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The run up to Christmas is a busy time for many businesses and retailers. Recruitment agencies are often used to supply the extra staffing required. Despite the agency profit margin, companies find this the most cost-effective way to hire short or fixed term temporary staff. The agency handles all the payroll, administration and employment costs and liabilities, as well as the process of finding appropriately skilled people in the first place.
If business volumes and customer orders spike for the Christmas period it makes sense (or is a necessity) to temporarily increase staffing levels to fulfil demand. But, why on earth would you consider taking on additional staff if your business levels don’t require extra help?
1. Set yourself up for the best year in business yet
As a business owner myself, I know that setting time aside to plan and prepare for the coming year can be difficult. With the best will in the world, it is easy to get pulled back into operational stuff and, before you know it, the new year has started and you’re on auto-pilot. We’ve all heard, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”.
If you take on a temporary worker, for a few weeks or a month, to handle certain tasks that you, or your managers, get involved in, you can free up some time to work ON the business. Getting a clear strategy drawn up in October or November means that some things can be prepared, and implemented, ready for January when everybody returns to work fresh and ready to rock it! It’s hard to stop something that has built up some momentum.
2. Love and look after your people – and they will look after you
Christmas can be a stressful time of year for even the best prepared. There are additional social and family commitments that demand our time and the pressure to get shopping, wrapping, cooking, and/or travel arrangements sorted. It’s a lot to cope with even if you don’t have any staff taking some annual leave to spend time with family or travel further afield for Christmas arrangements (or to avoid the whole madness with some winter sun).
For relatively little cost, you can engage a temp to handle some of the more basic tasks in the office, or around your business, and this will just lighten the load a little. They don’t even have to do ‘your’ work. You could engage them to run errands, find best prices for gifts online, and wrap presents if that helps ease the pressure on your staff. Or they could handle some of your team’s simpler tasks, so they can complete their work in less time and take an extended lunch break, or early finish, to get some of the Christmas schizzle sorted.
A relaxed and less stressed team will inevitably be more productive in the long run. This little gesture towards their welfare may also save you from the costly job of replacing staff tempted by the ‘new year, new job’ vibe. People who feel appreciated rarely leave.
3. Start a profit-boosting project
How long have you had that idea in your head for a new project, product or service, or marketing campaign, that you just know will boost profits, raise your profile, and help build your business further? There may be many things that are holding you back. Time is usually the most common. You don’t have time left over once you’ve completed all your other tasks. You don’t have the time to learn, or hone, some of the skills required to do it just yet. Or you don’t have time to train somebody within your organisation to do it.
If you’re the best person to get the project underway, then hire somebody on a temporary basis to handle some of the stuff you currently do. If you are not the best person, then hire somebody to come in, run the project, then go again. This can be the best route when you don’t feel comfortable about outsourcing completely. You have the person on-hand, within your environment, gaining the best understanding of how you work and what you want to achieve.
This way, you get the project done and making money with little impact on your daily operations. There is little point in undertaking a project to generate new revenue streams (or maximise existing ones) if you are losing profit by being distracted from your other responsibilities.
4. Choice of people & skills available
Some people will look for additional hours to make some extra money for Christmas. This may include stay-at-home parents, retirees, and students. This means that there is an extended pool of varied skills available for the period that precedes Christmas. It also means that some people may be looking for flexible work at weekends, evenings, and part-time, as well as full-time assignments. This means that you may be able to get a lot done without having to pay out for full-time hours. When you engage a temporary worker, you only pay for the hours worked.
5. Students are available
Many students have two to six weeks’ vacation over the Christmas period. Full-time students can work tax free and this saving can be passed onto agency clients and many will work for national minimum wage. Most students are very IT and social media savvy and can be used in a variety of roles even if you do not choose them for their area of study. In addition, you get to help a student get some valuable work experience that looks good on their CV and improves their chances of eventual employment once they have completed their studies.
Over the years, several of my clients have invited certain students back each vacation and have eventually employed them on a permanent basis. They get a freshly minted employee who understands their culture, is familiar with the systems and people, and has already proven their mettle to a certain extent. They also often benefit from the new ideas that a fresh set of eyes can come up with.
So, don’t wait until you get so much business that you need a temporary worker. Why not get a temporary worker, so that you can get more business?