GIG - Preparing for the Christmas Rush
Preparing for the Christmas Rush

For many, it would be borderline offensive to claim that Christmas is just around the corner. However, the ‘Christmas Rush’ has well and truly begun for the retail and hospitality industries, with a wave of Christmas festivities and purchases in full swing.

However, even with the smell of pine and mulled wine in the air, there is a slight aroma of fear. The uncertainty of Brexit, rising rental costs and raw materials, as well as changing consumer behavior (online shopping and cheaper dining) are straining already tight margins. The likes of Prezzo, Jamie’s Italian, House of Fraser and Debenhams have all fallen victim this year and with more uncertainty looming, many businesses will be looking for a productive Christmas before the quiet dawn of 2019.

While there is no universal cure to the current landscape of both retail and hospitality, there are a few simple areas within grasp that can be tackled, especially when it comes to dealing with one of the biggest issues – staffing. 

Here’s a few tips in order to get the best out current and potential staff this Christmas season.

 

Understanding the workforce

When it comes to attracting workers, providing the candidate with all the necessary information is essential. Yet, many employers either skim over important details or keep them purposefully vague – either to entice as many applicants as possible or because they believe the company’s reputation will suffice.

This is going to cause headaches down the line. Reports found that poor communication between managers and new workers is costing businesses £2.7 billion a year in turnover, leading to time being wasted in sourcing, filtering and vetting staff.

Understanding the exact requirements for a given job role, whether it be down to the hours worked, the skill level needed or the physical requirements necessary, means candidates can be targeted more effectively.

As a result, a certain standard of candidate will apply, ensuring less staff turnover, complaints and recruitment costs down the line. Keep it simple, clear and concise.

developing a nurturing workplace environment that fosters independence, free thinking and non-hierarchal communication will do wonders for productivity in the busy period

Develop the workplace environment

The idea of an open, engaging work environment reminds many people of a Google office full of hammocks, slides and “getaway pods”. While open workspaces and ergonomic chairs might not apply to bar staff or shop assistants, free thinking, open-communication and efficient information share do.

So why can’t a modern-day workplace philosophy transcend to the frontline of the retail and hospitality industries?

As two industries notoriously reliant on customer service and presentation, developing a nurturing workplace environment that fosters independence, free thinking and non-hierarchal communication will do wonders for productivity in the busy period. In fact, reports found that effective communication can increase productivity by 25 percent, while happier workers in general are 12% more productive.

Whether it’s by holding regular team meetings before shifts, keeping an open-door policy of communication, providing meaningful feedback or finding practical ways to make tasks easier, developing a nurturing work environment is going to help majorly during busy periods.

When it comes to this flexible form of work, company’s often look to the millennials, who now take the lion’s share of the UK labour market.

Embrace flexibility

The term ‘flexible work’ has evolved over the past ten or so years. No longer confined to the working parents who need to leave the office at 3pm to pick up the kids, the rise of flexible working and the gig economy has paved way for a new era of work-life balance. When it comes to this flexible form of work, company’s often look to the millennials, who now take the lion’s share of the UK labour market. Studies have found the millennials value workplace flexibility more than pay or any other benefits, while 77% of them believe a flexible working environment would make them more productive.

This says a lot about attracting workers – both at home or abroad - into the industries of retail and hospitality, which are notoriously reliant on young, energetic workers. The rise of the gig economy and mobile technology is providing a gateway for young people to work when they want, where they want and how often they want and businesses need to wake up to this shift.

The rise of this adaptable and malleable labour market is leading to reductions in turnover, increased workplace diversity, skill development and more efficient and productive workplaces overall. Many of the challenges facing the retail and hospitality industry this Christmas cannot be controlled. However, some challenges can be faced and staffing is one of them. As consumers take advantage of the on-demand world, it might be high time business do too.  

Discover what a flexible employment strategy can do for your business. Get in touch with sales@gigtogig.co.uk