It is essential to plan ahead to ensure you have the right number of employees with the right skills to meet demand at peak times.
You can work out appropriate staffing levels by:
- Looking at sales information and data - this will help you to work out the amount of activity at peak times and the basic level of work that is constant throughout the rest of a year.
- Deciding on work that is crucial and needs to be consistent for the business to run on a daily basis throughout the year.
- Deciding on who is best to perform crucial work - ie will you use permanent employees or will you need to train temporary staff?
- Considering the local job market - is there an adequate temporary workforce available, and how quickly can new staff or previously hired staff be employed?
- Planning cover for absence, illness and holidays to maintain staffing levels. One way to do this is to look at how many days have been lost in the past and to know how many staff are necessary for the business to operate.
You need to find the right balance between permanent employees - the core of your staff who work all year - and temporary staff or staff on fixed term contracts who only work during the peak periods. Your core of permanent staff should be able to keep the business ticking over and make sure that everything is in place for busy periods.
If it is difficult to predict how busy you will be, you can use a recruitment agency to take on suitable, temporary staff at short notice.
There are other employment options that you can use to meet seasonal business needs, such as:
- family and friends who may be able to help out at weekends and during school or college breaks
- part-time workers who may be able to ease the pressure at particularly busy times
- outsourcing some business activities
For further information see recruiting seasonal staff.