Black Friday Blues? 5 Tips to avoid a staffing slump

Rosie Ramirez

16 November 2018    |   

Retailers all over the U.S. take the time to prepare and advertise Black Friday deals and discounts, for good reason: last year, retailers earned $7.9 billion on Nov. 24. This figure represents an increase of nearly 18% from a year ago, and research indicates it can only go up. And while online shopping is all the rage, store traffic only declined by 1%. This means a considerable number of shoppers still prefer to get their retail fix in brick-and-mortar stores. Others engage in both types. The situation presents a significant challenge for managers nationwide. So if you’re managing a business, here are 5 tips you can use to avoid a staffing slump on the most important day of the year. Leverage your pool of part-time staff Part-time workers, also known as the contingent workforce, is a subsection of the broader workforce that works on a flexible basis. This includes casuals, contractors, and temps across a wide range of skill sets and capabilities. They may choose to work for one business at a time. They could also make up their working schedules across a variety of employers. During shopping holidays, they can make the difference between success and chaos. Many employers see part-time workers as a last resort. However, effective managers will instead schedule them on a regular basis to improve customer experience and increase sales. Part-time workers are flexible, so productivity is greatly improved without additional permanent wages. Based on your data of peak hours and most critical tasks, leverage your pool of part-time workers to ensure there is no gap in your operations. And make sure to contact them early, because many other businesses will be demanding their services this season. Read more: What is the Contingent Workforce and how can you leverage it in your business? Distribute your A-Team Good managers know how to delegate properly and rely on the best of the best to do it. During shopping holidays, it’s necessary to make sure that each shift and each team has at least one key player who can handle the pressure. But even the top performers need an effective support team to function, so you’ll need to spend some time on getting the mix right. Start by pulling POS software results from past Black Fridays, and distribute your best associates among the different teams. Schedule more top performers during peak hours to prevent overall burnout. Read more: William Gooderson’s 8 Characteristics of Good Managers Set targets and rewards With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, many employees will be looking to make bonuses. This is especially true for part-time workers who may have had erratic schedules and inconsistent income. One effective way to motivate everyone to perform at their peak on Black Friday is to set clear targets, and rewards when they’re reached. Cash and gift cards are popular, but another option is to put up some of your merchandise as rewards. To prevent unhealthy competition, give them out on a team basis, or hold a raffle whenever a goal is reached to energize employees. Brief staff, communicate changes early The pre-Black Friday briefing is extremely important in setting expectations and reminding everyone of the best practices to be followed. This is also the best time to go over safety reminders, as serious accidents have happened in the past. Employees need to stay calm throughout the day and take crowd management seriously. Mistakes and malfunctions will happen, but that’s just part of the process. Start with preparing them for the correct mindset, and emphasize that as long as the team works together, Black Friday will be a productive experience. If there are any changes in the schedule, make sure to tell them days in advance. This will avoid unnecessary stress on the day itself, especially if you are managing different locations. Workforce management software like Tanda make it easy to schedule staff and communicate changes via SMS, email, or in-app notifications. Tanda also creates accurate timesheets ready for export and compatible with most payroll software out there, so paying employees for Black Friday will be a breeze. Read more: The Digital Workforce Success Revolution: Why you need to shift to cloud-based HR today Don’t forget Cyber Monday Many customers split their time and money between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year, digital transactions reached a record $6.59 billion, a 16,8% increase from last year. Clearly, Black Friday shouldn’t be your only priority when it comes to staffing, especially if you run an online store along with your physical one. Heavy online traffic brings with it system and customer support challenges. Make sure your online teams aren’t too worn out from Black Friday and be ready to call in additional staff. Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for retailers. However, there’s no reason why employee and customer experience alike can’t be planned out to get the best results. Keep in mind that these opportunities are not just for sales. They are also there to hone company best practices and train future managers of the company. So when you’re planning out your staffing for Black Friday and other shopping holidays like it, look at the big picture. Invest in technology that will help you in the long run. And most importantly, invest in the people who will make those sales happen.

Retailers all over the U.S. take the time to prepare and advertise Black Friday deals and discounts, for good reason: last year, retailers earned $7.9 billion on Nov. 24. This figure represents an increase of nearly 18% from a year ago, and research indicates it can only go up. And while online shopping is all the rage, store traffic only declined by 1%. This means a considerable number of shoppers still prefer to get their retail fix in brick-and-mortar stores. Others engage in both types. The situation presents a significant challenge for managers nationwide. So if you’re managing a business, here are 5 tips you can use to avoid a staffing slump on the most important day of the year.

Leverage your pool of part-time staff

Part-time workers, also known as the contingent workforce, is a subsection of the broader workforce that works on a flexible basis. This includes casuals, contractors, and temps across a wide range of skill sets and capabilities. They may choose to work for one business at a time. They could also make up their working schedules across a variety of employers. During shopping holidays, they can make the difference between success and chaos.

