Is your onboarding program ready? The holiday rush is coming.

Retailers’ shelves may be brimming with summer inventory this month, but their boardrooms tell a different story: the countdown to Christmas is on. In a tight 2019 labour market, reaping the rewards of “the most wonderful time of the year” means getting a jump on seasonal recruitment as early as June or July. 

With recent hikes in minimum wage and job openings outpacing applicants, 67 percent of U.S. retail employers say hiring seasonal staff is more difficult than ever. It’s likely that situation will continue to worsen as unemployment rates dip to record lows.

Recruiting early gives employers their pick of top talent. Even more critical, they get a leg up in the onboarding process, with plenty of lead time to develop stellar frontline staff well before holiday shoppers hit the aisles. 

For companies that don’t have the budget to hire now, it may feel like you’re biting the dust, left to fight it out in the post-Labour Day scramble. And while hiring this month or next may not be in the cards, that doesn’t have to mean seasonal recruitment chaos for your operations and HR teams.

The time to plan for a high-performing seasonal workforce is now — and that begins with creating an onboarding program that takes them from newbies to frontline performers fast. 

Here’s how smart retailers are getting ahead of the hustle to ensure their seasonal talent is up to speed and ready to drive sales right away.

Set the tone for a stellar season

The pressure to attract and retain standout seasonal staff isn’t just about competing in a booming job market. It’s also about giving customers the one-of-a-kind retail experience they expect. 

When it comes to meeting those expectations, how will you pivot quickly to ensure seasonal staff can deliver? 

The answer lies in how well your onboarding process sets your sales team apart. For seasonal hires in particular, a continuous onboarding program helps them succeed from day one, immersing them quickly in your culture, brand and products and reinforcing their learning over time. Best of all, it gives them a positive, tailored experience they can immediately pay forward to your holiday customers. 

By connecting formal training with hands-on learning, a continuous approach prevents employee error, eliminates confusion and ensures your customers get the best service possible. With a program like Axonify Guided Learning, you map each person’s journey from application to exit, tracking their performance every step of the way.

Here for a good time, not a long time

Seasonal staff are with you for 90 days at most, and they happen to be the highest grossing days of the year. You have a tight window to get them primed and ready — and there’s zero time for turnover. That makes it all the more critical to deliver easy, engaging and consistent onboarding.

To keep productivity high, effective seasonal onboarding is built into the flow of their workday, feeding staff critical information in easy-to-digest portions. Equipped to stay on top of product stories, inventory levels, price adjustments and promotions, staff have access to important content when and where they need it. 

And the key ingredient to driving results? The learning process doesn’t disrupt their ability to perform through the busiest retail season of the year. Axonify takes your staff from seasonal to seasoned in just 3 – 5 minutes a shift. Frontline managers benefit, too, with access to real-time performance data that lets them know, in the thick of the holiday rush, exactly when a new hire is performance-ready.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start planning your seasonal onboarding program. The sooner you get a jump on it, the better. Because, before you know it, the holidays will be in full swing! We’ve got just thing to get you started off right. Check out this guide for 5 surefire ways to help make this holiday season a smashing success.


How to Win the Holidays

The secret to getting your stores and frontline staff ready to thrive during the most profitable time of the year.

Caily is our resident retail whiz with a passion for CX. She’s spent more than a decade partnering with industry leaders to ensure success in strategic planning and omnichannel execution of national programs—so she knows the deal when it comes to the retail industry.

Let’s work together to drive frontline performance in all the right ways.