It’s that time of the year again… the clocks have fallen back an hour in most States across the country and the holiday season is just around the corner. Traditionally, families and tourists alike also tend to open their wallets to spend a little more on themselves and loved ones, making it the ultimate time for you to focus on driving your business revenue.
At Deputy, we understand how it can be to find the headspace to figure out what you need to plan for to make sure your business is flying in your busiest period, so we’ve come up with three tips to help get you and your team prepared to have a successful end-of-the-year.
1. Look to the past to predict the future
Before you start any preparations this season, we always recommend looking at past results to help you identify historical trends. Any intel you can get from historical data will help you plan out your operations for the rush ahead.
At a minimum, we suggest looking at your POS data to figure out what date you historically see the first stampede of customers to officially mark the busy season ahead. This will help you to work towards a deadline to have any new operation processes ready by then.
Overlaying sales and wages data to see how effective you have been historically at scheduling to budget against buy periods is a powerful tool for forecasting. The data will help you decide whether to replicate your past strategies or come up with a new approach to improve your ROI.
Solutions like Xero or Square that integrate with Deputy, help to make your everyday business transaction data even more powerful and are pivotal to forecasting well. If you don’t have POS or accounting data flowing into Deputy already, we suggest you connect them before the winter rush so that at the very least you have historical data to look at next year.
2. Hire and retain seasonal staff
Whether you’re a cafe, gym, or retail chain, the best way to optimize on your earnings this busy season is to have an awesome team behind you.
While the quality of candidates applying for casual roles is starting to go back to pre-pandemic standards, the end-of-the year is always a competitive time to find and retain great talent so we recommend getting on the front foot of your hiring and onboarding process now.
To attract the right team members to your business, ensure that each job description reflects the skills and the type of personality that your business is looking for. Have a think now about who your top performers are and how you can ask them to step up into more senior roles to support your casual staff over the winter. Promoting from within and getting your team to help with hiring will attract like-minded talent and build a high-performing team that your customers will love.
Once you attract a great team, ensure you have a thorough but speedy interview and onboarding process in place so you can schedule your new team member before the competition has a chance to.
Digitally manage your team’s important documents to speed up and simplify your new starter onboarding process. Now is also the perfect time to double-check your existing team’s important documents as well. If qualifications are due to expire during the crazy winter rush, make sure that you’re prepared for the downtime of that team member so it doesn’t land you in a staffing pickle.
Many casual staff are looking for additional shifts during the winter period, so ensure you have open lines of communication up front about the number of hours they can expect to work as well as clear documentation of the hourly and overtime rates your business pays so that you can retain team members over the winter.
There are lots of public holidays over fall and winter seasons, and with the longer days, there’s a higher chance for your business to be open for longer hours. Make sure you’ve got your team set up with software that makes it simple to record everyone’s hours and apply the right pay rates.
3. Stay flexible
As you ramp up your workforce, you’re no doubt going to need to be more flexible than ever about how you fill open shifts.
Before the busy season hits, we recommend that you have a digital process in place that allows employees to swap their shifts with peers if they’re not available at the last minute or a system that allows them to block out their availability if they know they will need time off in advance for holidays or family commitments.There’s always the possibility that the weather will be different to the forecast and your customers end up spending their days at home and that can have an impact on your bottom line. Even if you’re not able to be physically onsite with your team every day, by implementing great technology that supports your business processes, you should be able to tell if your team is busy or having a slow day and adjust your team’s shifts accordingly.
While you may already be starting to feel the beginnings of the end-of-the-year rush in your business, it’s best to invest in technology to support your current business processes before things get too busy. Implementing new processes before the start of the rush also gives you enough time to train your existing team members and new team members ahead of time so they can focus on providing great customer service as a priority. Great customer service will lead to repeat business and word-of-mouth promotion giving you the opportunity to optimize your business revenue in your busiest period.