Many employers see part-time workers as a last resort. However, effective managers will instead schedule them on a regular basis to improve customer experience and increase sales. Part-time workers are flexible, so productivity is greatly improved without additional permanent wages. Based on your data of peak hours and most critical tasks, leverage your pool of part-time workers to ensure there is no gap in your operations. And make sure to contact them early, because many other businesses will be demanding their services this season.

Read more: What is the Contingent Workforce and how can you leverage it in your business?

Distribute your A-Team

Good managers know how to delegate properly and rely on the best of the best to do it. During shopping holidays, it’s necessary to make sure that each shift and each team has at least one key player who can handle the pressure. But even the top performers need an effective support team to function, so you’ll need to spend some time on getting the mix right. Start by pulling POS software results from past Black Fridays, and distribute your best associates among the different teams. Schedule more top performers during peak hours to prevent overall burnout.

Read more: William Gooderson’s 8 Characteristics of Good Managers

Set targets and rewards

With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, many employees will be looking to make bonuses. This is especially true for part-time workers who may have had erratic schedules and inconsistent income. One effective way to motivate everyone to perform at their peak on Black Friday is to set clear targets, and rewards when they’re reached. Cash and gift cards are popular, but another option is to put up some of your merchandise as rewards. To prevent unhealthy competition, give them out on a team basis, or hold a raffle whenever a goal is reached to energize employees.

Brief staff, communicate changes early

The pre-Black Friday briefing is extremely important in setting expectations and reminding everyone of the best practices to be followed. This is also the best time to go over safety reminders, as serious accidents have happened in the past. Employees need to stay calm throughout the day and take crowd management seriously. Mistakes and malfunctions will happen, but that’s just part of the process. Start with preparing them for the correct mindset, and emphasize that as long as the team works together, Black Friday will be a productive experience.

If there are any changes in the schedule, make sure to tell them days in advance. This will avoid unnecessary stress on the day itself, especially if you are managing different locations. Workforce management software like Tanda make it easy to schedule staff and communicate changes via SMS, email, or in-app notifications. Tanda also creates accurate timesheets ready for export and compatible with most payroll software out there, so paying employees for Black Friday will be a breeze.

Read more: The Digital Workforce Success Revolution: Why you need to shift to cloud-based HR today

Don’t forget Cyber Monday

Many customers split their time and money between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Last year, digital transactions reached a record $6.59 billion, a 16,8% increase from last year. Clearly, Black Friday shouldn’t be your only priority when it comes to staffing, especially if you run an online store along with your physical one. Heavy online traffic brings with it system and customer support challenges. Make sure your online teams aren’t too worn out from Black Friday and be ready to call in additional staff.

Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for retailers. However, there’s no reason why employee and customer experience alike can’t be planned out to get the best results. Keep in mind that these opportunities are not just for sales. They are also there to hone company best practices and train future managers of the company. So when you’re planning out your staffing for Black Friday and other shopping holidays like it, look at the big picture. Invest in technology that will help you in the long run. And most importantly, invest in the people who will make those sales happen.

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The next stage in retail evolution?

