A man working the checkout counter at a store

How to Successfully Staff Your Retail Store for the Upcoming Busy Season

McKenna Janzen | Sep 03, 2020

Whether you manage a large retail chain, a boutique shop, or a convenience store, anticipating the number of workers you may need during any given week to meet demand can present its own challenges. As the store gets busier your employees may feel overworked and under pressure, resulting in inefficient operations, higher turnover rates, and less revenue for your company.

Rest assured, there’s a better way. You can leverage temporary labor to help supplement your staff as demand for your retail business fluctuates — especially as retail picks up over the holidays. In this blog post, we’ll dive into how you can utilize gig workers to help you meet every customer need that comes your way, bringing even more revenue to your store.

What are gig workers?

First, let’s begin with the basics. Gig workers are temporary laborers you can hire on demand. Whether you need someone to come in to complete a half-day of stocking products, or you have several shipments of merchandise you need unloaded, you can use gig workers to help complete tasks around your store.

What are the benefits of hiring last-minute labor?

Of course, you never want to hire more full-time employees than you need. If you experience peak sales periods based on time of year, or if you’ve had to adjust based on unexpected factors (like COVID-19), utilizing temporary workers can cost-effectively help you staff up or down to meet fluctuating customer demand.

Read this small business success story to learn how one retail chain,7-Eleven, uses GigSmart Workers to supplement their staff when the demand for extra workers arises.

Aside from the cost-savings that accompany hiring hourly retail workers over full-time employees, hiring workers on demand gives you more flexibility which can alleviate stress on your full-time staff, improving the experience both for employees and guests of your store.

How should you train your temporary retail workers?

Preparing temporary workers for retail gigs can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. We recommend making sure your temporary workers understand the guidelines they must follow when working your gig. Whether it’s what POS or equipment they’re expected to use, a dress code, or customer service specifics, you need to make them aware of your expectations so they feel prepared for the job and can provide you with quality work.

In addition, make sure your temporary worker meets the physical expectations required to complete each job. Be sure any requirements of their physical capabilities are made clear, for example: telling them they must be able to lift 10-50 lbs, must be able to crouch, or they are frequently required to stand for long periods of time. Explicitly state any dress code requirements, what they should be expected to bring, and/or if you will be supplying them with anything additional that is necessary for their shift.

Once you’ve hired a temporary store worker you should also properly train them. Investing time into training will make your workers more efficient, less likely to be injured on the job, and more likely work repeat gigs for you.

We suggest covering the following in your retail worker training:

  • Provide general ergonomics training and task-specific training to temporary workers to maximize their time.
  • Include safe lifting advice, and any other recommendations to prevent physical injury.
  • Incorporate industry guidelines, OSHA requirements, and state/ local regulations that apply to the Gig into training to help avoid injury and citations.
  • Review basic industry language to familiarize the worker with terms used on the job for clear communication.
  • Demonstrate tasks you expect the worker to perform during their shift, such as cashiering procedures, bagging products, cleaning, restocking merchandise, accepting and processing shipments, or handling customer complaints.
  • Show the worker the locations of stock in the store, so they know where items go and can assist customers looking for a specific item.
  • Educate your workers on company safety measures and procedures.
  • Cover information specific to your company or anything else that will help them successfully complete the gig.

For the same reasons it’s important to make your temporary store workers aware of your expectations, it’s crucial to advise them of what the consequences will be should they not meet those expectations. Make sure you are transparent with them so that they are aligned on what to do and what not to do to prevent confusion on the worksite. With clearly defined expectations, you might just find a temporary worker you want to hire over and over again.

Where can I find last-minute skilled workers?

It can be difficult to find qualified last-minute labor for retail shifts, but GigSmart makes it easy. Whether you’re a part of a large retail chain or operate a boutique shop, you can find and hire skilled workers with GigSmart’s Get Workers hiring app.

If your needs are immediate, we can help you find qualified, temporary labor in less than an hour. If you know you’ll be needing an influx for your upcoming busy season, you can schedule shifts up to 30 days in advance. All of our workers are insured at no additional cost to you, and you can even require workers to have passed a background and motor vehicle check prior to working your gig. Lastly, you set workers hourly rate, and GigSmart takes care of the payment — without the additional paperwork and overhead that accompanies hiring W-2 employees.

If you’re ready to hire temporary, skilled workers for your store’s needs, create your first free gig post in your Get Workers hiring account today.

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