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Seasonal hiring is ruining Christmas

here’s how to sleigh next year’s recruitment strategy

It’s that time of year again. While your colleagues are joyously scheduling Secret Santa and Christmas parties, you’re spending your days manually onboarding tens – no, hundreds – of new starters.

There’s all the tedious paperwork that comes with onboarding and the late-night scheduling of interviews (which, let’s face it, is impossible during the festive period).

And two months from now, poof… they’ve disappeared with the last of the tinsel.

And what do you promise yourself every January?


Do you work in retail, hospitality, or logistics? We know you know the pain.

Whether you’re recruiting stock room assistants, bartenders, and delivery drivers; hiring seasonal staff is just chaos.

Tesco recently launched its Christmas recruitment campaign to hire 30,000 part-time roles for the festive period. Thousands of seasonal jobs are also going at Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, and Amazon.

With the shortage of lorry drivers, Brexit creating supply chain issues, and COVID being the overstayed and unwelcome guest as always, this year might just be the year businesses finally decide to put an end to the mayhem.

And we’re here to help.

Here’s how every HR leader can avoid the burnout and chaos with a robust seasonal recruitment and onboarding strategy for next year:

Step 1: Plan, plan, plan!

If the past year taught us anything, it’s that you really should expect the unexpected. But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan for every feasible eventuality.

A typical seasonal recruitment strategy is planned 3-4 months before the big event.

Not any more people, not anymore! You need to be thinking about next year now.

You’ve learnt difficult lessons about bulk recruiting over the years; now is the time to reflect and plan so you don’t stumble across the same challenges next time.

It’s time to bring out the Gantt chart, your laptop, in-depth reports, and crunch the data on what went well – and what could’ve gone better.

  • Did you notice a dip in candidate engagement, if so, why? Were candidates dropping off during the interview process? Is your recruitment strategy clunky with too much paperwork?
  • Gather feedback from your seasonal staff – they’re the people who can help you figure out areas you need to work on.
  • How have current affairs impacted your recruitment strategy? Does the effect of COVID and Brexit mean it is harder to recruit? If so, you should plan how you’ll attract talent from further afield or in different ways.
  • Did bulk-hiring negatively impact your company culture? How can this be avoided next time? (Hint: the answers are below!)

Step 2: Automation is your best friend

Hiring thousands of seasonal employees means thousands of:

  • Applications
  • Interviews
  • Emails
  • Paperwork
  • Onboarding processes
  • Signatures
  • More paperwork
  • Time lost to stress

You get it; hiring thousands of seasonal employees is exhausting.

But – what if you spent just a quarter of that time setting up an automated workflow that would do all those repetitive tasks for you?

What you’re looking for is an Applicant Tracking System.

Less than half of UK businesses use an ATS to automate and speed up their recruitment process. Shockingly, only a fifth of UK-based companies use an onboarding platform to automate HR tasks.

58% of organisations say their onboarding typically focuses on paperwork and processes, rather than the overall experience for the employee.

When some big businesses are hiring in the thousands, the amount of time and money being lost on repetitive, boring tasks is astonishing.

Meet Recruit

With our ATS, you’ll attract and retain top talent while delivering an excellent candidate experience. Recruit scales with your business, so say goodbye to stressing over seasonal recruitment.

Thanks to talent banking (your very own portal full of candidates who have previously applied for a vacant role in your company), you’ll have instant access to a multitude of candidates to nurture when it comes to future hiring. Reduce your time and cost to hire with Recruit.

Stay compliant amidst the recruitment chaos

It’s so easy to forget about GDPR when you’re thinking of a million and one other things. But you really can’t afford to.

Recruit is fully GDPR compliant, with the ability to delete candidates, their information, and job applications from the system automatically after set time periods.

Plus, consistent data protection updates to the ATS mean you’ll never have to question whether you’re complying with the law.

Step 3: Onboard quickly, remotely, and seamlessly

I know, those three words don’t usually go with the onboarding process, but with the right software, it really is that simple.

Wondering why your onboarding experience needs to be seamless? A great onboarding experience means better employee performance. Better employee performance means a reduction in Christmas chaos for the employer!

The better your onboarding experience, the more likely your current seasonal staff will speak highly of your brand. And hey, this might even cut down recruitment marketing costs next year!

Besides, nobody wants to create more work for themselves. So, when it comes to sending out contracts, training new starters, and helping them get well acquainted with the company, it makes sense for this to be something a HR platform does.

Save your precious time and invest in a Human Resources Information System (HRIS).

Your HRIS will assist you in empowering, developing, and leading your people. A trusty right-hand person, if you will.

Because when you have more time to spend on the bigger matters at hand, that’s when you can lead HR, not just manage it.

Put simply: your HRIS is one portal to keep track of all your vital information about employees.

Meet Sapling

Our HRIS, Sapling, takes care of the boring HR tasks. The onboarding process: from interviewing candidates to sending out paperwork and welcoming the new starter into your team, the overall process would take countless hours of work. With Sapling and its ability to automate and streamline core HR tasks, the onboarding process only takes minutes from a HR perspective.

And not forgetting the integration with our ATS. So, all candidate information is put straight into Sapling without any fuss or hours of manual time… magic!

Seasonal hiring is exhausting and a downright nightmare. And who wants that during the most magical time of the year?

With a seamless onboarding tool, an ATS to automate all those boring hiring task, and planning much earlier than usual, you can expect a lot less “Bah-humbug!” and a lot more “Woo, let’s get this Christmas party started!”

Speak to one of our HR experts about how we can help you strengthen your seasonal recruiting and onboarding strategy today.

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Written by Mara Swann

Mara has a passion for promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion across global workplaces and hopes to inspire learners to focus on their own careers with self-directed learning content.


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