Holiday Workforce Planning

December 22, 2023

by Malysa O’Connor

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The holidays are a time of cheer and goodwill. But for businesses, they’re more than that. This is also an important time for earning revenue. Customers are eager to spend, but at the same time, your team likely wants some well-deserved rest.

The challenge for businesses then becomes keeping the balance between meeting customer demands while also ensuring staff gets a much-needed break during the holidays.

It begins with a strategic holiday workforce plan.

You want to not only survive the holidays but thrive! This means boosting sales, satisfying customers, and keeping employees happy—all at once. Early planning using intelligent, automated, employee-centric workforce management (WFM) can transform this hectic period into an opportunity for growth.

The Holidays Are Crucial for Most Businesses

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend between $957 and $967 billion during November and December this year, with average spending for gifts and other holiday-related items expected to amount to $875 per consumer.

Especially in retail, the surge in customer activity can make or break year-end revenue targets. Sales during this time can equal 30% or more of a company’s annual revenue.

For example, hobby, toy, and game stores generated 34.5% of their annual sales in the last three months of 2022, which is unsurprising considering that toys, games, and hobby supplies are popular Christmas gifts.

Businesses must be adequately staffed to fulfill orders and provide quality customer service or risk missing out on their target goals. But good managers will also do everything possible to ensure their employees get the time off they need.

There’s a solution that lets businesses meet these challenges head-on—workforce management software. This technology helps balance employee needs with business requirements effectively so no one feels overworked or stressed during this crucial period.

How to Plan for Your Holiday Workforce

Workforce management platforms allow companies to anticipate their staffing needs based on historical data and trends. This means being prepared for increased demand without overstaffing or understaffing—saving money and stress levels.

The key is planning ahead—predicting traffic flow, understanding when peak times will occur, scheduling accordingly while considering employee preferences where possible—all while ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations.

With Legion WFM Software, businesses can maximize labor efficiency and employee engagement simultaneously.

Utilize Demand Forecasting

Demand forecasting is an important first step. It lets you predict how much traffic and what kind of staffing needs you’ll have on certain days. The best forecast will also consider weather patterns and events in the area that may affect store traffic and help you plan your promotions.

Give Access to Earned Wages Between Pay Periods

Allow workers to gain access to earned wages when they need it most. You’ll make employees much happier and more likely to stick around during busy periods like the holidays.

Prioritize Time Off Requests and Deadlines

To ensure smooth operations, ask your employees about their time off plans for the holiday period as soon as possible. This allows everyone enough notice and avoids last-minute shift changes or understaffing problems. Give employees self-service tools to quickly and easily swap shifts and claim open shifts—even at other locations.

Create an Optimal Labor Plan

Optimize your labor as much as possible based on your forecasted needs. That way, you always have just the right amount of staff needed without overwhelming or underutilizing anyone.

Maintain Open Communication with Employees

Holidays can be stressful both in personal and work life. Keep the lines of communication open between management and staff members so that any issues can be fixed quickly before escalating into bigger problems.

That includes knowing ahead of time which employees might be around and willing to pick up extra shifts and making sure you can easily inform your team in case of any weather closures or other last-minute updates.

Use Legion WFM’s Software to Plan Your Holiday Workforce This Year

Managing your workforce during the holiday season can be challenging. But, with AI-powered technology like Legion’s WFM Software, you won’t be left scrambling at the last minute. We have all the solutions you need for an effective workforce plan as we wrap up the holiday season so your business can shine.

Demand Forecasting for Proactive Planning

Holiday shoppers don’t like waiting in long lines or dealing with out-of-stock items because there aren’t enough employees to handle restocking tasks quickly.

Legion’s Demand Forecasting product lets you accurately predict customer traffic and staff needs based on the past. It considers historical data, seasonal trends, and real-time insights to ensure a smooth operation.

Simplifying Time and Attendance Tracking

No more headaches over tracking hours worked and absences. The Time and Attendance feature helps keep an accurate record of employee attendance in just a few clicks. Schedule-aware timesheets automatically assess schedule change premiums and highlight time clock-to-schedule variances, freeing managers to manage by exception with automated timesheet approvals.

Labor Optimization for Efficient Staff Management

Holidays mean peak times, but they don’t have to mean chaos. Labor Optimization uses advanced algorithms that balance business needs with employee preferences for better productivity. Create granular, down-to-the-minute task-based labor modeling across all channels automatically. All while staying within budget, maximizing labor law compliance, and providing the best schedules for your employees.

Automated Scheduling Made Easy

Tired of endless spreadsheets and trying to manually meet your employees’ needs, all while remaining objective? Automated Scheduling does the work for you—creating optimized schedules based on forecasts while respecting labor laws and workers’ availability.

Legion provides an easy-to-use mobile app and self-service tools that make it easy for employees to swap or pick up shifts. They can quickly see what shifts are available—even at other locations. Requests to swap shifts can be automatically approved based on business rules. Employees get increased schedule flexibility and control at their fingertips.

Get Paid Early via Legion InstantPay

Legion InstantPay allows employees to access their earned wages between pay periods—promoting financial wellness within your team and fostering loyalty during this festive period. Legion InstantPay also helps drive schedule adherence. Employees who clock in and out on time can get immediate access to their wages. Employees get visibility into potential earnings for open shifts, which helps fill key gaps in the schedule.

Communicate With Your Team Through Our App

Frontline Communications allows managers and staff to communicate with each other in a compliant manner through the same app employees use to view their schedules. Effective communication keeps everyone on the same page about potential store closures due to bad weather or other important updates. Frontline Communications also makes it easy to share kudos or the results of seasonal incentives or contests with employees.

The Impact of Holiday Workforce Planning on Business Performance

Smart holiday workforce planning can supercharge your business performance. When you’re well-staffed during peak shopping periods, it helps boost customer satisfaction and sales.

Legion WFM’s AI-powered Software allows businesses to plan their staffing needs in advance. This means no last-minute scrambles for extra hands during the holidays. It considers historical data and forecasts demand accurately, ensuring that businesses have just the right number of staff when they need them most.

With such tools at your disposal, planning becomes less stressful, ensuring customers’ satisfaction and employees’ happiness during holidays.

Better Staff Management Boosts Sales

Adequate staffing doesn’t just mean happier customers; it also translates into more sales opportunities. With proper scheduling through Automated Scheduling, employees are not overworked but instead motivated and ready to assist clients promptly. Built-in productivity metrics help you automatically schedule employees who are top performers during peak periods—leading to better conversions during busy holiday seasons.

When it comes to holiday workforce planning, preparation is key. Early forecasting and scheduling with Legion WFM’s platform can save you from last-minute panic. The right tools give control back to your team—a gift of time-off flexibility they’ll appreciate.

Investing time in strategic holiday workforce planning using Legion’s advanced tools is a win-win scenario—both for enhancing client experience as well as driving business growth during crucial seasonal periods. To learn more, schedule a demo.