Risk in Store
8 Key Strategies for Hiring Retail Temps

As a retailer, you might hire temps or additional staff to help you get through a busy season. Whether it's for the holiday shopping rush, a mega sale, or other busy time, temporary workers can give you a flexible staff without a long-term commitment to payroll.

But before you hire temps at your store, here are a few strategies that can help you get more from your temp staff and protect your liabilities.

8 Things to Know When Hiring Temporary Employees at Your Store

Whether you run a flower shop gearing up for Valentine's Day or a bridal boutique getting ready for the summer wedding rush, your store may benefit from hiring temporary staff to boost your workforce. If you're hiring temps, try the following:

1. Plan ahead.

Plan ahead.

If you need temporary workers for the winter holiday shopping frenzy, make sure you're not calling the staffing firm on the week of Thanksgiving. Give yourself some time to get the paperwork sorted out and train new hires.

2. Be clear.

Be clear about expectations and long-term possibilities.

If you're only hiring a temp for a month, be clear that that's the case. If, on the other hand, there's an opportunity for long-term employment, make that evident to your temporary staff.

3. Train staff.

Train staff.

When you hire a new employee, it takes a while for them to learn the ropes. The same is true for temps. Implement training and give them ample time to learn the job. You don't want new temps learning on the fly while your store is flooded with holiday shoppers.

4. Schedule accordingly.

Schedule accordingly.

Making your store's schedule isn't always easy. When you have temporary staff to schedule, make sure you have plenty of experienced staff working alongside them to answer any questions.

5. Check with your insurer.

Check with your insurer.

Any time you add staff — permanent or temporary — you should check with your insurance agent to see whether you need additional Workers' Comp coverage.

6. Think about morale.

Think about morale.

Spend a little time getting to know your temporary staff and introducing them to permanent employees. Demonstrate that yours is an inclusive work environment.

7. Pair regular staff with temps.

Pair regular staff with temps.

One way to make sure your temporary staff is properly trained is to pair temps with your regulars, maybe even using a "buddy system" to make sure they're learning the right way to do their job.

8. Set the tone.

Set the tone.

When you hire new people, you want to make sure to set the right tone for your workplace. Perform spot checks of cash registers and inventory to show new staff that you're organized and serious about preventing theft and mistakes. (See "4 Retail Inventory Management Tips to Prevent Theft" for more on nipping theft in the bud).

Other Situations When You Might Want to Hire Temporary Staff

While hiring temporary staff is smart when you need additional workers for your business, there are other times when you might want to contact a staffing agency, including:

  • Hiring a temporary replacement for an injured worker.
  • Getting help for one-time projects.
  • Hiring temporary help to see if your business can support expanding to hire additional employees.
  • Testing out a new hire.
  • Running a sale (See "A New Retailer's Guide to Markdowns, Sales, and Discounts").

Whatever the reason you plan to hire temporary workers, make sure you plan ahead and review our eight key strategies and protect your risk.

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