You may think I’m jumping the gun, but as plenty of shops are already adorned with aisles of baubles and wrapping paper it’s safe to say that Christmas really is just around the corner. Whatever your feelings about the festive season (and we have plenty at PCL), December is the busiest shopping month in the calendar year.

Already, retailers are hiring temporary seasonal workers to help handle the workload. Workers who will patiently help the anxious mother searching for that one video game their child must have. Workers who will utter the ‘no returns without a receipt’ mantra hundreds of times each shift. And workers who will stay the course despite all this.

It is imperative to find workers who will keep customers happy, too. As more of us revert to shopping online, face-to-face retailing can feel like a dying trade. But, there are still plenty of shoppers who prefer the personal experience – and finding temporary staff who don’t let retailers down on this front is crucial.

The quality of workers in any environment varies a great deal, but hiring temporary workers is a particularly tricky task. Personality predicts a worker’s propensity for effort in a way that an interview alone cannot. Personality assessments are often treated as expensive luxuries, reserved only for management. But Profile:Match2 is inexpensive, requires no training, and helps you find exactly what you’re looking for.

So how do you find that essential balance of seasonal spirit and calm serenity? Like Santa’s Elves, we’re here to help.

We’ve selected seven key competencies from Profile:Match2 that will help you find the crème de la crème of seasonal workers.

A big problem facing anyone who recruits temporary or seasonal workers is motivation. How do you motivate someone to learn enough to provide your usual high-level of customer service, when they’ll be leaving again in 6 weeks?

There is no concrete answer to this question, but identifying why your applicants want the job will shed some light on their motivations. The dream employee for the Christmas period is someone who wants to provide excellent customer service.

The focus on the customer and the desire to engage with them professionally and courteously motivates these people. Regardless of whether they’re in a job for life, or just six weeks, they will stick at it and do their best. Find those people, and you’re much more likely to be able to keep them motivated over the seasonal period, and keep your shoppers as happy as they can be.

Profile:Match2 Key Competencies:

– Customer Focus
– Motivation

Working in retail is an inherently social enterprise. Whether it’s interacting with customers, management or shop-floor colleagues, retail workers need an element of sociability. Ultimately, try not to hire people who shy away from human interaction or who struggle to communicate effectively with different audiences.

Communication skills are essential, but so too is having a team orientation. Retail over Christmas is rushed, stressful, and more hectic than you can imagine. Having a strong supportive team to fall back on in moments of sheer panic is crucial.

A strong team not only needs each member to pull their weight; it needs people to WANT to pull their weight. People who have self-belief, but who aren’t too competitive. People who appreciate others, overcome setbacks, and maintain good relationships. And people who create this same atmosphere with customers too.

Hire applicants with these competencies and you’ll have a harmonious Christmas period.

Profile:Match2 Key Competencies:

– Team Orientation
– Interpersonal Skills
– Communication Skills

Christmas in retail is a Sisyphean task. The closer you get to the sweet relief of Christmas Day, the further away it feels. And even when it does arrive, one day later you’re back in the store dealing with returns, exchanges and gift cards.

Survival needs a certain type of person. Someone who is resilient, confident and able to put on a brave face day after day. But also someone who is sure of themselves without being overbearing. Someone who is ready to take on responsibilities, even with little training.

These people will be calm, self-confident and optimistic. After another long day of trading, you’ll appreciate their stable and consistent mood.

Profile:Match2 Key Competencies:

– Resilience
– Self-Confidence

Conclusion

So there we have it – seven competencies that will help you build a strong customer service team for the busiest time of the year:

– Customer Focus
– Motivation
– Team Orientation
– Interpersonal Skills
– Communication Skills
– Resilience
– Self-Confidence

It’s worth investing the time finding the right Christmas staff. Although you may be tempted to pick the first people who come through the door, doing so may backfire. December is a critical month for retail sales. If you don’t make customers happy, you won’t have their loyalty for the rest of the year. When high street retail seems to be teetering on the edge of collapse, building a strong team will see a huge return on investment.

Try out Profile:Match2 for yourself here, or drop us a line if you want to chat further about how it can help you.

And, dare we say, Merry Christmas?

Bah humbug! 🎅