two-way communication with your workers, especially seasonal hires, ensuring a happy and productive holiday season for your company. Request a demo.