Three reasons why you should integrate your POS software The advances in credit card technology and the creation of the of the electronic payment terminal in 1982 revolutionised payment processing for businesses around the world. It leads to better cash flow management, and an increase in sales processing efficiencies, ultimately influencing customer spending behaviour. Over the years the technology has developed, and advancements like contact-less payments, NFC and card-free payments have emerged. However the next technological wave of retail evolution is upon us, and it’s time for businesses to dive in head first. Cloud software has been the latest revelation in technical advancements. POS, Payroll and Workforce Management, the list could go on. While each of these individually represents a leap in innovation in their own right, the true value lies in their interconnectedness. On one level integrating Workforce Management software and Payroll software makes sense. It’s practical, efficient and creates order in what can potentially be a frustrating and time-consuming process. However, integrating POS and Workforce Management software goes further as it enables the user with the ability to make smarter decisions, such as: 1. Roster the right amount of staff every time Ever look across the store to see staff twiddling their thumbs or a huge line at the checkout? Welcome to the complex world of accurate rostering, where you’re either increasing your staffing expenses or losing potential revenue. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. By integrating your rostering system and sales data, you can make smart decisions to have the right amount of staff every time. 2. Make decisions in real time Thought you were going to be run off your feet this week, only to find that sales are slowing and business is quieter than expected? Once you’ve integrated your sales data into your rostering system, you can make real time decisions on staffing levels, rather than reviewing at the end of each month. Track your revenue and wage percentage costs in real time, so you can alter and adjust the roster as the day or week changes. Of course, all your staff are immediately notified of changes, so everyone’s kept in the loop. 3. Be future orientated, move your business forward Stop looking backwards at last week’s rosters, timesheets and payslips to make next week’s decisions. Workforce Management software has come along way from the paper rosters and timesheets. It’s now possible to not only forecast future costs, rosters and staff requirements but also automate the entire rostering process with cognitive rostering software. The rise of internet shopping and retail giants like H&M and Zara means that traditional ‘brick and mortar retailers’ need to be using every edge possible to stay competitive, relevant and front of mind for customers. Businesses that fail to embrace technology as a tool for success, are likely to struggle under the weight of the world that is rapidly embracing a more digital and connected world. How many times have you walked into a store, only to find that you can’t be served because the company is understaffed? While the economic benefits that come from an optimised roster are apparent, the value that comes from roster optimisation is expressed tangibly on a daily basis through customer service and customer retention. According to customer experience research conducted by thinkJar’s Esteban Kolsky, 66% of consumers who switch brands do so because of poor customer service and 85% of this customer churn could be prevented. Kolsky also notes that attracting customers is an expensive exercise costing businesses approximately six to seven times more to attract new customers, rather than retain existing customers. Building on this, further research shows that you’re 14 times more likely to sell to an existing happy customer than a new customer. It is therefore essential that retailers are providing the best customer service experience, to ensure customer retention. Businesses that optimise staffing rates for peak sales periods, will have the correct staff to customer ratios, creating efficient and favourable customer service experiences, resulting in higher customer retention rates. For traditional retailers, customer retention is paramount, as it not only ensures business continuity but also becomes a significant channel for acquiring future customers. Differentiating your business through excellent customer service and optimised staff efficiency, not only provides the competitive edge but also allows for financial stability and security as you can confidently make future oriented decisions to grow your business both financially and professionally. POS software integration is the next step in retail evolution. Like the payment terminal revelation before it, POS data integration will change the way businesses operate and what it means to be a traditional business in a digital world.

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Fair Work Announces Penalty Rates Transitional Arrangements

Today the Fair Work Commission has released its decision regarding the Transitional Arrangements to the changes in penalty rates. On February 23 2017, the Fair Work Commission released its decision to amend Sunday and Public Holiday penalty rates in a number of Modern Awards. Sunday Penalty Rate Changes Sunday penalty rates will be reduced to 150% for full-time and part-time employees under the Hospitality Award, the Retail Award, and Pharmacy Award. Sunday penalty rates will be reduced to 175% for casual employees under the Retail and Pharmacy Award. The Sunday penalty rate for casual employees under the Hospitality Award remains unchanged at 175%. Sunday penalty rates for Level 1 Fast Food Award employees will also be changed. Full-time and part-time employees will see a reduction to 125%, and casual employees will see a reduction to 150%. Public Holiday penalty rates were also reduced for the Hospitality, Retail, Pharmacy, Fast Food and Restaurant Awards. The Fair Work Commission faced backlash over the decision, with many employee industry groups citing that a reduction in penalty rates would leave the ‘most vulnerable’ workers worse off as a result of taking home less pay. The Commission has today announced that it was not sufficiently persuaded that the impacts were substantive enough to not go ahead with the proposed changes, citing the positive employment benefits as more significant. It has also rejected the SDA’s request of introducing different transitional arrangements for current staff and employees employed after July 1 2017, as it would potentially create significant disharmony between employees, and additional complexities for employers transitioning to the new penalty rates. As such, the Fair Work Commission has announced its Transitional Arrangements for the relevant Modern Awards, these are outlined below. Transitional Arrangements to Penalty Rates Transitional Arrangements Fast Food Award Source: Fair Work Commission Transitional Arrangements Hospitality Award Source: Fair Work Commission Transitional Arrangements Retail Award Source: Fair Work Commission Transitional Arrangements Pharmacy Award Source: Fair Work Commission Proposed Changes to Public Holiday Penalty Rates The proposed changes to Public Holiday penalty rates will take effect July 1 2017, without transitional arrangements. Source: Fair Work Commission   For more information on the Transitional Arrangements made to the aforementioned Awards, please visit the Fair Work Commission website.

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Rosie Ramirez

Our team's goal is to provide practical advice for business owners and managers across industries.

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The next stage in retail evolution?

Three reasons why you should integrate your POS software The advances in credit card technology and the creation of the of the electronic payment terminal in 1982 revolutionised payment processing for businesses around the world. It leads to better cash flow management, and an increase in sales processing efficiencies, ultimately influencing customer spending behaviour. Over the […]

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Today the Fair Work Commission has released its decision regarding the Transitional Arrangements to the changes in penalty rates. On February 23 2017, the Fair Work Commission released its decision to amend Sunday and Public Holiday penalty rates in a number of Modern Awards. Sunday Penalty Rate Changes Sunday penalty rates will be reduced to […]

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