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Hiring Christmas casuals: 3 thoughts for small businesses

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Hiring Christmas casuals: 3 thoughts for small businesses

The run up to Christmas is the busiest time of year for both retailers and hospitality businesses. There's extended shopping hours, busy bars, raucous office parties and wild-eyed shoppers stalking the high-street for those last minute gifts.

While the influx in Christmas custom provides a welcome boost in revenue, it can put additional strain on your operations. A study by independent review site Trustpilot showed an increase of negative reviews in the Christmas periods over 2015/16, with negative 1-star reviews accounting for 12.4% of all reviews in December. Poor customer service was the main driver of this dissatisfaction.

Taking on seasonal workers can be a quick and cost-effective way of reducing the burden on your business and protect your customers' satisfaction. Here are some things to consider;

Assess your staffing needs

Hiring Christmas casuals: 3 thoughts for small businesses

Staff are an expensive commodity. Accurately assessing demand is crucial to reducing unnecessary expenditure. Examining the previous year's figures will allow you to forecast demand with some degree of accuracy. Epos Now’s intelligent back office reporting ensures you're fully informed at the touch of a button.

Establish if your business has enough work to justify hiring extra staff. Would your permanent staff be interested in working overtime? Some staff may be interested in additional hours. You could even sweeten the deal with a bonus incentive or time off in lieu.

If you do need help, identify where temp staff will add the most value to your business. For example, hospitality businesses might want assistance with glass collection or kitchen portering, where retailers might need help manning the shop floor or stocking the storerooms. This can take the pressure of your permanent workers and reduce the training requirements of your casual staff, saving both time and money.

Planning ahead

Hiring Christmas casuals: 3 thoughts for small businesses

Planning ahead is essential to fulfilling demand and getting the first pick of top talent. If you haven’t thought about your staffing needs, start now. Advertise the vacancies in your premises, on your website, social media and free job sites such as Gumtree.

Be prepared to sift through CV’s, hold interviews and train your new recruits long before the Christmas rush gets underway. As your worker's official employer you must afford them the same rights and benefits as your permanent staff. As their employer, you will also be required to add them to your payroll and submit all their information to the HMRC, including NI and student loan information. Click here for more advice on payroll.

If you simply don’t have the time to look for additional staff, you can look to use a recruiting agency. Agency staffers take care of the whole process, vetting potential candidates, assigning people who fulfil your skill requirements and look after payroll. This takes the time and effort out of hiring seasonal staff with many agencies specialising in retail and hospitality roles, but it does come at a cost and agency premiums can be high.

Streamline staffing

Hiring Christmas casuals: 3 thoughts for small businesses

Get your business set up with innovative tech, guaranteed to streamline your staffing and provide an elevated level of customer service. Epos Now’s Athena platform offers a cleanly designed front till interface with logical user journeys. This means staff can be trained in under 15 minutes. Athena also affords managers customisable permissions to avoid unauthorised discounts or promotions.

Epos Now is also fully integratable with all-in-one workplace management solution app, Deputy. The workflow programme, which is trusted by 40,000 businesses, streamlines labour costs by helping you schedule employees based on real-time sales data, in addition to automated tasking, payroll, communication, saving you valuable time and money.


Don’t compromise your service by being understaffed. Use your own business data to establish your staffing needs and address them long before the Christmas rush comes around. The Christmas period is also a good opportunity to scout new members for your permanent team, so why not grasp the chance to secure top talent for your business in the new year?


Erin Heenan

Erin joined Epos Now in 2016 as an in-house content writer for the marketing department, making use of 10 years experience working in busy restaurants. An avid fan of shopping and eating out, she is committed to helping retail and hospitality SMEs get the most out of their businesses.

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