By Cait Etherington November 01, 2017
The day after Halloween may be about binging on candy for some Americans, but for many others, it is time to tackle holiday hiring and training. In fact, if you haven’t already started your holiday hiring by November 1, you’re well behind schedule. Of course, hiring is only the first step. Retailers and delivery companies, which are most likely to see business spike from mid November to the end of the year, also need to train thousands of new employees in a short timeframe. Over the past decade, a growing number of organizations have turned to eLearning to make this once daunting task just a bit easier.
So far, the holiday hiring season looks stronger than it has been in years. Job-posting site Monster.com released a report in September indicating that in 2017, seasonal job hiring has already seen a 3.8% year-over-year increase over 2016 with signs of growing more by year’s end. Indeed, there were 75,255 job ads for seasonal positions in September alone with retail, warehouse and transportation jobs dominating the list of seasonal positions. Monster further reported that while Nordstrom plans to hire 13,650 seasonal (part-time and full-time) workers to handle the 2017 rush and Amazon will create 120,000 positions this season, Target will add 4,500 people across its 1,816 stores and UPS expects to bring on about 95,000 seasonal employees to work from November to January. Indeed, in September, UPS CEO David Abney kicked off his company’s holiday hiring seasons by letting everyone know, “If you are a student, a working mom or just looking to make extra money for the holidays, we have a job for you.”
Let’s face it–training thousands of employees in a matter of weeks is a difficult task, but not offering proper training can be a disaster. This is why a growing number of employers rely on eLearning to scale up their workforce during the holiday season.
Onboarding is typically a process that takes weeks and even months but during the holiday season, onboarding needs to happen almost immediately. Using eLearning, large retailers and transportation companies can onboard recruited employees as soon as they sign on for the season. Typically, onboarding entails providing employees with information about a company to help integrate them over time. When it comes to seasonal hiring, using an learning management system to carry out all or part of the onboarding process is a cost-effective and strategic intervention.
If you’re on track and have already tackled your hiring in September or early October but don’t need to put bodies on the floor until mid November, there is ample time to train new seasonal recruits before the rush. Retailers who rely on elearning typically report a higher return on investment for their training efforts since they can roll out training before employees arrive on site and with limited staff resources. Better yet, elearning is typically a “build once, use many times” solution. While one may want to make minor changes or upgrades to their online training modules from year to year, in most cases, key modules can be recycled each season, which further reduces the cost of training seasonal workers.
One of eLearning’s advantages is the ability to track employee progress. It’s a fact that when hiring en masse, the likelihood of making a hiring mistake increases. The ability to track employee progress is an effective way for managers to monitor who has and has not completed required training modules. Most training-based learning management systems also include automatic notifications to the right employees get the right types of training.
Perhaps the greatest advantage to using eLearning to train large numbers of seasonal employees is the fact that employees can carry their training materials with them in an easily accessible format. The reality is that most people can only retain a finite amount of information, especially in a short period of time. The ability to carry one’s training materials at all times means that seasonal employees can easily consult key learning modules, even on the job. This reduces critical errors and more importantly helps to ensure that employees, even temporary ones, are in compliance.