The holidays have a bad habit of sneaking up on us when we least expect it. If you’re in the retail business, you can’t afford to go into the season unprepared. Here’s what you need to know about staffing your retail store before the rush begins.

Why You Need to Start Staffing Early

Kohls announced at the end of June that it was looking for (and hiring!) workers for the holiday season at 300 of its stores. JCPenney looks like they will follow suit, with plans to hire 18,000 workers just for the back-to-school season. With the unemployment rate at historical lows, getting all of the staff you need before the holiday rush is imperative. That’s why hiring much earlier than you’ve done in the past is practically a requirement.

Another reason to hire early? To allow yourself time to train your new employees and get them used to working in your store before the massive influx of customers. It’s also a great time to retrain or even cross-train your current employees to ensure everyone is clear on store procedures and policies.

Your Retail Staff Checklist

Now that you’re ready to start hiring, make sure your recruiting plan includes the following:

Hiring Cashiers

While you may use some of your sales floor staff to man the registers, you may want to have extra cashiers this holiday season. They’re primary job will be to handle the payments, issue receipts, process returns, and pack up products for customers to take home. You also don’t want to frustrate already stressed out customers by having them wait in long lines because you don’t have enough people at check out. 

Skills to look for: Good organization skills, eye for details, can work a POS system, and has a good grasp of basic math.

Hiring Stock Clerks

Nothing can sour a shopping experience more than not being able to find what you’re looking for. Having enough stock clerks during a time when you’ll be selling much more product than usual keeps your customers happy. Besides checking and restocking your products, they make sure any expired or damaged products are removed from shelves. Stock clerks are also in charge of keeping your prices updated, which becomes even more important if you run date and time sensitive sales during the holidays.

Skills to look for: the ability to lift heavy products and the stamina to stand on their feet for long periods of time.

Hiring Customer Service Associates

Your customer service associates are your company spokespeople. They tend to your customers from the time they walk into the store, until they leave with your products in hand. Answering questions, finding products, assisting with fitting rooms, handling concerns – these retail workers handle it all. The holidays bring in a lot more people into your store than normal so you have to make sure you have enough associates to tend to them all. 

Skills to look for: excellent communication skills, a fast learner, and has the ability to multi-task.


Don’t have time to find retail staff yourself? We can help with that! Learn more here!

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