Some Companies Take New Approaches to Holiday Hiring

Some Companies Take New Approaches to Holiday Hiring

In light of the competitive US labor market, the coming holiday season has employers hiring early and often to meet their needs for people power, with warehouse and logistics jobs accounting for a large portion of the seasonal spike as online shopping continues to outpace in-store sales and retailers expand their e-commerce operations to suit shifting consumer demand. Not everyone is preparing for the holidays with a massive recruiting drive, however. Walmart, for example, is eschewing the traditional hiring spree this year and instead giving more work to its existing employees, Abha Bhattarai reported at the Washington Post earlier this week:

“These extra hours will help staff traditional roles like cashier and stocker, and newly created positions such as personal shoppers and pickup associates,” Judith McKenna, chief operating officer for Walmart U.S., said in a statement. “This is what working in retail is all about, and we know our associates have the passion to do even more this year.”

Walmart employees and labor advocacy groups say the move could help address long-standing complaints among workers who say they are underemployed. Many part-time employees, they said, would like full-time work. Walmart considers 34 hours a week full time, when workers receive more benefits. …

“The struggle to get enough hours has been the number one issue angering associates,” said Dan Schlademan, a spokesman for OUR Walmart, an employee group that advocates for workers’ rights. “We’ve never been able to understand why Walmart continues hiring seasonal workers when there are so many people begging them for more hours.”

At the upscale kitchenware and home furnishing retailer Williams-Sonoma, meanwhile, many of the seasonal opportunities it is offering are for remote, work-from-home customer service positions. These temporary employees, who will respond to customer questions and complaints and help them with ordering, are being enticed with competitive wages for retail customer service positions, hefty discounts on Williams-Sonoma merchandise, as well as the opportunity to “save money on gas, eliminate your daily commute and have more time to spend with family during non-work times.”