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Questions to Ask When Hiring Staff for the Holiday Season


Is your business seasonal in nature? If it is, chances are the upcoming holiday period is of utmost importance to your small to medium enterprise (SME). Retail sales climb during November and peak in December, prior to Christmas. Even if you’re not in retail, consumers are increasingly out and about, on holiday and in the mood to spend their savings they’ve accumulated throughout the year. You might start running special promotions or deals to lure in new customers and drive trade throughout this critical period. 


However, to support increased sales, you will also need to consider hiring additional staff, particularly if your regular staff members are taking their annual time off. When it comes to making smart hiring decisions for the holiday season, it pays to consider a few key set of criteria. The staff you hire may not stay with the business past January; however, the quality of their performance is still integral to the success of your SME. Hiring new staff can be expensive and time-consuming, even for casuals. Here are our best questions to ask yourself when hiring to avoid a costly mistake.  

Temporary or casual staff?

There are some important legal distinctions to be made between casual and temporary staff that will determine which is best for your SME. Casual workers are hired to work shifts and aren’t entitled to any additional sick leave or holiday pay. However, you are required to pay them a 25% casual loading on top of their hourly rate. Casual staff don’t have to accept the shifts you want them to work. If you need a consistent worker you can rely on, it might be best to avoid the scheduling conflict across a pool of casual staff.


“Temporary staff are entitled to many of the same benefits that a permanent worker would be.”


Alternatively, think of temporary staff to fulfil a full-time (or part-time) role, albeit for a limited length of time. Usually, temporary staff are entitled to the equivalent wages, leave accumulation and additional loadings that a permanent worker would be. Also keep in mind that if you pay any staff member (casual or temporary) above $450 in a month, you’ll also have to stump up for their superannuation.


The choice you make depends on the trading conditions and resulting workflow you expect. If the work requirements are not clear, casual staff give you the flexibility to ratchet up your roster quickly. Otherwise, temporary workers are likely more efficient (and less expensive) over the length of the seasonal demand.  

Where to find experienced short-term staff? 

In many ways, COVID-19 has impacted the supply of short-term workers. While there are now almost no international visitors to fill casual roles, there are also many more local workers on the lookout for any type of work, including casual and temporary roles. Typically, these types of workers are younger and are used to sourcing jobs online. If you’re not already, use job seeking websites and social media to reach qualified candidates where they hang out most.


“There are many recruiting agencies that can source and supply excellent temporary staff to your SME.”


Facebook groups are a goldmine for finding uniquely experienced workers. Looking for a passionate and gifted photographer? Post in your local photography Facebook group, or even nail down some local talent using Instagram. If finding the right staff isn’t your thing, many recruiting agencies can source and supply temporary staff to your SME over the busy holiday period. Often these workers are regulars of the agency and have been put on similar tasks before. 

How many staff is enough?

When it comes to planning the number of staff your SME will need over the busy period, it pays to start early. Remember, it often takes time to find the best team for the job and even then, you’ll need to train them up and make sure they’re familiar with the role. Think about how many staff you usually require and then make an adjustment based on the uptick in the workload you expect as well as the length of the boost. You should also take into account the legal implications, including the applicable penalty rates and any recent changes to industry code. 

Can I access hiring subsidies?

There are many state and federal hiring subsidies and programs out there to encourage your SME to hire new staff. Businesses are moving away from JobKeeper and shifting their focus to make the most of JobMaker. The JobMaker program has a component that credits eligible employees up to $200 a week to hire younger workers. If you’re able to access these schemes, maximising them will be vital to getting the most out of your seasonal workforce over the holiday period.  

Whether you can access hiring subsidies or not, your SME needs to be well-placed financially to hire staff, pay suppliers, purchase new equipment and invest in marketing over this critical period. Capital Plus Finance is an experienced business car finance broker that has your best interests at heart. The team at Capital Plus Finance will do everything we can to help you secure a suitable finance solution for your small business. Please give us a call anytime to find out more or to have an obligation-free chat about your business’s funding situation.