October 17th, 2017 | Sterling

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like the Holiday Hiring Season


As the leaves start to fall and the air starts to get crisp and cooler, the retail hiring season starts to go into full swing. As you go through the holiday hiring process, it is also a good time to do a self-audit on your hiring, employee background check and onboarding process to hire the best staff and bring more sales to your stores during the holiday season.

2017 Holiday Hiring and Sales Predictions

Deloitte is predicting holiday sales this year in the US will increase as much as 4.5 percent to over $1 trillion. Online sales are expected to increase 18 to 21 percent during the 2017 holiday season with over $114 billion in sales. PwC recently released a survey of consumers outlook this holiday season. They found “Canadian consumers are planning to spend the same or more than last year—an average of CA$1,507 each, which is slightly higher than their US counterparts. Canadians plan to carry out almost two thirds (62%) of their holiday shopping in-store, but for the remaining one-third of their purchases, they’ll choose to shop online. For the online shopper, Amazon is by far the top choice this holiday season, with 77% of Canadians planning to shop at the world’s largest online retailer.”

Large North American retailers have already started their holiday staffing. The big US retailers such as Target, Michael’s, Toys R US, Macy’s and UPS have all released the number of holiday workers they are expecting to hire for the 2017 season. Target plans on hiring 100,000 workers for the 2017 holidays, which is up more than 40 percent from 2016. Macy’s plans to increase their workforce by 20% for the holiday season. Toys R Us plans to hire for 12,000 jobs in the US even after filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Toys R Us Canada is planning growth in their holiday hiring as well. Other retailers are expected to hire up to 35% more workers this holiday season to fill positions at distribution centres and order-online-pick-up-in-store positions. UPS will hire up to 95,000 seasonal workers and FedEx Corp is expected to hire up to 50,000 seasonal employees, as online purchasing is becoming more and more popular.

Holiday Hiring Tips

Hiring for the holidays can be a challenge. In a short time frame, hiring managers must hire, onboard and train new employees to prepare them for the craziness of the holiday shopping season. iCIMS recently shared a few holiday hiring tips to help businesses prepare for the hectic holiday season:

  • Video Interviews: Utilize video technology as part of the hiring process. This promotes a stress-free candidate experience, boosts candidate engagement and can help screening a potential new employee without scheduling an onsite interview.
  • Company Cultural Fit: Align hiring with company core values, so new candidates are a right company culture fit.
  • Encourage Employee Referrals: Current employees can be a great source for finding workers who are passionate about the company culture.
  • Social Hiring: Social media has become a great recruiting tool. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram gives companies the ability to share the employer brand in creative and interactive ways.

Awesome Onboarding Experience

For both the new hire and the employer, there is a lot  riding on the first day. An awesome onboarding program engages and socializes the new hire from the moment they step through the door. And it lays the groundwork so that your new employee can become a productive, successful team member for the long haul. According to Urbanbound, employees who go through an effective onboarding program become more productive quicker and put out more valuable work. Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity leading to better performance.

Seasonal hires need to be quickly trained and prepared for their new jobs. For hiring managers, this time of year can be quite chaotic with hiring, training and managing a large group of new hires. Creating a good hiring experience, from filling out an application to day-one activities, will positively affect an organization in revenue and brand reputation. Making a great first impression to a new employee will have a lasting effect. In fact, most employees decide whether to stay at a new job within their first six months. Effective onboarding (or first-day activities) tells a cohesive, compelling employer brand story. It engages and socializes the new hire from the beginning. It provides the skills, knowledge and tools the new employee needs to become a productive, successful team member.

Background Check Solutions for Retail

High turnover rates, tight time to hire demands, employee shrinkage, and customer risk – hiring for retail has never been tougher. With the rush for holiday hiring, it is important to have the correct background screening process in place. Using the right technology for your employment background checks can affect how quickly you can get your new hire onboarded and on the work schedule.

When hiring a lot of people for the holidays, companies must be aware of and respect the rights of the applicants and the employees. Illegal discrimination or the appearance of it may result in a human rights complaint, which can lead to a time-consuming and expensive investigation. Also, to respect the privacy rights of applicants and employees, organizations should be aware of their obligations and develop background check policies that consider their particular needs, risk tolerance and legal obligations. Find out more best practices for creating a background screening policy and how Canadian privacy and human rights laws affect the hiring process by downloading our white paper, Legal Considerations for Background Screening in Canada.

Download Tips on Canadian Background Screening Compliance

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.