Holiday Hiring Blues?: 5 Tips to Find the Employees You Need
The latest monthly job figures confirm what most employers already know: it’s going to be another challenging year for retailers, restaurants, caterers, and hotels looking to staff up during the upcoming holiday season.
Overall, the strong economy is proving to be a double-edged sword for companies that rely heavily on an hourly workforce. The good news is that business indicators are looking strong through the end of the year, which means that sales will increase as people eat out, buy things, and travel for both business and pleasure. But with unemployment already at historic lows and the economy continuing to add jobs at a healthy pace, the competition for skilled hourly workers is ratcheting up even higher in what already is a tight labor market.
Snag is the largest online marketplace for hourly jobs in the U.S., matching our network of some 60 million job seekers with 300,000 employer sites nationwide. We recently partnered with Wakefield Research to develop the Snag Holiday Hiring Report for 2018. We surveyed 1,000 employers in the retail, restaurant, and hospitality space to get a snapshot of what to expect during the upcoming holiday hiring season.
The majority of employers we spoke with said that to meet the needs of their business they will have to hire more hourly workers during the fourth quarter than they did last year—with 86 percent saying they expect to face serious challenges in filling these temporary roles. A lack of qualified workers and competition from other employers are their major concerns. Restaurant servers, dishwashers, cashiers, bussers, line cooks, hostesses, and delivery drivers will be in the greatest demand between now and the end of the year.
5 holiday hiring strategies
Here are some of the strategies employers are using to cope with the tightest labor market in nearly two decades, and to make themselves an employer of choice for a workforce that has plenty of choices.
- Get a jump on the competition. Employers tell us they’ve ramped up their holiday hiring earlier than ever before. In previous years, the bulk of seasonal hiring took place in October. This year, the number of employers who began recruiting as early as mid-August has nearly tripled over last year.
- Expand outreach. A majority of employers (62 percent) have increased their use of social media to recruit hourly workers this year.
- Increase wages. Two-thirds of employers say they expect the hourly wages they pay seasonal employees will increase this year, driven in part by minimum wage hikes in many states and localities. Major retailers, including Walmart, CVS, Costco, and Target also have announced increases to their minimum wage.
- Benefits and perks. To attract workers, 77 percent of the employers we surveyed said they’ll be offering perks and benefits including paid time off, training opportunities, child care, tuition stipends, health insurance, and even transportation reimbursement. Starbucks, Walt Disney, Walmart, Taco Bell, Chipotle, and Lowe’s are among the companies now paying for their hourly workers to earn a college degree or other educational certificate.
- Flexible work options. Cava and Five Guys are among the companies partnering with Snag in the rollout of our new on-demand shifts service, which enables employers to find skilled workers for shifts that go unfilled because of turnover, callouts, or surges in demand. This allows employers get the workers they need when they need them most, while workers gain flexibility and greater control of their schedules. It’s a great solution for hourly workers looking to augment their existing hours, or who need to schedule their work around school or family obligations.
What else can employers do to recruit and retain the workers they need? Our research tells us that employers can reap huge benefits simply by making sure they’re providing people with a great place to work. Logic dictates that when people like their work environment, they are more likely to stick around longer, reducing turnover expenses.
And it turns out there’s another financial upside to providing a positive working environment. Snag recently analyzed data for a client with hundreds of retail locations across the U.S. and found that stores with lower turnover enjoyed 3 percent higher sales on average. It turns out the old business adage that happy workers equal happier customers is true. Treat your employees well and your business will benefit in more ways than one.
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