The key to a successful holiday season will be flexible staffing

The following is a guest article by Sumir Meghani, CEO and co-founder of Instawork.

From hotels and big events to local restaurants and retail outlets, every business is bracing for a tough holiday season marked by a perfect storm of growing demand and staff shortages. September data shows 10.9 million job offers for 8.4 million unemployed, and exit rates among employed people remain surprisingly high.

“The labor shortage shows no signs of easing, and things are likely to get even more difficult as businesses compete for seasonal help,” said Kelsey Sheehy, Small Business Specialist at NerdWallet.

Workers are scarce and business unpredictable

Companies that take advantage of hourly workers are experiencing unpredictable staffing as workers left to take office jobs throughout the pandemic. A recent poll conducted by Florida Atlantic University found that a third of respondents said they would seek work outside the hospitality and tourism industry and that the pandemic will have a long-term negative impact on the industry . At the same time, the next holiday season is shaping up to be the busiest in two years. Pent-up customer demand is already proving to be a significant challenge for businesses trying to navigate this “new normal”.

Big box retailers are already seeing a run on holiday-related items as The Home Depot sold out an early version of Halloween decorations, possibly foreshadowing a similar run on Christmas decorations. Other companies are trying to stay ahead of staffing issues by hiring more staff before the busy season. Dick’s Sporting Goods plans to hire more seasonal associates this year than ever before in the company’s history. Walmart aims to recruit 20,000 supply chain employees and Instawork plans to recruit 100,000 hourly workers to meet growing demand from businesses across the country.

“Customers and Families Want to Celebrate Christmas,” Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart said at a recent conference. “They want to have a Thanksgiving, and if this situation with the virus allows it – or maybe even if it doesn’t – we’re going to see strong demand for the rest of the year.”

Businesses are also finding that demand is changing in ways they did not have in previous years. Many customers aren’t looking to forgo the convenience of e-commerce, including pickup or delivery orders, while others are eager to return to the in-person experience, according to Marketplace.

Especially when a changing virus and changing policies and mandates come into play, unpredictable and atypical consumer behavior can make it particularly difficult to anticipate staffing needs.

In this environment, Rod Sides, vice president of Deloitte and US leader in the retail and distribution industry, said businesses that “remain resilient to changes in consumer behavior and offer convenient options for online and in-store shopping, as well as order fulfillment, will be poised to grow during the holiday season and the start of the new.” year “.

Of course, even to get the staff needed to meet consumer needs this holiday season, businesses must first adapt to workers’ hourly needs for flexibility and convenience. This includes changing the way they recruit and hire ahead of the busiest working days of the year.

Competition for the right staff

To prove that greater freedom and fluidity will be essential for sufficient staffing, one can look to big box retailers. Several large companies have started offering salary increases and incentives to attract additional staff.

For small employers, flexibility and adjustable hours are competitive factors as workers’ demands change.

This kind of leeway can make the difference in attract enough quality workers while facing new challenges on the employment side, such as no-shows related to COVID-19, as well as new models and consumer expectations. To adapt, more and more companies are turning to on-demand recruiting solutions where flexibility and convenience are intrinsically integrated.

Flexibility: the advantage employers need

Large-scale technological adoption has already happened during the pandemic, as many restaurants and stores have been forced to engage with customers in a digital-only environment. The widespread adoption of modern solutions for another key part of the business, namely engagement with workers, is a natural next step.

Up to 60% of restaurant workers are ready to use an on-demand service. This enthusiasm is not surprising, given the popularity and ubiquity of convenience-oriented services like Uber and Airbnb. However, it’s a major relief to know that the will to work is there, as businesses face a holiday season mismatch between staff and demand.

With flexible staffing technology, rather than spending hours sifting through applications, going through the hiring process and managing existing revenue, while letting the business go out, managers can quickly publish and fill vacancies with quality workers. Workers, on the other hand, can benefit from the flexibility to choose when and where they want to work, while achieving the right level of work-life balance they need.

After all, despite the difficulties companies face in filling vacancies, people are eager to continue developing their skills and careers while strengthening their financial stability. It’s just that now, more than ever, they want to do it on their own terms – and staffing models have to change accordingly.

Comments are closed.