Attracting applicants for seasonal jobs is an increasing concern for retailers given the improving economy and the fact that more people are shopping this year. As a result, many retailers are doing more than just offering employee discounts to differentiate themselves from competitors and attract top talent.

According to a new iCIMS report, 6 Tips to Score a Part-Time Job During the Holidays, almost half of retail hiring managers plan to hire more seasonal workers this year than they did last year. It can be hard enough to attract applicants to seasonal jobs, but maintaining your seasonal workforce is another task altogether. Successful retail employers offer incentives to keep employees engaged throughout the holiday season and entice them to return next year.

“If employees know their work is valued by the employer, they are more likely to remain engaged throughout the holiday shopping season and therefore more likely to reflect positively on your company’s brand,” says iCIMS CMO Susan Vitale.

The iCIMS report offers tips on how to attract talent based on a survey of recruiting professionals in the retail industry. Employers were asked how they incentivize candidates to keep them working through the holiday season and returning in the future:

- 52 percent of employers offer a bonus
- 46 percent of employers offer a higher hourly wage
- 35 percent of employers offer the opportunity for seasonal positions to become permanent after the holidays

“Another way to maintain work quality is to set daily or weekly goals for your store,” says Vitale. “Everyone can benefit from healthy competition. Maybe you reward the employee with the first sale of the day with a coffee or a longer lunch break, or [you can] treat your staff to an increased employee discount on in-store items for reaching weekly goals. Everyone wins!”

Starting a new job can be overwhelming for any employee, which may be why job seekers continue to rank training as a top employment perk. Training provides the opportunity for open conversations between managers and employees about what’s expected in the role and keeps everyone on the same page.

“If your company is looking to take on a few full-time employees after the season, make that clear with seasonal employees from the start,” says Vitale. “Knowing there is potential for full-time work could keep employees more engaged.”

cookiesGiven all of the demands placed on retail employees during the holiday season, employee burnout is a distinct possibility. Managers can ease some of the stress by embracing the season and preparing staff for any bumps in the road. For example, no employee wants to deal with sudden changes in their work schedule, and managers should make every effort to avoid them.

“Retail employees know they have to work weekends and holidays, but managers should be respectful of their time and stick to the set schedule,” says Vitale. “Store managers can also offer shorter holiday shifts. It’s easy for workers to get worn out picking up after customers throughout the day, and therefore, easy to lose your holiday spirit. Managers can prevent a ‘Grinch-like’ attitude by offering the choice between a full day or a shorter shift.”

While online shopping continues to be popular for consumers, shoppers still make purchases from a physical store at least once a week. One reason for this may be consumers wanting to avoid expensive delivery fees.

“And for those of us who are last-minute shoppers, we don’t have the time to wait for items to be delivered,” Vitale says. “Retailers want customers to have positive experiences within their stores with helpful salespeople and stocked shelves. The key is to make what could be a demanding and hectic environment as pleasant as can be. Happy employees generate happy customers.”

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