The National Retail Federation expects retailers to hire between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers this holiday season. Retailers with brick and mortar stores, as well as warehouse and logistics firms, have been scrambling to find enough workers this holiday season, despite an unusually early start to recruitment this year. Organizations have also been hiring early so they can complete onboarding and training before the holiday rush.
The Challenge of Onboarding Seasonal Workers
While recruiting in a tight labor market is its own challenge, success in that arena leads to the need for rapid, consistent new employee onboarding. Store managers need to take care of paperwork, go over policies, and train new employees, when their main concern is getting them on the floor and selling ASAP.
In today’s competitive market, leading retailers are turning to innovative collaborative work management solutions to standardize intake, manage onboarding processing, and give visibility into training programs to get new hires up to speed more quickly and improve the employee onboarding experience for new employees and for hiring managers.
Collaborative Technology in Retail
In their e-book Essentials for Retail Survival, Nikki Baird and Brian Kilcourse, managing partners at Retail Systems Research, address the importance of structured collaboration in retail. They see structured collaboration as essential in all areas of a retail business, including employee onboarding and technology infrastructure.
Structured collaboration is a way of working where the business can put rules and policies in place to ensure that employees participate in a specific way, while facilitating collaboration in which employees leverage structured and unstructured data to collaborate with others, wherever they are.
What might structured collaboration look like for a retailer? From onboarding and training store workers, to ensuring scalability in training and resource allocation as enterprises continue to expand, structured collaboration through a collaborative work management platform can help you run operations in a more efficient and effective way.
Here are a few ways to get your holiday employees up to speed as soon as possible with a collaborative work management platform.
1. Ensure a Consistent Onboarding Experience
Consider how you can make seasonal worker onboarding less of a burden on your store managers or hiring managers by streamlining onboarding to ensure a consistent process. Doing this can get new hires up and running more quickly, and take the seasonal burden off of your HR and IT teams by standardizing when and how they receive onboarding materials from satellite stores. Leading retailers use digital platforms to make this portion of the new hire experience more consistent and efficient for both employees and managers.
For example, with a collaborative work management platform, you can send updated paperwork requirements to store managers for them to access in their satellite locations. Instead of emailing an attachment that’s likely to get lost in the shuffle, paperwork is always up-to-date in a centralized workspace, so hiring managers have everything they need for new hires, without searching their inboxes for the latest and greatest.
2. Complete Training on Relevant Policies
If you’re the head of store operations, you want to ensure that managers are training seasonal workers on policies that are critical to the success of your business and that help you mitigate risk. An auditable onboarding completion database can enable you to track and verify which employees have been trained on which policies.
A collaborative work management platform that enables store managers to keep track of the training and information that employees have received, and allows you to see their progress with a centrally managed onboarding process, can help you keep track of this critical piece of training (and produce it in case of an audit).
3. Train For the Job
After you’ve finished with paperwork and policies, make sure your managers take the time to train seasonal workers on how to do the job you want them to do. Make sure they know where to find everything, who their resources are, and what you expect of them.
Inconsistent, inefficient store worker training can result in poor customer experience, which can lose you business. To ensure a consistent training program, create a digital workspace for store worker onboarding and training. That way, your store managers can track the status of ongoing training activities and allow you to review overall progress, so you know who is receiving and who has completed required training, and address any gaps.
You get visibility into how training is being managed, as well as improved accountability with auditable employee training documentation. The result? Better informed and more productive store workers and a consistent in-store customer experience.
4. Get Your Store Managers on the Same Page
In order to accomplish everything above, while maintaining consistency across each of your stores, you want to ensure that each of your store managers and hiring managers are on the same page. A collaborative work management platform can help you centrally manage your onboarding progress, standardize your intake process for new hires, and give you visibility into your training programs.
With a collaborative work management platform, onboarding seasonal employees at a high volume doesn’t have to take as long as you think. Smartsheet gives businesses the means to standardize store worker onboarding and offboarding, manage training programs, and stay on top of risk and compliance needs.
Our retail solution for in-store communications ensures that store workers are informed and in compliance, whether they are full-time or seasonal, and improves the efficiency of your operations with an auditable system. If you’d like to learn more about Smartsheet for retail, visit our solutions page.