New technology for hiring temps and season workers within an hour

Monday, June 20th, 2016
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The UK has been predicted to have one of the hottest summers this year, although recent weather doesn’t seem to suggest so! In the past, when the UK experiences sudden heat, supermarkets experienced rocketing sales of barbecue products and millions of people flocked to seaside centres, hospitality venues and visitor attractions. When sunny skies come to some parts of the UK, other parts of the country often still experience snow and frost.

London might be used to this sort of drastic weather change, but it’s an on-going headache for hospitality businesses that have to react to the fluctuating visitor numbers caused by such seasonable unpredictability. When one weekend is a packed-out scorcher and the next is a wet washout, how do you get your staffing levels correct? Taking on season workers is common practice, but staff up in advance in anticipation of a full house and you’re likely to be wasting money and have temps twiddling their thumbs if the weather doesn’t deliver.

Event organisers have similar headaches. Booking event staff can be a financially risky guessing game. Employ enough seasonal workers to cover maximum capacity of your venue and you could be looking at wasted money if attendance is down. But leave staffing until the last minute and you may be faced with a staff shortage. The worst-case scenario for an events business is that getting the balance of event staff and customers wrong compromises safety.

It’s not just London’s hospitality and tourism businesses that have to manage seasonal or event-led staffing issues. Retailers often take on extra tempsto meet demand over Christmas, holidays and peak times in the retail calendar. Sales events like Black Friday have grown far beyond even retailers expectations in recent years; Black Friday in the UK in 2015 saw an 18% increase in customer spend on the previous year, and 2014 saw police called to some stores to manage crowds due to insufficient staffing levels at retailers who hadn’t accurately anticipated demand. Other businesses that often use season workers include call centres which can get busier in holiday periods and even manufacturing businesses who need to cover fluctuating production levels of seasonal products or big orders that come in unexpectedly.

And the headache doesn’t end for business managers once they’ve booked season workers. Ensuring consistency and customer satisfaction is key in both hospitality and retail, and it can be a challenge delivering this with a fluctuating workforce brought in to cover peak demand with no time to train. Finding temporary staff who have experience in a role or who are qualified in a particular area, and who are available to work at short notice, is an extra challenge, and one that often leaves companies using temps who haven’t had full training and aren’t able to deliver a customer experience that’s up to scratch. For a hospitality company trying to cover their peak time, this can be disastrous if it leads to negative customer reviews or complaints, or impacts on sales levels.

But despite the issues, hiring temps and season workers continues to grow in popularity, proving to be a flexible way for businesses to weather economically tough times. 142,000 people are employed in seasonal, temporary and fixed term work in the UK, and it’s an employment model that suits many workers looking for flexible work, particularly students and young people, who make up 72% of seasonal workers.

New technology offers a better way to hire temps and season workers

The good news for businesses that rely on temporary staffing to cover sales peaks is that new technology is delivering ways to make it quicker and easier to cover staffing demands at short notice. Such technology is starting to replace the traditional model of temp agencies that are restricted to working by phone and operate only in office hours.

Catapult is one of these new solutions, a responsive staffing platform that can reliably find and confirm staff within an hour. On an unexpectedly sunny day when a hospitality manager is looking at the approaching crowds with one eye on the sales figures and one eye on the staff rota, this incredibly short turnaround can be a lifesaver. Enter a few details, search for staff, pick suitable candidates and you could be staffed up before the rush overwhelms you.


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