At this time of year, it’s common for businesses to take on extra staff to help them through the busy festive period. 

We asked our business adviser, Gudrun Gilles, for tips about hiring casual staff over the festive period. Here are Gudrun's top tips to help you make the most of hiring casual staff for your business.

Tip #1: Be prepared

Taking on a new staff member – or more than one – is a big step for your business. It’s important to be prepared. You might like to:

  • Make sure you have adequate cash flow to pay all of your staff on time. Check that you are meeting your industrial relations, taxation and superannuation obligations from the start.
  • Assess if you have a safe, supportive workplace for them to work in. Remedy any gaps you find before you on board the new staff.
  • Review your work instructions. Are they up to date, reflect the actions related to jobs and are they easy to follow and easy for staff to find?
  • Ensure that any of the tools and technology are ready for your new staff. Make it easy for your new staff to access online tasks such as checking their pays and work schedule. Have log-in details ready for them when they commence work.

If you use uniforms, it’s a good idea to make sure these are easily accessed by staff, are at low or no cost to them, comfortable, easy to clean and maintain.

Tip #2: Involve your existing staff

Involve your team in welcoming your new casual staff to help them feel valued and engage your new team members. You might like to:

  • Let your existing staff know about your casuals, how this will impact their own work and what you expect from them in terms of supporting the casual staff.
  • Reassure them that bringing new staff on board is a positive step for the expected Christmas rush and will help to take pressure off them.

Remember, your existing team can play a big role in making your casuals feel welcome and help them to do a great job.

Tip #3: Invest time in onboarding

You don’t want a fast turnaround of casual staff because you didn’t take the time to introduce them to your business (people, tasks and technology) and induct them properly.

You might like to:

  • Have a clear description of the casual roles in writing so your new hires know what is expected of them and who to ask if they have questions.
  • Take the time to introduce your new staff to your existing team and even your regular customers, if they’ll be working directly with them.
  • Use technology for onboarding processes and information sharing (such as an app) and make it easy to get through the paperwork.
  • Create an induction video, presentation or training manual – although don’t assume this is enough to fully train someone. Different people learn in different ways.
  • Consider buddy shifts, creating a role of champion for an existing staff member on every shift to be available for new casuals to ask for support and information.
  • Provide training and support to enable your casuals to use equipment safely and efficiently.
  • Take your casuals on a tour of your business so they know where to find things and can get familiar with your processes and set-up.

Don’t forget to introduce them to the culture that you would like to foster in your business. Share your approach to customer service, complaints management and other aspects of your business with them to ensure they represent your business in the way you expect them to. Don’t make assumptions that your new staff members already know what actions and behaviours you expect from them.

Photo of SBDC Business Adviser Gudrun Gilles.
SBDC Business Adviser Gudrun Gilles.

Tip #4: Be clear

Be very clear about how your business operates and make sure your staff members will have the support they need. You might like to:

  • Describe what working in your business looks like. Outline your expectations for your staff and how you support them.
  • Describe the workload to be expected, what kind of shifts they are likely to be offered (length and frequency) and how the allocation of shifts occurs.

It’s also important to let your staff know about what kind of support is available during their shifts and how their breaks will be structured.

Tip #5: Be realistic

Christmas casuals are often high school students without a lot of workplace experience – so don’t expect them to know about great customer service and how to complete all elements of the job. This could be their first job or their first job in your industry. You might like to:

  • Review your own expectations of your new staff and their capabilities.
  • Make sure they have support and training and are given the chance to perform at their best.
  • Have a plan to address anything which might go wrong, such as providing more training or giving the staff member an opportunity to provide feedback.

With the right planning and processes in place, your Christmas casuals will have the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to your business and have the chance to learn from you and your other staff members.

More information

Starting and growing
07 November 2023