Hiring for the Holiday Season 2021

Author Sean Behr Date Aug 20 2021

It’s never too early to start hiring for the holiday season. In fact, if you’re just starting to devise your hiring strategy in August, you may already be behind. According to research from Adecco, 32% of Americans start looking for holiday jobs in September.

Businesses of all sizes have been facing a hiring crisis for months—there are millions of jobs but no one is filling them. As the holiday season approaches, a recent report reveals 70% more job vacancies than before the pandemic began, with 10% fewer people actually looking for work. So how can you be sure you’re fully staffed for the surge of holiday shoppers this fall and winter?

Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when hiring for the 2021 holiday season.

Digital Grassroots

Whether shoppers show up in stores this holiday season is uncertain, but one thing that is certain is the continued popularity of online shopping. Now’s the time to start staffing distribution centers and hiring delivery drivers to deal with the demand.

With an increasing number of jobseekers looking for work online and with more people taking a vested interest in companies’ social initiatives, take the time to beef up your social media accounts and give followers an inside look at your health and safety practices. Ask current workers to snap photos of social-distancing signage and hand-sanitizing stations, and go a step further by creating a custom hashtag to foster conversation around the safety and health of essential workers.

Consider Varied Employment History

Resumes that cross your desk may not reveal the exact experience or qualifications you’re looking for, but keep in mind that you may get applicants from all sorts of backgrounds whose positions were deemed redundant when the pandemic hit.

Keep an open mind when hiring for hourly roles, especially with workers who are coming from the hardest-hit industries like food service and hospitality. Skills developed in these working environments are easily transferable to other positions in other industries.

Prepare to Boost Benefits

In a surprise to no one, workers will need to be enticed to return to an environment where the risk of contracting a highly contagious virus is high. Ensure you have robust testing, sick leave, and time-off policies in place, just in case your workers or their family members become ill.

If you’re not able to offer health insurance for seasonal workers, offer to pay for COVID-19 testing and allow time off to get vaccinated (or to get booster vaccines, if necessary/available).

If your business relies on workers’ physical presence at your facility or store, take stock of any available space you might be able to leverage for onsite childcare, a small gym, or a coffee lounge, and advertise these as free perks for hourly workers.

Carve Out a Career Path

Hourly workers who may have once settled for a punch-in, punch-out position now prefer a job with a future.

Workers want to grow, not only in terms of their skills, knowledge, and responsibilities but also in salary. To show hourly workers you’re committed to their growth within the company, outline a clear path up their career ladder of choice and offer training programs and education reimbursement to help them reach their professional goals.

Expect the Unexpected

Implementing these initiatives in your hiring practices now will help ensure you and your staff have the proper defenses and strategies in place to tackle whatever COVID-19 brings in the coming months.

While the past two years have taught us that we can’t predict the future, we can do our best to plan and prepare for any possible scenario and keep our staff and ourselves as healthy as possible.


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About the Author

Chief Executive Officer

Sean Behr

Sean Behr is the CEO at Fountain and has served in leadership roles at STRATIM (acquired by KAR), Adap.tv (acquired by AOL), and Shopping.com (acquired by Ebay). Behr also advises, mentors, and invests in entrepreneurs and early-stage companies.