Think now about hiring temporary staff for the Christmas rush, says Katie Trinder, joint managing director, Jobco-op.

Start early

It may feel as though the summer has only just ended but there is nearly always a high demand for Christmas staff and the better candidates will disappear very quickly. By now, you should have worked out your requirements in detail and be planning a recruitment process, whether you intend to carry out your own or work with a specialist recruitment agency. This is especially true for more skilled staff. If you need a quality chef to lead your kitchen team, it’s time to get moving.

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Train thoroughly

There is sometimes an attitude in the hospitality sector that Christmas staff are simply there to help you cope at a time of very high demand. The truth is that customers really notice the service that they receive at Christmas and remember it through the rest of the year. They will remember if the food for their staff party is slow in arriving and the staff surly. It is up to you to provide relevant training to ensure your temps possess the skills required, even if it just letting bar staff know your expectations in terms of customer service.

Don’t just look at younger people

There is often a tendency to view teens and students as ideal Christmas staff because of their availability and moderate wage expectations. However, we see increasing numbers of older people, often semi-retired, looking for temporary work, especially in more skilled hospitality positions. Often, they bring a measured approach and a gravity that is welcome in terms of your overall team. Our recommendation would be, in almost any hospitality environment that isn’t exclusively aimed at the youth sector, to hire a mix of genders and ages.

Consider incentivising

Probably the worst thing that a temp can do over Christmas and New Year when you really need them is not to turn up – but the chances of this happening over the festive period is quite high. One way to minimise the chances of this happening is to provide some kind of incentive for staff, such as a small bonus, that is paid at the end of their working period with you. This is especially appealing for people who have January credit card bills to pay after Christmas.

Remember the best

One good way of handling your Christmas staffing needs, year on year, is to make a note of the best workers and ask them or the agency that provided them whether they would be interested in returning the following year. Some temps come back time and again, and should slot very easily back into your business.

Jobco-op is a specialist online recruitment agency that was founded in 2012, providing a range of recruitment services from traditional search and selection through to advanced database solutions.

Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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