Can technology provide the answer to quickly onboard temporary workers this festive season?

Dr Cristian Grossmann looks at how tech can help manage temps.

Reading time: 3 minutes 20 seconds

Retailers, hospitality and entertainment companies are set to take on a record number of seasonal staff this November and December to keep up with the annual surge of demand covering Black Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day. 

According to figures recently released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), in October 2019 there were already 247,000 vacancies across the retail, hospitality and entertainment industries. That’s nearly 30,000 more than this time five years ago. 

Since this is the busiest time of the year in retail, hospitality and entertainment, it’s very challenging for HR and management teams to spend hours of valuable time onboarding and training a sudden influx of temporary staff. 

A tricky period for HR and management teams

But when the size of a company’s staff suddenly grows rapidly, onboarding and training so many new staff can create chaos for the organisation.

Simply organising everyone’s shift schedules can pose a serious challenge.

For HR and senior management teams, it can be tricky to balance the surge in sales with the extra staff needed to operate the business.

Managing longer work days while training new team members can be a major operational challenge during an already stressful season.

If HR and management don’t find a solution to support the needs of their new employees, it can spell disaster for the broader business.

An employee communications app can be a revolutionary tool for onboarding new employees

Poorly trained staff may lead to more errors being made, poor customer service, and ultimately, lower sales. 

How technology can help

Technology can help address these seasonal challenges through implementing an internal communications platform – which new workers can access via a mobile app.

Here staff members can find all the key information they need to perform their job well, from uniform requirements to where to park, how to clock in, to staff policies and procedures. 

An employee communications app can be a revolutionary tool for onboarding new employees.

It eliminates the need for traditional, in-person onboarding, which can be time consuming.

Now, new hires can access their training resources on the app and if they’re still unsure, they can ask a question, either in a direct message to HR and management teams or on an open thread, and receive a swift response.

This direct access to management empowers employees, both temporary and permanent, to have access to all the information they need to do their job at an optimum level, while saving HR and management teams hours of valuable time during the busy festive period. 

But as the majority of retail, hospitality and entertainment workers are frontline staff, they are often dealing with customers, handling sales transactions, and managing stock and services.

So they have little to no access to traditional desktop communication tools. 

Better access to shift schedules changes lives

During the chaotic festive season, communicating shift schedules to employees can be labour intensive and inefficient if it’s done using a traditional method such as a staff noticeboard.

The right digital communications platform can also host shift schedules and updates, and give staff direct access to HR and management teams.

Hosting shifts on the app means workers can view them instantly, whether in or out of the workplace, and flag any issues by messaging management.

This matters greatly because research shows that being able to access a shift schedule at least two weeks in advance makes a huge difference to shift workers.



Using a digital communications platform means workers have much quicker access to shift schedules and the ability to request changes as quickly as possible, so they have more chance of success in swapping shifts, when needed. 

Digital solutions for staff management aren’t just beneficial during the busy season.

They are also a great tool all year round to announce company information, host shifts, create two-way communication streams with employees and management and establish an atmosphere of teamwork.

Ultimately, retail, hospitality and entertainment companies should investigate how an internal communications platform can benefit their organisations.

Your business will no doubt benefit from these tools all year around.


About the author

Dr Cristian Grossmann is CEO and co-counder of Beekeeper


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