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October 2011 | Vol. X - No. 10


Getting Ready for the Holidays: 5 Tips To Help Your Store

Re-Train and Fine-Tune Staff For a Smooth Holiday Season

This article was reprinted with permission from the author.

By the time you’re in the thick of the Holiday season, you’ll be too busy to deal with any big staffing issues that arise. That’s why now is the perfect time to start planning. Below, find five HR tips to help you get ready for the busiest time of year.

  1. Hire. A lot. People will get sick, vacations will be taken. When I was preparing for my conducting recital thirty years ago my mentor, John Koshak, said, “You’re going to need 16 violins.” I said, “I have plenty – 12.” But during the final performance, I couldn’t hear the violins over the other instruments. And, of course, while I was in the middle of conducting the performance, there was nothing I could do. All I could hear were his words: “You need 16.” You don’t want to be saying, “I should’ve hired more!” as the line stretches out the door and customers leave their purchases on an end-cap because they didn’t want to wait.
  2. Re-wire. Part-timers asking questions over and over because they weren’t trained how to do some of the most basic tasks like returns, exchanges, etc. can drive you to drink. Think up a list of tasks that are most likely to be questioned or forgotten and train to it, such as “Where’s the POS receipt paper?” “What happens if the cc authorization goes down?” “If they are going to tow employees’ cars at the mall – where can I park?” Answer all these questions now so you don’t have to when you are slammed.
  3. Fire. If you hate the thought of working with an employee, don’t wait to fire them. Why? Because their comfort levels are going to be pushed. Earlier in the year they could hide behind the counter texting their friends. But during the busy holiday season, they’ll have lots of customers approaching the castle for help. Not sure what to do? Take this quiz of mine.
  4. Re-hire. Did you lose some very good employees when they went back to college in the Fall? Chances are good that they're coming home for the holidays, so ring them up and see if they could use the hours. It saves you training time and gives you piece of mind when you need it most.
  5. Transpire to finish your own shopping early. The last thing you'll want to do is go out on a break and try to get the must-have toy, widget or gift card for your significant other, family member or child. Many stores know this and hold events the second weekend in November to ease the demand.
These are by no means all the things you need to pay attention to – or that rhyme with “hire” – but if you address these points now you’ll find you won’t perspire so much during the holidays.

What are your tips?

Bob PhibbsWriter's Bio: Bob Phibbs is the Retail Doctor®, a best-selling author and speaker who has helped thousands of independent businesses compete. His new book, The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business has received praise from both Inc. magazine and USA Today and can be found at your local bookstore or ordered at He and his work have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur magazine. Questions? Contact Bob at This article was reprinted with permission of the author, Bob Phibbs, aka The Retail Doctor®. Read more articles by this author


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