Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Businesses urged to prepare early for festive rush

Invest NI is advising businesses from all sectors to prepare early for the seasonal rush.

The agency noted that the run up to Christmas is one of the busiest times for many businesses, with thousands of seasonal jobs created on the high street to cope with the rush.

But it added that the surge in demand from customers has an effect on many businesses, not just retailers.

Shauna Fenton, head of Invest Northern Ireland’s nibusinessnfo.co.uk team, said: “Ensuring that a business has access to the right number of people with the right skills to successfully service customers during this time is not easy, but there is plenty of help out there.”

She added: “It’s helpful to provide schedules well in advance so staff can plan their lives around them. Employers shouldn’t assume that staff know when the busiest periods are; tell them, and consider offering incentives such as overtime payments or productivity bonuses. When things are really busy stress levels may increase, which can be made worse by new inexperienced staff, so reward success and hold team events to keep morale high.”

Invest NI recommends a range of options for businesses affected by the rush, including: recruiting temporary workers through an agency; engaging employees on fixed-term contracts; getting family and friends to help out; extending the hours of part-time workers; and outsourcing.

Its nibusinessinfo.co.uk website has pages dedicated to helping businesses work out their staffing options during peak holiday season.

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