Holiday Staffing Challenges: Pros and Cons of Hiring Seasonal Employees

Hiring Seasonal EmployeesRetailers get ready! The holiday season is fast approaching, and that means getting prepared to face the rush of shoppers. This is a great time of year to ramp up your sales – but the hordes can actually have a negative impact on your bottom line if not handled properly. One of the best ways to ensure customer service levels remain high during this time of year is to increase your labour pool – but there are pros and cons to hiring seasonal employees.

So, is hiring seasonal employees a short term fix for long term gain, or do the cons outweigh the pros?


  • Manage workload – increasing your pool of available labour helps to significantly increase customer service levels. Not only can you ensure shelves remain stocked and line-ups manageable, you can also use these additional employees to ensure that the store remains tidy and that customers can ask questions and receive answers rather than becoming frustrated and leaving for the competition.
  • Cost savings – since these temporary workers are just that – temporary – you do not have to worry about the costs associated with hiring full time employees (benefits, etc.) or promises of salary increases down the road. Most of these employees understand that their positions are only good for a finite period of time and therefore don’t expect an increase or promise of more.


  • Training investment – even though these employees are only there for the short term, you are obviously not going to send them out on the floor with little to no training. Therefore, one of the most common challenges here is that you invest in these employees (both time and money) only to see them leave after the holiday rush is over.
  • Lack of loyalty – it is a well-known fact in the retail world that short term workers are not nearly as loyal as those you hire for the long term. Most are aware of the fact that their employment contract is short, and so they may not be super concerned with how their work impacts your bottom line. Of course not all seasonal employees act on this knowledge-but can you risk even a few that do?

Regardless of the pros and cons, going without that extra people support over the busy holiday season is often a really bad idea. If shelves are empty, line-ups long, and customers can’t get the service or attention they want, not only will your current sales suffer, but so too will your customer loyalty.

A smart alternative to hiring seasonal employees is to turn to a merchandising company that has experience providing retail support and can offer highly trained, loyal staff on a short term basis. This means that the pros associated with hiring holiday staff are there, without having to worry about spending the time training employees that are not actually committed to your company – it is the best of both worlds!

For more about professional people support versus hiring seasonal employees please contact Marketsupport today by calling 905.847.6513.

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