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Give your Christmas temps the gift of training

This post was written by Kayleigh Tanner and first appeared on the Epic blog on 13th December 2013.

A few years ago, I managed to snare myself a coveted Christmas temp job in a well-known high street shop. I waschristmas temps gaining training only working three evenings a week to fit in with my college studies, but I was the envy of all my classmates. However, apart from the brief health and safety e-learning course I mentioned in my last blog post, I don’t remember having any particularly useful training.

All the Christmas temps were pulled in for one day of training prior to starting the job, and the most useful thing I can remember is being told to find a specific item on the shop floor and bring it back to the training room to develop our ‘retail navigation skills’. Before we knew it, we were being thrown to the lions that frantic Christmas shoppers become with little real support.

I can understand why training seasonal staff might not be the number one priority of retailers, as they will be gone in a couple of months. However, training seasonal temps should certainly be part of a good employer’s induction plan.

I ended up staying on after Christmas for almost a year. No extra training was arranged, as the new managers assumed we had been trained as temps. By this point I had worked everything out for myself, but this won’t be possible in some roles. To create a valuable workforce, it is imperative to train them to competency. This is especially important at Christmas: at such a busy time of year for retail, it is no good having staff floundering as they blag their way through answers to impatient customers.

Offering training also makes staff feel more like part of the team, which can be a motivating factor. If the workforce is locked into the temp mindset, there will be little motivation to impress. A lack of training emphasises that the role probably won’t last, as there is ‘no point’ in training people who are only going to be leaving. Lots of my temp colleagues left before Christmas because they just didn’t care about the work and felt no motivation to stay.

This is where e-learning can come in handy. Rather than having to pay to send hundreds of temp staff off for physical training, a single e-learning course can be developed which can be used to train each batch of temps, possibly even before they have even started the role. E-learning is much more scalable than a face-to-face training, and it will save the employer money in the long run.

All together now: ‘Santa baby, slip some training under the tree, for me…’

And because you’re on our nice list, our gifts to you this year are our Epic webinar on induction and our how to guide about how you can use innovative strategies for effective induction. We’ll even let you read them before the big day…