Reduce stress by hiring “Holiday Help” using these tips.

Are you one of the lucky companies that gets so busy with extra work that you need to take on some seasonal help?  Good for you!  The last thing anyone needs during the holidays is stress, so here are a few tips to make the job a bit easier

Start looking early.  The big stores start looking in September and October so you need to do the same if you don’t want to be stuck with the worst of the employees and having to take everyone else’s leftovers.

Make your ads more appealing than your competition’s. Do you play Secret Santa or have parties?  Tell them that.  Will they get gifts and/or tips?  Tell them that.  Cleaning house is a good way to work off all those holiday calories too.

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Lower your expectations for holiday help.  Hopefully you will find a few of those wonderful people that you wonder how you ever did without; but remember you have to let all these people go again – good enough is okay for holiday help.  I know this is driving some of you crazy, but trust me it really is!

Prepare for a quick training.  Three days of the basics and then pair them up with a seasoned veteran.  Vacuuming, scrubbing showers, floors, and toilets are all things that someone can do with minimal training (and pointing.) 

Do teach them how to do your add-on items.  Refrigerators and ovens don’t take a lot of skill, but can really sap your Team’s energy, making them perfect tasks for your Holiday Help.

Seasonal help is used to receiving minimum wage, so keep their pay low.  Make sure your permanent employees see that their value is in their training and knowledge; they’ll do a better job of keeping your Holiday Help in line for you.

Be flexible with your hours.  If they can work half days to help out, that might be good enough.  Keep reminding yourself that these are temporary workers; you can have an entirely different set of rules for them.

If you have company uniforms, make sure you have enough for your Holiday Help.  They should only need one set, but they should be in full uniform for your Clients’ sake.

Decide how you are going to handle the tips up front. Tips are a tricky situation in our industry – especially at the holidays.  Make sure that everyone understands the policy and agrees with it.  If you don’t, you will never hear the end of it.  A suggestion is to give a small bonus to your Holiday Help in lieu of the tips that are being given to the permanent employees.  Sharing the non-monetary gifts is also an acceptable and appreciated option.

Finally, remind your permanent staff that you are hiring the Holiday Help for them!  Let them see it as an act of caring on your part.  You’re providing them with helpers to keep them from getting stressed out so they can enjoy the holidays with their friends, families, and co-workers.

It’s amazing how just a bit of planning can make everyone’s holiday much more stress-free!  What a great way to send out 2013 and usher in 2014!


Liz Trotter is founder of American Maid Cleaning as well as an entrepreneur and leadership trainer based in Olympia, Washington. She is also a former ARCSI board member, creator of the HiPEP leadership development system and the DEV daily employee training series as well as a charter member of Cleaning For A Reason.