As the holiday season rolls around, many companies find they need all hands on deck to handle an increased work load—just when many employees are requesting time off to celebrate with their family and friends. While the current low unemployment rate might make you wonder if you can find extra help, the good news is that plenty of people would appreciate a few extra hours to help pay off upcoming holiday debts.
Whether you run a retail establishment that needs extra workers or an office looking to cover end-of-year vacation absences or an increased December crunch, here are eight ideas for finding and attracting part-time workers in a tight hiring environment.
- Look inside first.
Your own employees might be your best source. While some are undoubtedly looking for days off, others might be willing to take on a few additional hours for the chance to earn extra money. Offering a nice pay bump is often worth it—instead of having to go through the paperwork and training involved in hiring a new person, you can instead dedicate that money to paying your own loyal employees more, knowing that they are going to be more efficient than someone just learning the ropes. You also could offer a referral bonus to employees who recommend a part-time candidate as it will save you the time and money involved in looking outside for employees—and will likely result in a great hire.
- Pay competitive wages.
This should go without saying, but it’s crucial to remember: Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish when trying to hire part-time help. This group you are trying to attract wants to make a few bucks, fast, and are liable to turn to the highest wage available…even if it’s only a quarter or so more an hour. Remember that most of these temporary employees are not looking to build a career with your company—they just want to make some extra spending money, and thus every dollar counts.
- Make quick decisions.
Someone who wants to work part-time wants to work part-time now. If you delay making offers, they are likely to accept a competing position. It’s imperative to shorten your hiring cycle—the average length is currently 42 days, although of course that metric also includes full-time positions. But the fact remains that waiting to see “what else is out there” could result in losing a viable candidate, especially if you are hiring for high-turnover positions.
- Provide just the right amount of training—not too much, not too little.
Training can be tricky with part-time positions; after all, they don’t need to know everything about the ins and outs of your company, but they need to know enough to feel successful in the position. Too many times part-time employees quit because they felt as though they were “thrown to the wolves” by being expected to come immediately up to speed on a new skill and interact with coworkers or the general public before they are comfortable. Promise your applicants that you’ll give them adequate training so that they won’t feel out of their element. And, of course, make sure it’s paid.
- Offer flexibility.
While full flexibility is probably not possible, since you are trying to hire to fill specific shifts, anything you can offer that gives them some choices—such as allowing potential employees to offer days and times they prefer, giving them the chance to switch shifts if both parties are amenable, etc. will help make your position more appealing.
- Promote discounts.
Not every company has a product that’s amenable to discounts, but if you’ve got it…flaunt it! Many potential employees might be attracted to the opportunity to not only make money through a paycheck, but save on their gift giving. You also should see if there are any benefits you offer full-time employees—such as discounts on movie tickets or transit passes—that you can relatively affordably also offer to these fill-in employees. It might make the difference between someone accepting your offer or that of a competitor.
- Look to non-traditional groups.
Holiday periods are the perfect time to look beyond your traditional hiring pool. Consider reaching out to local high schools to see if you can hire students for the few weeks of the holiday season; with sports, drama, schoolwork and other regular pressing needs on hold, even those who wouldn’t normally be able to hold down a regular position might want to make some quick spending money. Ditto kids home on college break—which often stretches a month or more. They likely would love the chance to bolster their bank account before they head back for second semester. To reach this group, advertise in the local community paper and on social media sites and post notices in local coffee shops or other local gathering places. Reaching their parents might be the best avenue to get to the returning college student. Finally, in addition to thinking young, think a bit older. Retirees might love the chance to get involved in the holiday hustle and bustle and make a few bucks.
- Advertise everywhere.
You never know where your next temporary employee might come from. Make sure you have listed your position on your social media websites and with notices in other places that your potential target part-time worker might be looking. It can pay to get really creative, like going door to door—seriously! One HR exec recently told a business gathering about an enterprising organization that “hired” a youth group to blanket a nearby neighborhood with cards advertising open part-time positions. The company gave a flat donation to the group, as well as an additional bonus for each person that was hired from the effort. She reported that the organization was able to fill nearly 85% of its positions, proving that creativity can pay.
With a little ingenuity, you’ll have all your part-time elves lined up in no time.