Festive Talent Pools: Managing Peak Demand For Temporary Labour


Christmas comes but once a year but when it does many companies are faced with the challenge of ramping up staff to meet the seasonal demand. This is a particular problem for sectors such as retail, logistics and hospitality. According to Monster, it is estimated that UK retailers alone are projected to make more than 700,000 holiday hires over the Christmas period. Get it wrong and it could be a depressing start to the new year for businesses.

But it’s not just about getting the right number of staff, it is also important to harness the right talents for the job. This could be anything from shop-work experience or a clean driving licence for deliveries, to silver-service waiting or even the right Santa Claus look and a good deep Ho, Ho, Ho.

This festive demand is just one of the many reasons companies are increasingly looking to build and manage talent pools to recruit part-time or contingent staff.  By creating talent pools, companies can approach the right people at the right time and tap into non-traditional sources. Whilst companies have always had talent coming at it from different directions, there hasn’t been a mechanism that has pooled them together and kept up with them proactively.

Feel The Benefit

So, what are the benefits of talent pools, whether to meet seasonal demands or simply fill skills gaps? The best managed talent pools capture and harness information that can be accessed easily and searched rapidly, delivering cost savings through shorter time‐to‐fill and improved worker quality. Festive talent pools could include previous part-time employees from last Christmas as well as interviewees and candidates who have submitted CVs directly or through channels such as referrals, job fairs and social media, etc. And of course, there are retirees who may be enticed back for another year.

Pre-vetted and known candidates also present less risk if they have done the job before and know their way around the store, restaurant or grotto. This also speeds up the on-boarding and training process, ranging from locum pharmacists or doctors to Santa’s Elves, who may require a Disclosure and Barring Services check. This all helps ensure that the festive workers can start quickly, which is important during the all-to-short peak period.

An important element of a talent pool strategy is to offer proactive engagement with candidates throughout the year with regular communications and incentives – taking sourcing and hiring from reactive to proactive. Creating a community also strengthens the brand too and supports the integration of temp and permanent talent management.

Not Just For Christmas

Christmas festivities aside, good talent can be hard to find whenever you need it quickly, so companies are increasingly investing in talent pools and adopting new talent management strategies to help source and retain the right workers when they need them most.  And it’s clear that the non-employee or contingent worker is becoming a more strategically significant component of the workforce.

It’s a simple question of supply and demand. Where there is a shortage of talent available, many in-demand workers are finding they prefer to work as non-employees for a variety of economic, cultural and technological reasons.

It is also estimated that about 70% of potential workers don’t even make the effort to post their CVs on job boards. So, by building talent pools, companies take a more proactive approach to attract the more passive worker. Companies also need to try harder to give the in-demand talent a good experience from the onset and make people want to work for them.

If companies don’t evolve and add alternative sources such as talent pools to their hiring programmes, they’re going to miss out and won’t be able to compete with companies wooing the same resources. The idea of talent pools is not new but until recently, there hasn’t been a mechanism that provided the integration and management.

For many businesses, Christmas is a make or break time of the year so planning ahead and making sure they have the right temporary talent is certainly non-trivial. Children understand the concept of quality of experience at a very young age and will not want to go back to a bad Santa!

SHARETweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestDigg thisShare on RedditShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Simon Fahie

Simon Fahie is the Managing Director, EMEA, at IQNavigator.