November 15, 2018

3 Best Practices for Managing Your Retail Staff During the Holidays


If you work in the retail industry, you know we’re heading into the busiest time of the year. To accommodate for the surge of holiday season shoppers, American retailers are expected to hire between 585,000 and 650,000 temporary workers, according to The National Retail Federation.

That’s a ton of new workers — and if you’re a manager, they’re all your responsibility. You need to be prepared to hire, onboard, and schedule this temporary workforce with maximum efficiency.

To set your new team members up for success, you’ll need a plan. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Every New Staff Member Needs Training

Holiday hiring happens at a grueling speed, but it’s still important to give new staff members the tools they need to succeed on the job. Whether they’re with the company for a week, a month, or 10 years, employees need proper training and guidance. Otherwise, you’re doing the entire team — and your customers — a disservice.

If you try to rush through training or skip over things they “just won’t need,” you could be sending new hires out into the store unprepared. This can have serious negative repercussions for your holiday business. Be sure to give seasonal workers as much guidance as your full-time employees get — and be sure to hold them just as accountable, too. This will set the right expectations for their performance during their time with the company.

2. Don’t Lose Sight of Your Goals

Temporary workers need goals and benchmarks, too. Just because a staff member may only be working with you for a few months, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have clear sales metrics to meet or sales incentives to earn. Hitting critical holiday sales numbers requires every member of the team to be involved and invested.

Keep in mind that you never know when you’re going to find your next sales superstar. If a holiday hire consistently hits their sales goals, consider bringing them on board full-time at the end of the season.

3. Tap Into Technology

Scheduling your temporary staff is one of the trickiest parts of successfully navigating the holiday season. It is hard to ensure coverage at all the right times while giving your best hours to your best salespeople. Outdated methods like paper schedules and time clocks do nothing but slow down management. The more time spent on manual scheduling, the less time invested in making sales.

To make sure you have the right person in the right store at the right time, turn to talent scheduling software for help. That way, you can spend less time scheduling and more time launching new products, hosting training sessions, and driving sales. Drive your staff’s success through the holidays and into the new year with software that lets you manage schedules, track budgets, and set sales goals.

Glenn Laumeister is the CEO of AllWork, a talent-matching platform for brands and retailers.

Read more in Management Styles

Glenn Laumeister is an experienced technology leader who is currently the CEO of AllWork. He has launched and scaled numerous technology businesses, including the freelancer marketplaces CoachMarket, for executive coaching and corporate training consultants, and Thuzio, a "digital talent agent" for professional athletes. After beginning his career working for General Motors in Germany, Glenn worked at CUC International,, and Idealab. He then cofounded Partsearch/, an eCommerce and enterprise software business for consumer electronics, computer, and appliance replacement parts. He grew Partsearch from an idea to more than $75 million in revenue and won an Inc. 500 award for leading one of the fastest growing companies in America.