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    How Grocery Stores Can Make the Most of Seasonal Hires

    Loyalty is key for both retailers and employees

    Q&A with Dawn Rauhe, senior manager at Alexander Mann Solutions

    With the busy holiday season about to kick off, retailers are expected to hire between 700,000 and 750,000 seasonal workers to meet consumer demands. With limited time and resources to train these employees, how can retailers best provide an education that will empower these employees to succeed?

    We sat down with Alexander Mann’s Dawn Rauhe to talk about how grocery stores can make the right hire when it comes to seasonal employees and also maximize the effectiveness of this workforce.

    In most cases, grocery stores are aware they will have higher talent needs in certain seasons, especially at the end of the year around the holidays, for example. How can a store get quickly up to speed when those peak needs seasons arrive?

    Grocery chains should be planning their workforce supply needs with the same precision they plan their inventory supply needs. Fortunately, the grocery industry has a mountain of sales data and the technology tools to analyze it, data that shows when and where there are spikes in demand—not just for the obvious holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but for things like the Super Bowl or even a winter storm. If you extrapolate that to the workplace, they can use that kind of information to predict when they’ll need more staff, in what departments, what types of skills, and for how long.

    Since you can plan for these demands, create effective processes that can be used time and again, whenever the next spike season is. Come up with interviews that you know yield the types of employees that succeed at stores and then repeat those interviews. Set up milestones and dates, like the number of days before you need the talent to start working should roles be posted, when the interviews should begin, when paper work needs to be completed, etc., and adhere to that timeline for every season. Create routinized training for temporary workers and then train anyone coming in on a set schedule, too.

    In what ways can stores prepare for the influx in hiring demands ahead of time? Is that necessary to do?

    It’s all about having clear, consistent plans that are repeatable and effective, then being prepared to turn those processes on when you need to by making sure everyone involved is up-to-date on what they need to do. These can be owned internally or you can have the hiring done by a third party. If you do use a third party, make sure you go to them each time so you’re not reinventing the wheel each season.

    It’s absolutely necessary, because a smartly planned workforce flows to the bottom line. Imagine if a grocer didn’t have enough people working in the warehouse and therefore couldn’t keep up with demand at the store level. They could easily lose customers and lose sales, and that’s just in the short-term.

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