Empowering Seasonal Employees: Where Streamlined Processes Come Into Play

Seasonal Shopping

Temperatures are dropping and neighborhoods are beginning to glisten with twinkle lights and wreaths. That can only mean one thing: the holidays are upon us. 

However, with holiday spirit comes retail chaos. Even though holiday sales are increasing at a slower rate than last year, the number remains significant. According to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast, sales are likely to increase between 3.5% and 4.6% this year. 

That higher demand puts retailers under pressure to meet customer expectations. For example, customers are stressed to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones, so retailers need attentive staff, organized displays, and more to make shopping easier.

This year, it’s predicted that retailers will add 410,000 seasonal positions to absolve pressures that come with the holidays. With the annual influx of hires comes the need for stores to streamline training and communication as a means of empowering employees. That empowerment can come from organized learning modules, communication portals, and task management.

Convenient Access to Training Materials

With a large group of new hires who might not be onboarding at the same time or in the same place, it is crucial for retailers to provide streamlined training. Modules that are easy to access help employees gain a quick grasp on what is expected of them for the season.

For example, a new employee may be stocking a display of throw blankets and need a quick reference on inventory and compliance. Having access to a central portal with information on products and procedures makes this easy. The same can be said for other processes that see an increase in volume during the holidays, like online order fulfillment and returns.

Immediate Access to Teammates

As established, the retail environment during the holidays is unpredictable. For employees, shoppers are coming at them from all sides with questions. Sometimes they won’t know the answer off the top of their head, so it is invaluable to be able to reach out to a superior without making the trek across the store or to the back room. What’s more, employees can communicate on their own time, allowing them to focus on pressing customer needs. 

Clear To-Do Lists

User-friendly task lists go a long way when it comes to equipping employees to face high demand. When an employee is new, there is a learning curve with the order of operations, but digestible to-do lists can lessen that curve. Instead of waiting for directives, with task management, employees can be productive personally and inspire productivity operationally across the store. 

What’s more, managers can limit the addition of tasks during peak holiday shopping times, allowing employees to focus solely on serving customers over the various other activities that corporations may assign.

The Joy of the Holidays Is Not Exclusive to Shoppers

The holidays are meant to be joyful, so resources that stores can provide employees to lighten the load during the season, and help focus on shoppers, are invaluable. Satisfied employees ultimately will lead to satisfied customers.

— Gary Stonell, SVP of Sales and Operations, Opterus

About the Author

Gary Stonell

Stonell, SVP of sales and operations, Opterus, has 20 years of sales management and business development experience in CPG and SaaS. Beginning his career in CPG, he worked for Kraft Foods, Philips Electronics, then SunRype Products fostering partnerships with retailers and managing various aspects of the sales and marketing processes. More recently at Sysomos/Meltwater, a SaaS-based social media content management platform, Stonell led the enterprise sales team responsible for managing existing clients and new logo acquisition. The key to his success has been a meaningful focus on building business relationships with collaborative solution-based partnerships.

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