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Strategic Readiness for Holiday Small Business Hiring Surges

3 Mins read

As the holiday shopping season approaches, small businesses, especially retailers, are gearing up for the most critical time of the year. For many the revenue generated during the holiday season can make or break their overall financial health – especially this year. According to recent data from Intuit QuickBooks, consumers will prioritize shopping at small businesses this holiday season over a big box retailer, and are expected to spend roughly $485 while shopping small this season compared to $342 last year, signifying an upcoming boom in business.

As small business owners prepare for a busy couple of months, the demand for additional workers to manage the growing workload makes it imperative that they create a positive company culture for all employees and have the right back-end tools to get them through successfully, especially given the difficult economic landscape this year. To navigate small business ownership during the holiday season, consider these three approaches that center around human-centric employee management, leveraging modern digital tools and strategies to meet today’s workplace demands:

Embracing Tech-Driven Talent Acquisition

In this era of digital transformation, harnessing technology and people analytics is pivotal for small businesses to succeed while growing their headcount. Integrating tech-driven talent acquisition tools that help streamline the recruitment process is one of the most effective ways to do this. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) prove invaluable by sifting through applications efficiently, identifying top contenders, and even automating interview scheduling.

With an influx of seasonal job applications coming in, having access to the most efficient and accurate recruitment tools can make or break talent acquisition efforts during the busy season. By fully embracing the data analytics provided by ATS systems, small business owners can optimize hiring strategies based on performance trends. Other emerging technologies like AI can even identify alternative locations to hire remote talent or help mitigate bias throughout the hiring process.

Cultivating a Supportive and Growth-Driven Company Culture

Small businesses have a unique advantage when it comes to fostering a strong company culture and work environment compared to larger enterprises – especially during the holidays when a business may onboard seasonal workers. Unlike the experience of most employees at larger companies, small business employees have greater access to their company’s leadership. This provides an opportunity for leaders to directly impact an employee’s engagement, instilling that all workers can contribute and help shape the business as it grows.

Consider regular feedback loops, mentorship programs, and open communication channels between leadership and employees to create an ecosystem of growth and learning for both full-time and seasonal workers. This not only enhances skill development but can foster a culture of continuous improvement, which can encourage dedication and loyalty, reducing turnover rates and the associated costs of recruitment and training.

Remember, compensation and benefits aren’t the only reason small business workers are in their jobs. This Intuit QuickBooks study shows more than 2 in 5 small business employees (42%) value work that gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Cultivating these connections and a culture centered on values will help businesses keep employees happy and invested in their work. It might even entice seasonal employees to stay with the company year-round.

Optimizing Payroll Systems for Efficiency and Reliability

An efficient payroll system is not just a back-office function; it’s a critical element of managing the increased workload and people management that comes with increased seasonal hiring. A sudden influx of new employees can strain traditional manual payroll processes. On the other hand, automated payroll systems are scalable and capable of easily handling a growing workforce.

This scalability ensures the payroll process can keep up with the pace of seasonal hiring without causing operational bottlenecks or even worse – late paychecks. Online and integrated payroll and workforce solutions also simplify the way new and current employees can easily access and review their own payroll information, taking the worry and guesswork out of when and how much they get paid. This transparency and sense of security is vital in today’s competitive small business talent market.

The holidays provide a tremendous opportunity for small businesses to grow their customer base and reach sales goals before the end of the year. Being able to manage the added complexity of running business operations smoothly during this time is key. A recent study from QuickBooks reveals a correlation between higher use of digital tools, like ATS and payroll systems, and better business performance.

They found that US small businesses using 8 or more digital tools to manage different areas of their business are almost twice as likely to report revenue growth and almost three times more likely to have expanded their workforce over the 12 months prior to April 2023. As the holidays approach, the ability to innovate and manage back-end operations using these digital tools, especially combined with a mission to cultivate a warm and growth-driven company culture, could have a tremendous impact on a business’s long-term financial success.

Sandy Edwards is the Director of Product Management, Intuit QuickBooks Payroll.

Holiday worker stock image by Lysenko Andrii/Shutterstock

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