This is the time of year working in retail I lived for. September and October were the calm before the storm that is the busy shopping season. Whether you are staffing a new location or hiring for the upcoming busy seasons, there is an art to what is called mass hiring. Being ready for the busiest time of your life if you’re an HR professional in a mass-hiring situation will make or break you not only personally, but professionally. Understanding the stress that goes along with mass hiring can be maintained if you are properly prepared.
Having had my share of new store opening and holiday shopping seasons to fill my stores with helpful, friendly and eager season staff, there is a best practice to recruiting, interviewing and hiring in large numbers that meets your needs. If it’s your first time involved in a mass hiring situation here are a few key points that you should start doing yesterday:
1) Plan. Using last year’s sales numbers combined with current forecasting projections, determine a headcount you need for each position in order oto meet your goals. Plan for an additional 20% to allow for failed drug tests, background checks and other uncontrollable situations that occur. This is one of the most important stages due to the fact that planning will break or break the entire hiring season.
2) Get the Word Out. Start early getting the word out to build a pipeline of available candidates. Using a talent community like Talent Circles, you can begin to host informational webinars, share great content and resources to provide resources and reach your intended community. Create a calendar of events, assign tasks and get creative. Instagram recruitment tools like Instajob, to share your openings can be just as effective if not more so than traditional advertising.
3) Source Talent. As I mentioned, building a pipeline of available candidates is important. Using Talent Circles you can funnel in talent into your network allowing your recruitment team to interact with larger candidate numbers than a traditional in person job fair or open house. Using a talent community will allow you to start funneling candidates earlier then hiring season
4) Organize your offers. Working in retail, I had a war board for each location to manage offers, openings and onboarding. In person, this can be accomplished with a dry erase board but an organization chart can be developed to manage the number of openings and limit the stress involved in hiring a few hundred positions during the same time period.
5) Develop a Flow for Onboarding. When it comes to retail mass hiring, timing is everything. Your onboarding flow is crucial in having the right staff at the right time. Prioritize and build a employee orientation and onboarding calendar making sure that training runs smoothly and staff gets when they need at the right time to be successful at your company. Getting stuck in this process can be detrimental as it might detour employees from taking the final step.
Mass hiring doesn’t have to be a stressful, mixed up, and hot mess of a situation. Take it one step at a time and learn the intricacies of the process. Once you start developing a flow and system the next time you do the easier it’ll get over time. Start with a plan and follow through with each process one step at a time.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell.