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Short-Staffed For the Holidays: Stay on Track

AUTHOR: Kevin Jaskolka

Hiring seasonal employees presents a major challenge to small business owners. Budgets are often tight and finding staff to fill in short-term roles requires a lot of time and resources. But it's hard enough to simply fill key positions when seeking seasonal workers for the holidays. The challenge only escalates when you've run into a wall and simply can't find the staff you need.

Going into the holidays short staffed can disrupt your best-laid plans. It can leave your existing workers struggling to keep up with everyday demands. It can leave customers feeling like they can't get a hold of you as your employees end up responding slowly because they're too busy. It can even prevent you from improving production to keep up with heightened holiday demand.

You can't afford to go into the holidays without the staff you need. However, you do have a few options at your disposal to fill any staffing gaps at the last minute. Here are five quick solutions for staffing problems you may face during the holidays:

1. Outsource Customer Service

Free your teams from a heavy influx of customer calls by working with a third-party contact center specialist. You may not want to pay for this service long term, but it can be a great way to supplement your staff during the holidays. What's more, the contact center has existing staff, software and training to manage your calls, so you don't have to worry as much about onboarding individual employees. Instead, you set up the relationship with the third-party contact center and equip your in-house staff to focus on their primary competencies.

2. Consider Remote Freelancers

Some jobs, such as updating your website, creating promotional materials or performing basic bookkeeping, can be completed remotely just as easily as they can in the office. If you're having trouble sourcing employees from your local job pool, consider turning to remote freelancers. This gives you access to a broader range of skilled professionals who can step in for specific projects and help you get through the holidays.

3. Cross-Train Your Existing Teams

The holidays can be an all-hands-on-deck time when you may need team members to take on unconventional roles to get you through the busy season. Planning ahead and cross-training your staff can make it easier to fill in productivity gaps as needs emerge during the season. You don't want to ask an office assistant to hop on a customer service call with no prep. But if you train your staff on customer service best practices, it'll be easier to ask that office assistant to step in if needed.

4. Establish Overtime Benefits

The holidays can be a busy time for everybody, but they can also be an expensive time. Some of your employees may be on board with making some extra cash through overtime work, making it easier for you to keep up with operational demands without having to bring new workers on board.

5. Evaluate Productivity-Focused Technology

Software that helps you automate key tasks or eliminate time-consuming, paper-based processes can drive efficiency gains that help you keep up with the hectic schedule of the holiday season. While you can save a lot of time with the help of technology, you need to make sure you move quickly to get solutions in place so you can train staff and adjust your processes before the holidays start impacting operations. That said, simple apps can make a big difference when they solve operational pain points.

Get the Financial Help You Need for the Holidays

Any of these strategies could help you keep up with operational challenges during the holidays, even if you are short-staffed. However, they also come with a potentially hefty price tag. Small business loans can give you the boost you need to handle these costs and create value over the course of the holidays. Alternative lenders, like Select Funding, can be particularly helpful here. We get you cash in just a couple of days, and focus on smaller loans so you can get the capital you need without taking on a huge debt burden.

While the holidays can be a busy time, alternative lenders can give you peace of mind. Our lending options give you flexibility, making financing a service-driven relationship. Through small, short-term loans, you can use funding as an ongoing tactic to grow your business as demands shift over the course of the year.

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