Holiday retail is getting bigger and more complex every year. Even as brick-and-mortar sales keep dropping across many retail sectors, online retail continues to skyrocket. Amazon, for example, saw a 20% increase in year-over-year sales, requiring the company to double its holiday hires in 2019. And Amazon is just one of many retailers who broke records last holiday season.
Early February might seem a little early to start thinking about holiday hiring plans for 2020, but it’s the ideal time to start laying the groundwork for the recruitment and hiring you’ll do later in the year. That’s because, as digital takes center stage—even in traditionally brick-and-mortar verticals like groceries and housewares—seamless electronic processes have become baseline expectations not only for customers, but also for employees. Here’s how putting digital workflows at the center of your hiring and onboarding processes can make this year’s holiday retail experience exceptional—not only for your human resources staff, but also for the employees who fulfill your orders, and the customers they deliver to.
Go 100% digital on your hiring process—then scale it up.
Even if you’ve digitized certain aspects of your hiring process, other aspects, such as assembling a seasonal hiring plan or conducting a face-to-face interview, still require manual expertise.
Problem is, every manual step in your hiring process introduces the potential for errors and delays—and across a workforce, these delays can cascade. If a hiring manager has to wait for a chain of approval before signing and onboarding a group of new hires, it’s training time lost. Unprepared new hires can add up to greater risks and inefficiencies in your warehouses and fulfillment centers.
The good news is that all these delays can be avoided by digitizing your hiring process, connecting those disparate pieces into a single workflow. For example, if hiring managers can rapidly sign off on dozens of new hires with just a few clicks, your approval process instantly drops from several weeks to mere hours.
For example, a recent Total Economic Impact study commissioned by Adobe found that adopting e-signatures throughout the hiring process can make an organization’s cycle time 28 times faster. It can also save up to 2.5 hours per employee being onboarded; as much as $6 per document in printing, faxing, and shipping fees; and an average of 125 hours per user per year in preparation, data entry, and storage costs.
In short, for a company that hires thousands of seasonal workers, digitizing the hiring process can rapidly add up to millions of dollars in savings.
Empower your seasonal employees to work like seasoned pros
Every onboarding process ultimately seeks to address the same question: “How can we create a scalable hiring pipeline that sets new employees up for success?” When you’re hiring hundreds of thousands of seasonal workers, it’s impractical to train them individually, or even in small groups. Still, you’ve got to connect with each employee as if you were training them on a 1:1 basis.
The key to this adaptation is to design for self-sufficiency. New employees need to feel empowered to handle the innumerable challenges and surprises that will arise in their day-to-day work without continually reaching out to a supervisor.
An automated digital hiring process can be the first step in empowering new hires. Amazon, for example, provides interactive apps that walk new employees through the hiring pipeline, answer questions about their job roles, and provide on-demand access to data about their upcoming shifts. But even if you don’t invest in a custom employee app, an interactive digital onboarding process can help ensure that your new hires have the knowledge and training they need to execute their job roles with confidence and positivity.
In fact, a digital hiring process achieves far more than just increasing the productivity of your seasonal workforce. It also creates a scalable pipeline for identifying the best and brightest year-round hires from among your seasonal workers, while inspiring full-time candidates with confidence in the prospect of a longer-term career with your company.
Deliver exceptional work experiences that translate into great customer experiences.
To create an exceptional—and efficient—onboarding experience, you’ll need to think about serving up job applications, interviews, and training just as you would any other digital-first experience: with a journey that transitions seamlessly across platforms and devices.
Adobe achieves this seamlessness through an ecosystem of flexible digital solutions that interlink to create an omnichannel onboarding experience across devices and systems. But even if you take a simpler approach, you’ll create more empowered seasonal workers—and more delighted customers—by placing employee experience at the heart of your hiring and onboarding processes. An empowered sales and fulfillment staff is more likely to deliver exceptional customer experiences, so your sales go up, creating happier employees and customers along the way.
Of course, digitization requires some planning. But the more you invest in automating these processes now, the less time you’ll have to devote to holiday hiring—and the more resources you’ll free up to focus on timely strategic initiatives throughout the year.
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