Over the Christmas period, we saw a number of organisations hire extra employees to cover a peak in sales. Companies such as Amazon and Argos dramatically increased their workforce and they weren’t alone, with a survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) revealing that approximately one in four (24%) planned to take on seasonal staff over Christmas.

According to The Cordant Group, approximately 28,000 temporary workers were hired throughout December. However, whilst on boarding a large number of temporary workers can help organisations meet customer demand during business fluctuations, it can provide managers with a number of challenges when it comes managing this extended workforce. So how can organisations manage their workforce effectively during peak seasons?

To cope with peak demand, managers must ensure staff are trained, deployed and being productive as quickly as possible – matching the right skill sets to the relevant job role. Shift patterns need to be planned and monitored comprehensively to ensure there are enough feet on the ground, and labour costs are tracked to help identify ways to cut costs by optimising the current workforce. In addition, businesses need to ensure they have full visibility over all employees working hours in order to ensure compliance is maintained with wage and hours laws.

With such a large number of things to contend with and a rapidly increasing workforce, organisations should look towards solutions such as workforce management systems to help them manoeuvre as seamlessly as possible through the festive season. Such systems can help businesses monitor, track and schedule employees to demand, whilst also ensuring employees are paid correctly. Not only does this ease the burden for managers during the busy period, but also saves time on back-office tasks, enabling managers to focus on what really matters – training and supervising the performance of new and existing staff.

Organisations that had workforce management strategies in place throughout the festive season no doubt benefited from a more efficient, productive and well-managed workforce during the busy period. Peak seasons can be a stressful time for businesses. However, those organisations that have a well-balanced workforce, managed by a fit-for purpose workforce management system, will have had no problem meeting the extra demand during peak seasons of the year.

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