Winter holidays can be a fun time of year, but it can also get stressful. Are you ready for the craziness that comes with the end of the year? It’s not too far off, so it’s time to start thinking about staffing your bakery appropriately.
Scheduling, training, and managing bakery staff can be a challenge by itself, but when you add the pressure of the holidays, it can get downright overwhelming. We put together some ideas that will be helpful as you prepare.
Check out these tips to take the headache out of staffing your bakery during the holiday season.
Look Into the Past
The best way to get a handle on the level of staffing support you’ll need for the upcoming holiday season is to take a look at what past years have looked like. Most of the year, you probably have a good idea of when the daily rushes and lulls occur for your bakery. However, things get much more tricky around the holidays since people are on vacation from their typical routines. Regulars come in at unusual hours, and new customers randomly appear.
Use any historical data you have from your bakery POS system to give you a leg up on planning for holiday rush times. Running labor reports from year’s past will help you understand if and when it makes sense to expand or reduce hours for the most value. For example, BakeSmart can pull historical data that analyzes operating hours and orders to give you an optimized schedule.
Hiring Seasonal Staff
You may think about hiring temporary seasonal staffing to help fill in any holiday staffing needs. Even if you think that the number of employees you currently have is enough to work the predicted hours, extra staff members can offer you more flexibility. This will allow your staff to take the time off that they want to spend with friends and family. With a couple of extra part-time seasonal staff, you can schedule your team for shorter shifts and fewer days.
Here are some seasonal hiring tips:
- Be clear in the job posting and interview about what sort of availability you need and what they can offer.
- Hire for personality. You’ll need competent, quick learners to support your bakery and its customers during a stressful, busy time.
- Train all seasonal staff at once to save time and ensure consistency.
- Keep seasonal employees’ contact information on file for future holiday seasons or even full-time work.
- Hold the standards of temporary employees to the same level of your current staff. You’re not just looking for a warm body.
Scheduling shifts can become more daunting this time of year, but with proper planning and open communication, the process will be much smoother. First of all, be transparent: depending on how schedules play out, it may not be possible for employees to get the day off for every date they’ve requested. Cushion the blow by asking for vacation requests early on and doing your best to fairly honor everyone’s schedules. It’s very possible there will be no hiccups thanks to employees taking part in diverse holidays or celebrating on off-days. Either way, giving your team a balanced and thoughtful schedule in advance will do wonders for morale as the busy season approaches.
Have a process in place for staff who want to switch shifts with each other. As a bakery manager or owner, you should still be kept apprised of who will be working at your bakery at any given time. Make sure your staff understands that you still have final say over scheduling. For example, your team may make a couple of switches that end up having only new or temporary staff members working at a time. But you’ll likely want blended teams of veterans and new hires so that your seasonal staff has a resource to go to for help at all times.
Here are a couple of other ideas that might help schedule this holiday season:
- Open Shifts: publish your schedule with a few unassigned shifts and give your staff an opportunity to volunteer for the slots. After a specified time, you can fill in the gaps as needed.
- Side Work Shifts: schedule short shifts focused on particular tasks that staff might normally be responsible for during their regular shifts, such as administrative tasks, organization, or preparing for the next day.
Keeping Seasonal Staff All Winter Long
Some bakeries have found that it’s difficult to keep staff throughout the entire holiday season, so we put together some tips to encourage them to stay.
- It should go without saying but treat your temporary staff the same way you treat your regular team members.
- You might think about offering a bonus or other incentive for those who complete the season.
- Turn sales goals into contests. Want more loyalty program members? Offer a reward to the employee who signs up the most members.
- Don’t post your schedule last minute. Give employees a chance to review and adjust their personal activities or appointments around their work schedule.
Even for bakers, the season should be about friends, family, and fun. Schedule a free demo of BakeSmart today to see how it can help run your business so you can focus on what really matters: spreading fresh-baked holiday cheer.