Black Friday Blues? 5 Tips to avoid a staffing slump
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 […]
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.