• A person in an orange work vest and white hard hat sits at a desk thinking about what to do during peak season at work.

With the holidays right around the corner, peak season is here and many businesses are gearing up for sudden spikes in demand. Seasonality impacts planning, staffing, and income in big ways. And if your business is experiencing a peak season now, it’s time for a game plan.

At Wonolo, we connect temporary workers with businesses that need extra help every day. Over the years, we’ve gained unique insight into the busy times for all types of industries. That’s why we put together this guide to seasonality. Here’s what to know so you won’t be breaking a sweat during crunch time.

1. Review Last Year’s Peak Season Trends

First off, take a look at your inventory records. Note last year’s inventory volume, when it arrived, and how quickly it moved off the shelves. Then, see how those numbers stack up to your current inventory. Consider what isn’t selling as well as any plans for reducing inventory. Next, you’ll need to pull out anything documenting last year’s staffing. Compare your historical staffing needs to your projections for this season. These variables are key to determining whether you’ll need additional workers, and if so, how many. 

2. Start Filling Your Seasonal Jobs

After gaining a grasp of this peak season’s forecast, you’ll have an estimate of how many workers you’ll need and the types of jobs you need to fill. Now, start sourcing high-quality workers right away. You’ll want to leverage all of your traditional staffing levers. However, you might try a platform like Wonolo to complement those efforts for added success. Remember to engage at least 20% more workers than you think you’ll need. This will account for no-shows and possible turnover.

3. Set Workers Up for Success

A group of seasonal workers stand in a group during a team huddle in a warehouse.

When it comes to onboarding new workers, try doing so in small groups and integrating them with more experienced team members whenever possible. They’ll be able to better retain the information given to them and offer greater performance because of it. Avoiding multiple people training new workers on a one-off basis will also help with consistent communication and prevent inconsistencies.

You’ll also want to ensure workers have a clear understanding of procedures during their onboarding period. Be sure to answer any questions about daily operations and job duties, schedules, and best communication practices. For example, make sure they are well-versed with clock-in procedures and any other computer systems that are present before they need to ask. They should also know the layout of where they’re working. Things like where to find extra supplies, how to locate the bathroom, and if there are any areas off limits should all be covered.

4. Execute!

A group of happy seasonal workers talking and clapping in a warehouse team huddle.

Once everyone is hard at work, maintain high morale to keep up with that high demand. Make an effort to show appreciation, particularly when individuals embody your company values. You could try writing a personalized note, giving a shoutout in a huddle or meeting, or bringing a treat to share. 

More than just praise, provide regular feedback to your seasonal workers. Some things to consider sharing would be efficiency metrics, customer satisfaction scores, and qualitative reports from peers or managers. Be prepared to also receive feedback. Encouraging new workers to ask questions or let you know if something isn’t working can help resolve issues that arise while they’re still small. This will keep productivity up and operations running smoothly.

Tips for Success:

Keep lines of communication open about their potential future at the company. You may want one or more workers to join your company on a longer-term basis or to contract with them again when other projects arise. If you’re using Wonolo, we can help you easily convert a worker from contractor to employee. If you’re using a traditional staffing agency, you will have to go through the process of hiring them and complete the paperwork yourself.

5. Look Ahead for Next Peak Season

After a big seasonal rush, you may see an increase in returns. Therefore, you should prepare to keep some of your workers longer-term. This will allow you to maintain high levels of customer service, even though the peak buying period may be over. Once you identify full-time roles you want to fill, it’s beneficial to take a look at your talent pool and make offers to qualified individuals as soon as possible in order to retain top talent. 

6. Perform a Post-Mortem for Improved Seasonality

A woman stands at a desk surroundedby boxes and smiles at her phone while choosing her peak season workers.

After your seasonality winds down, thoroughly evaluate everything that went well during your peak season as well as what you want to improve next season. Now is the time to write everything down – while it is fresh in your mind. In an honest assessment of which targets you did and did not achieve, try to gain a deep understanding of how and why your peak season went the way it did. This will help you stay organized, refine your playbook, and get a jump-start on the competition.

Some ideas to include in your post-mortem:

  • What were your biggest successes?
  • What were your biggest failures?
  • What do you want to focus on improving for next season?
  • What products or product lines were most popular? Least?
  • What products or product lines had the highest profit margin? Lowest?
  • What products or ideas did you admire from a competitor? Do you plan to pursue something similar? Why or why not?

Need Help Staffing for Peak Season?

Whether you’re looking to ramp up for this season’s demand spike or thinking ahead for next year, Wonolo is ready to partner with you for both short-term and long-term worker engagements. We know about your peak season, the need for high-quality workers, and what it takes to come out on top of your seasonality. Start connecting with workers through Wonolo today. To download our Guide to Seasonality workbook where you can record all of your season information for next year, click the button below.