5 tips to prepare early for peak season hiring

July 23, 2020 Mary Lorenz

Getting an early start on hiring for peak season is always a good business move. Starting early allows you adequate time to determine your staffing needs, find and hire the right employees, and adequately onboard them.

This year, however, getting an early start on peak season is absolutely essential. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unique challenges that have not only slowed the hiring process down, but forced employers to rethink the way they hire and onboard new employees, while keeping current employees engaged.

Start preparing for peak season now with the following guidelines. 

Invest in a quality applicant tracking tool

With more people looking for work, you could see an overwhelming amount of applications this year, which means an overwhelming amount of work for your hiring team. An applicant tracking system (ATS) cuts down the time of manually sifting through resumes to automatically find the most qualified candidates for you.

With many systems today, you can also automate the process of posting jobs, setting up interviews, and sending follow up emails to candidates. If you do not already have one, a good ATS is worth looking into - both for now and in the long-term.

Working with a trusted staffing partner means you can leverage their applicant software systems that not only hire the best people but manage them as well. At Staff Management | SMX we use Stafftrack, a proprietary hiring and workforce management tool that brings in the right people at the right time.

Adjust your hiring and onboarding process

In effort to protect potential hires and existing staff and adhere to social distancing guidelines, you may need to conduct interviews remotely using video conferencing software. This entails having the technical support in place and training your hiring managers on the technology now to ensure a seamless experience for new and potential hires.

The same goes for onboarding and training new hires. Adjust your process to take place over live video to simulate the in-person, hands-on experience, and transfer any and all training materials to digital files so employees can access them anywhere at any time. 

Know the rules

Keep in mind that any changes you make to your existing hiring process must be compliant with federal, state and local regulations. For example, if you choose to conduct interviews by phone or video, you need to ensure candidates have access to the necessary equipment. You also have to make sure whatever process you put in place is consistent with all candidates, and whatever method you use isn’t somehow excluding a protected group from consideration for the position.

Also, if your typical hiring practice involves background checks or drug-screening, check with an experienced legal advisor before making any adjustments, in order to ensure you are complying with your industry’s laws and regulations. 

Put safety at the forefront

Now, more than ever, candidates are concerned about their health and safety on the job. Not to mention the new and emerging federal, state and legal guidelines companies must adhere to in the age of coronavirus.

Start thinking now about what practices you need to put in place and measures you need to take to adhere to these guidelines. Make sure you are ready now to supply workers with the resources, equipment and training they need to stay safe and keep customers safe.

Don’t forget about employee engagement

The holidays are already a stressful time, and your employees are likely already feeling some level of fear and anxiety due to the pandemic, so keeping employees engaged will be key. Schedule regular check-ins with your employees to ensure they have the resources and support they need to do their jobs well.

Be ready to address any questions or concerns they have about the organization and their jobs, and try to be as transparent as possible. You may want to consider offering extra health and wellness benefits, which will not only help employees manage stress so they can stay productive, but will differentiate yours as a company that truly cares about its employees.

Of course, if there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s that you can’t plan for everything. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about what peak season (and beyond) holds, consider working with a staffing firm like Staff Management | SMX. A good staffing partner can help you find ways to scale quickly, meet demand and keep your business running even – and especially – during these uncertain times.

Want to get started preparing for peak season? Download our free checklist to get started. 

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