8 Tips for Holiday Retail Staffing Success

by Scott Wiley

For some retailers, the holiday season can represent as much as 30 percent of annual sales, according to the National Federation of Retailers. For all the media doom and gloom over the state of retail, the most recent report from IHL Group actually shows a net increase in store openings of over 4,000. And for each company closing a store, 2.7 companies are opening new stores. Additionally, the retail industry remains one of the largest employers in the U.S. which is why the competition for good people in retail is actually pretty stiff this year.

So if retailers want to make the most of what stands to be a very profitable holiday season, they need to start holiday retail staffing now. Here are eight tips to make your holiday retail staffing a success:

1. Start early. If you start your holiday hiring in November you have already missed the window. And realistically, October is the latest you should be hiring holiday help.

2. Treat everyone the same. Treat seasonal workers as if they are part of the full-time staff. People want to feel like they belong and avoiding resentments between part-time and full-time staff is key to good morale for all.

3. Offer post-season full-time. Give your top seasonal people an opportunity to earn an ongoing job past the season. Retention means higher skills.

4. Be flexible. There is a war for talent right now. Expecting people to be available every hour on every weekend is not realistic.

5. Offer retention bonuses.  When paid out right before the holidays, these are a great way to keep people engaged.

6. Train the staff like you do your year round team. The biggest reason that people leave abruptly is that they don’t feel like they know what they are doing and that they don’t have support.

7. Keep in touch. Make a list of good past year holiday employees and touch base with them through the year.

8. Be very clear on what your employee value proposition is. Why should they want to work for you instead of the hundreds of other retailers hiring?

The time to start recruiting is now and if you need help, MarketSource’s assisted sales representatives are specifically trained to be an extension of your brand. They help create a memorable in-store experience that will keep customers loyal and make the final sale. Additionally, we offer marketing and development research that offers insights that will help you reach your consumer base. Learn more about how we can help with your holiday retail staffing needs.

Topic: Retail


As the Director of Retail Recruiting Operations, Scott Wiley ensures our customers have the highest quality sales professionals representing their brand. Our recruiting team executes this mission by leveraging the world class processes of our parent company Allegis Group and coupling that with MarketSource's sales expertise.

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