Planning to hire temporary Christmas staff? Read this first

Hiring a large number of people quickly such as Christmas staff can be a very painful process.  Onboarding them can be even more of a nightmare without the proper planning, especially if they’ll be working at distributed locations. Keeping onboarding consistent and of a high quality can be an almost impossible task. You can’t be everywhere right? It doesn’t have to be this way though.

With a proper onboarding plan, and a platform to support you, onboarding temporary staff can be a straightforward process that won’t ruin your own Christmas. Here are our top tips for seasonal onboarding.

Plan ahead

You should be thinking now about bringing new people into the organisation for the Christmas period and how you will onboard them efficiently and effectively with the minimum of fuss for you and them. Planning ahead will save you a lot of headaches as you move closer to the time at which these people will be required to come in and work. There are multiple tools available now for planning from Microsoft Project to task board type apps such as Asana. These will help you plan how you’re going to bring these people into the organisation. Work out the number of locations where temporary people are needed and how you’re going to onboard them, with any different needs also mapped out. Plan all of this out in a project management tool, make it clear to everyone in your team and then stick to the plan.

Map out the journey

Temporary staff will have lower loyalty to you than permanent staff. They’ll typically have been through a shorter interview process and they will certainly look at the opportunity to work for you differently from a permanent member of staff. You therefore need to make sure that your onboarding process is as slick and efficient as possible to avoid these people dropping you for another opportunity over the Christmas period.

Planning out the process will ensure that you don’t encounter any problems later on when you’re actually trying to bring people into the organisation. This will be the last thing you’ll need when you’re working at volume and scale. What you need to consider here is the recruitment and onboarding journey these people will go through. Look at it from their point of view and all of the touch points on their journey into the organisation. Make sure that journey is as smooth as possible. Getting them all down in a process flow document will help to envision the journey and set you up for the next thing you need to consider, content.

Plan the content

Once you understand the journey you’ll be able to start putting together ideas for the content. The more they know about the organisation, what you’re trying to achieve, and what’s required of them over the busy Christmas period, the better they’ll be when they start on their first day. Keep in mind that your customers are likely to be coming in more over the Christmas period than at any other time, so putting ill-equipped and uninformed people in customer facing roles may be detrimental to your brand. A good starting point in onboarding is to educate your new starters about the company, its values, its history, and what it’s trying to achieve, so that on day one, new starters are bought in to what you’re trying to achieve.

Creating or curating the content

Once you’ve decided upon the journey and the sort of content you want to put in front of your new starters, it’s time to get it created or to curate what already exists. We would suggest grouping content together under module titles, so that you can start to build up your content library you eventually want to put in front of your new starters. If there’s content that you can’t create in-house, now’s the time to be talking to external suppliers so that you’re not caught out when the content needs to be made available. You’ll need to allow plenty of time for testing as well, so build this into your plan.

It terms of the content that works best, video is a great way to get new starters up to speed quickly and to show them and tell them how you’d like them to work and interact with customers. Keep in mind that temporary staff may not have a huge onboarding period, it could be a matter of days or hours before they actually walk in and start working, so you can’t be putting three or four hour courses in front of people. Keep the content as succinct and relevant as possible, while still ensuring that the message gets home. You will no doubt do some in-person onboarding on the first actual work day, so treat this online onboarding phase as an opportunity to make the face to face onboarding much more relevant and impactful.

The platform

You’re unlikely to want to open your learning management system to external people who haven’t started yet, especially as these are temporary staff who may only be with your organisation for a few days or weeks. It therefore doesn’t make sense to have to use your learning management system with all the licencing and security considerations this entails.

On onboarding platform such as Onbrd can help you to manage the onboarding of people on a temporary basis because it’s external from your company systems and infrastructure. As far as the new starter is concerned it is in your company branding and the look and feel is exactly the same.

The Onbrd platform is particularly suited to video and elearning content including Storyline and Articulate modules that can quickly get your key messages across while still keeping people engaged and enthused. What’s even better is that everything is trackable so you can tell when people have completed their onboarding, or if they haven’t. If there are any particular health and safety or other requirements to be met before people are allowed to start, these can be taken care of through quizzes with pass or fail marks.

You may be asking if an onboarding platform is needed at all. The reality is that emailing PDFs or other content out to new starters won’t cut it anymore, particularly as companies are waking up to the fact that onboarding is critically important to bringing new starters into the organisation. Don’t let your competitors steal your temporary staff away simply by having a better and more user-friendly onboarding process.

One of the most important factors is to make the platform and the content mobile enabled so your new starters can consume the content on their mobile devices. This also needs careful planning as screen ‘real estate’ definitely matters. With video and elearning content, don’t produce content that only works on large laptop or desktop screens because as people consume it on their mobile devices, they will become frustrated and disengaged.


Now is the time to think about planning the onboarding journey and content for seasonal Christmas workers. You’ll reap the rewards by taking this approach when your new starters are fully up to speed and enthusiastic on their first day on the job. Your customers won’t know the difference between a temporary member of staff and a permanent member of staff, and your managers will thank you for making their lives a lot less hectic and stressful.

To discuss onboarding requirements for temporary or permanent staff, whether seasonal or not, contact us today for a chat.

Subscribe Below and Receive our Free Guide

'How to make sure your new starters actually start'

Invalid email address

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *