As we shared yesterday, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts retailers will hire as many as 800,000 seasonal employees during November and December. Last year, 768,000 people were hired as holiday help. With competition heating up for the best seasonal help, here are a few ways you can attract the best talent possible for the holidays. You’ll find a two-word theme in these tips: flexibility and incentives.

A non-commission-based wage

We know some employees like commission. And yes, it’s an incentive to keep others from standing behind a register staring at their cell phones. But working on commission is stressful, particularly for individuals who are looking for steady pay during the holiday season. Commission-based wages can also cause in-fighting and tension between employees, something you definitely don’t want in your store when customers are already stressed out.

An alternative to a commission for seasonal employees is to limit the commission to big sales—say over $1000, or something equivalent in your shop. Thus it’s an added bonus, not something they’ll rely on to pay the bills. Another idea is a storewide commission based on hitting a day-long goal. It’s both an added bonus and it fosters teamwork.

Fun incentives

Ranging from pizza parties, cider and cookies at all times, or special prizes for reaching certain sales numbers. For example, if you have a specific product you’re looking to push, give employees an incentive to do so. “For every five you sell, you get two movie passes.” Fun incentives sometimes works better than cash.

Schedule flexibility—with incentives

One of the biggest downers for seasonal employees, especially those who must travel great distances to be with family, is  being required to work on the biggest days of the season: Black Friday, Christmas Eve, the day after Christmas, New Years Eve and New Years Day. If possible, be flexible on one of the travel days before or after Christmas. At the same time, reward those who will work on those days. Make them time-and-a-half days (Christmas Eve and New Years Day already are.) Perhaps add incentives like credits for in-store purchases. Make these days as fun and festive as possible for both customers and employees.

The bottomline

The best talent wants to work and most likely needs and appreciates the opportunity you are providing. But they may also be feeling a bit homesick and blue. The best workers will appreciate your flexibility and reward it with more production when at work. If they don’t, they’re not one of the best.

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