Half the year has flown past us in the blink of an eye. We’ve reached the point when the inevitable prep for the impending holiday season has to start. “What! Now?”, you say. “Isn’t it too soon? The holiday season is a good 4 (or is it 3) months away”. We say, well begun is half done. Especially in the retail and hospitality industry which employs a large seasonal workforce to meet customer demands. To manage the shopping frenzy occurring between Thanksgiving and Christmas and to manage seasonal peaks in tourism, the retail and hospitality industry must ensure that they are ready for the holiday season well before Santa starts loading his sleigh.
Bringing in this temp workforce is a smart strategy and has been a trend in retail and hospitality. However, training procedures often have to be shortened to get these workers up to speed with their job roles. These workers also have to be cross-trained to maximize resource utilization. This temporary workforce is thrown in at the deep end at the busiest time of the year and is expected to perform. It, thus, becomes essential to ensure that that the ‘temporary’ nature of their jobs does not impact their engagement levels and leave them disinterested in their jobs. With the whirlwind of activity that happens during this season, here’s a look at what organizations can do to ensure that these seasonal employees are battle ready for the holiday season.
Firstly, the hiring of the seasonal workforce should not be left until the last minute. Preparing early by understanding the anticipated demands of the season is a good place to start. With the temporary workforce hired, optimizing onboarding experiences becomes critical. Retail and hospitality work environments are challenging and setting up onboarding schedules when you expect the temporary workers to hit the ground running can be taxing. However, using an LMS, organizations can create separate onboarding programs for the workers with their own learning pathways. The workforce can then access these programs from the comfort of their desktop or even a mobile app and complete the onboarding exercise.
The world is now mobile and Learning and Development (L&D) has to be the same. Assigning temporary workers permanent desktops can be quite a struggle and inconvenient. With people becoming more proficient using smartphones, using the mobile to disseminate training material can prove to be a welcome relief. Mobile learning (mLearning) can be utilized to train workers on processes and protocols, push content to them when necessary, send notifications and reminders, and also disseminate campaign-based content that is more tactical and specific to the needs of this workforce.
Time is a big constraint when it comes to training the seasonal employee. Given that these employees will be joining the organization at the busiest time of the year, fitting in even an hour-long training into their daily schedule can often be impossible. When even taking a full lunch-break is a luxury, how can one take out an hour a day for training? Creating training modules that are specific, personalized, customized, and yet shorter so that they can be disseminated in a device-agnostic manner would be ideal. Bite-sized training modules that can be completed quickly to ensure greater knowledge retention and consequently better training outcomes can do the trick.
They might be your seasonal workforce, but you need them to be as skilled as your regular workforce without giving them the luxury of a learning curve. The training of these workers thus has to be continuous. This means giving the respective departments the capability to curate their own training programs to fill the skills gap. This also helps create a learning culture and empowers each department to proactively manage their learning and development needs proactively.
Curate engaging content
Storytelling, animations, gamification are just a few of the many things that you can use to curate engaging content. These help in fostering greater engagement with the training, make learning more effective. They reduce the cognitive overload that new workers face. For example, using a game to get an employee to learn about all the promotional offers is likely to be more effective than handing him/her a list of offers to memorize. Using storytelling to familiarize a seasonal employee with a property is likely to deliver better results than expecting him to remember it from a brochure.
Be customized and feedback driven
Since we can only manage what we can measure, the training for seasonal employees also has to be measurable and feedback driven. When it is so, learning and development departments know the areas of improvement and they can then push the relevant training programs to them. Ineffective training modules can be identified and tweaked. Proactive feedback is also more effective and leads to better knowledge retention. So, an employee is more likely to remember what he did wrong and what the remedial measures are while he is still using the module rather than after. eLearning and mobile learning are of great help here as it makes it easier for organizations to track user behavior and make the needed changes in the training modules.
Additionally, HR departments must ensure that they have specific policies in place for the temporary staff so that they can track and compensate them for their hours spent in learning and development using eLearning.
Whether it is to capture as many sales as possible, make customer interactions smoother, processes faster, balance merchandise flow in retail or provide exemplary customer experiences in hospitality, getting temp workers up to speed for the holiday season can be a tough challenge. For shoppers and travellers, the holiday season can be pure heaven. It’s up to the businesses to ensure that they have their seasonal staff upskilled in time so the season doesn’t become a version of hell for them.
At eNyota we have designed and created over 10,000 eLearning courses used by corporate giants to train their seasonal staff globally! We provide you with a free consultation and our team of experts ensure you get the best service for your investments. To know more reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or take the time to fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.