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Tips for temps!

You may be putting the finishing touches on your New Year’s resolutions…

Upload Valentine’s Day arrangement pictures on the website — check!

Update the POS system with new skew’s — check!

temp1 Prepare schedules for Valentine’s Day — check!

Hire Temp help for Valentine’s Day — OOPS!  

What used to be rare has now become standard; 100,000 workers have just given their last “HO-HO-HO’ in retail, delivery, and fulfillment jobs across the country. Now is it time to get ready for the Valentine rush of volume. Here are tips to help ensure your temporary hiring is filled with “hearts, flowers, and lots of love”!


Planning for your Workforce:

* Create clear job descriptions. You need people who can perform specific duties and hit the ground quickly. Identify five-six “must have” skills required for the position and detail them in a job description. Use this information in job postings, marketing, website, and interview questions. “Must have” skills might include: attention to detail, service mentality, a smile, computer skills, dependability, presentation, valid driver’s license, etc.

* Define the work schedule and specific dates of employment. This dispels the notion that this may turn into a full-time position and allows the employee to plan their life.

* Identify the rate of pay and incentives. Most retailers hire temporary workers for Black Friday or the season and pay an elevated rate of pay and offer a product discount for the day/days that temps work. The rate and discounts are an enticement to take on the temporary role. Tell your full-time staff about the rate of pay and perks for temps. Be up front as they will become aware of this information and you don’t want to create a team issue. Remind your employees that they have continued employment, perks and benefits.



* Develop a one-page interview sheet. Be proactive and develop a standard five-question interview sheet based on the “must have” skills you require for the role. This helps you remain focused, provides a location for proper note taking, and ensures consistency.

* Let employees and customers know you are looking for temporary help. They know your company and culture and typically refer people that they would want to interact with.

* One of my friends takes vacation days from his corporate job to deliver Valentine’s flowers. He says it is the most fun he has “at work” all year, people are always happy when he walks in the door.

* Another friend worked in a “utility” position at a retail flower shop doing whatever was needed to get through the rush. He “assumed” he might get flowers to take home at the end of the day. He was in hot water when he walked in the door “empty handed”! Perks are important.

* Utilize alternative interviewing. The application and face-to-face interview take up time. Given the number of people you must interview to hire a temporary team, you need efficient alternatives. Video interviewing allows you to interact and ask the same questions in an abbreviated timeframe while observing and getting to know the candidate.

* Look for a culture fit. You do not have the luxury of extensive onboarding or training and need people who can “get it quickly”. Anything short of a yes is a no. You may be saying to yourself, it is only for a few days…I can handle it! Remember, the temporary employee represents your brand and may be the customer’s only contact with your organization, impressions are lasting. Maintain your brand and people standards. The temp may be your next great, full-time employee!


* Complete paperwork and provide culture information. If you use electronic onboarding, this is an efficient method to complete new hire paperwork and enter a start/term date to ensure you do not miss any details. If you rely on a paper system, minimize paperwork and create a calendar reminder when to complete the termination. Share a one-page overview with culture information and key policies.

* Train the basics. Create quick hit training that the temporary employee can watch or read repeatedly to become proficient and successful, i.e. how to assemble a bud vase.

* Train for the “what if’s”. Delivery can be challenging. Directions are incorrect, streets are blocked, traffic is heavy, buildings are closed, and people are not where they are supposed to be. Tell the driver how you want them to respond in these situations. Their instinct or prior job experience may not be aligned with your brand or mode of operation. Be proactive.


* “Share the love” and show gratitude. Celebrate the success of the holiday with a sincere thank you and flowers just for them. Ending the relationship in a personal manner reinforces their value as a potential employee and customer.