Ah, early December. It’s that magical time between Thanksgiving and Christmas where business won’t be slowing down until the new year and burnout may have already begun. Though many consumers aim to have their holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving, high in-store and online traffic continues to prove otherwise. Retail stores, restaurants, and hotels are just a few of the industries affected by the holiday season.
In 2018, retailers brought on over 600,000 workers between November and January alone. This year holiday sales are predicted to increase 5% (a possible 30,000 more workers required) — making the need to have an efficiently run team even greater.
With 16 years in the hospitality staffing industry, we’re pretty familiar with the seasonal rush – so in this special Hospitality in the News segment, we put together a quick guide (for any industry) for surviving the holidays.
Keep Workers Safe
Keeping workers safe is important all year long, but particularly during the holidays when shifts get longer and tensions arise. Whether employees are full-time or were hired on in a temporary or part-time capacity, the Department of Labor (DOL) suggests being mindful of the following common holiday season labor violations:
- Failing to pay workers for opening/closing procedures
- Working through breaks without compensation
- Not providing overtime pay for more than 40 hours/week of work
By following standards set by the DOL and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), workers will engage in a safe and fair work environment.
Provide Proper Training
The holiday season may be a good time to cross train employees because the day-to-day may be busier than normal, giving the staff opportunity to learn new positions. While this can be beneficial to business, providing proper training is key for continuing to keep workers safe.
When cross training, ensure employees are given ample time to be trained fully or receive necessary certificates. Provide a trainer or someone the employee can go to specifically with questions so they feel supported throughout training and beyond. And never coerce an employee to work a position they aren’t comfortable with.
Usually the last person we think about, especially at work, is ourselves. Fortunately, there are several ways to encourage self-care amongst your team and (just as importantly) you, including:
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- Staying hydrated
- Maintaining a healthy eating schedule
- Utilizing shift breaks
- Asking questions/expressing concerns
Self-care is different for each person, so listening to your mind and body is the best way to tell what you need to be successful. Practicing and investing in self-care can be easier said than done, but the effects are rewarding and lead to happier, healthier employees.
Staff and Schedule Appropriately
Arguably the biggest stress for businesses during the holiday season is having the right amount of staff to meet customer demand. Over-scheduling will undoubtedly lead to burnout, and higher costs if paying out overtime.
When creating the schedule (which should be posted consistently and on-time), be mindful of the following: not double scheduling workers, keep the scheduling fair, ensure staff have days off, refrain from clopens (if possible), and take PTO into account (when applicable). Employees will notice when management is putting extra care into the holiday schedule and reciprocate with hard work.
When creating the schedule, it’s vital to source extra staff if you think you’ll be short-staffed. Some organizations suggest having 10-25% more staff than normal to accommodate customer requests, purchases, etc. Many businesses turn to hiring part-time staff or partnering with a staffing agency for temporary workers. (Check out some of the benefits of working with a staffing agency here.)
The holiday season can be an exciting time for consumers and employees. By following these four tips, your team will not just survive, but thrive during this busy season and end the year on a successful note.
Looking for talented, professional hospitality staff for the holiday season? LGC has got you covered. Contact us today to learn which staffing solution is right for your business.