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3 Ways a Small Business Can Meet Its Holiday Help Needs

By Daniel B. Kline – Updated Sep 25, 2019 at 2:45PM

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It's not easy to find workers to fill seasonal needs, so it's important to get started now.

A lack of available workers will make the holiday season a challenge for companies of all sizes. Some of the bigger retailers have already begun ramping up their seasonal hiring efforts. That puts more pressure on small business owners to figure out how to meet their holiday season employee needs sooner rather than later.

That's not going to be an easy thing to do, but it's possible if you're clever. Get started now in order to make sure you have enough people -- and the right people -- to succeed during the holiday season.

A man holding a sign reading join our team.

It's important to start your holiday hiring now. Image source: Getty Images.

1. Talk to your staff

Before you hire anyone, you should talk to your existing staff. Find out if any part-timers want more hours or if any full-time staff want holiday overtime. You don't want to push people too hard, but you want to make sure you keep your regular workers happy before you bring anyone in.

Have a staff meeting and talk about what your holiday plans are. Will you be opening for more hours than you normally do? Will you need early-morning or late-night help? Whatever your needs are, talk about them in order to see how your regular team might meet your seasonal needs.

2. Look inside the family

Ask your employees if they know anyone looking for seasonal work. You might find that workers have children, relatives, or friends who meet your needs.

You should also be open to past workers coming back. It's possible that people who have left to work elsewhere might take on weekend or evening shifts. Also consider those who have recently retired who would like to make some extra spending money. Be open and cast as wide of a net as possible.

3. Offer flexibility

Big retailers have a harder time coming up with personal plans for workers. If you find someone you want to hire who needs flexibility, work with that person to make it happen.

That might mean working around the needs of someone with young kids or scheduling around an employee who cares for an elderly parent. Whatever the needs are, be open to working around them if the potential employee brings enough value.

Lean into being small

As a small-business owner, you should lean into your strengths. You can be clever and flexible in ways that larger companies struggle to do. In addition, you can also make your work environment a pleasant place to work.

The holiday season is busy but it should also be rewarding for workers. Make sure you offer a supportive environment. Doing things like buying lunch for your team on a busy day goes a long way. Little touches like having coffee ready when you open early or making sure your late-night crew has a safe way to get home can make your company a more desirable place to work.

Figure out your holiday hiring needs now and start making a plan. Be open to creative solutions and include your staff in formulating a plan.

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