Seasonal employees play a vital role in the operations of retail organizations. In many industries, a full-time worker is categorized as someone who works 40+ hours a week and is on a salary. However, for retail organizations, a full-time worker is someone who works twelve months out of the year. The many employees who did not fit that definition are considered seasonal workers.
Every retailer has at least one specific time of year when they staff up on seasonal employees. During those times, they have more customer visits, both to their physical stores and to their online web stores, and their revenue increases. For clothing and fashion retailers, the busy season is around the holidays, in November and December. For hardware stores and garden centers, it’s the spring and summer months, from May to September.
The revenue growth during these seasonal times are so significant, that in many cases, it’s the only time of year when their finances are in the black. Those revenue jumps can be so large that they generate enough to make the company profitable for the entire fiscal or calendar year.
With the time of year approaching when retailers will begin hiring seasonal employees, we wanted to provide some guidance on the best way to manage them and their identities. Here are our four tips for efficient and effective onboarding and management of seasonal workers:
- Delegate the onboarding responsibility - One of the biggest challenges retailers face with seasonal workers is getting them onboarded quickly. If the onboarding is centralized with HR and IT, it can often lead to a delayed process. Remove the onboarding responsibility from these departments and delegate it to the hiring managers or store managers. If these managers are given the ability to create seasonal cashiers or seasonal stock management associates in Active Directory, it gets those new employees up and running on day one, rather than a week later. The hiring manager or store manager can establish the new employee’s ID, access rights and entitlements, setting them up as time-based for the duration of the seasonal worker’s employment. On the seasonal worker’s first day, they simply claim the account and after logging in, have access to everything they need via a dashboard.
- Set up self-service password resets - Nothing can hinder productivity more for both workers and IT than a manual password reset process, but password resets also can present a security issue. Many help desks will freely give login credentials over the phone without requiring the caller to provide adequate identification. Instead of using this risky approach, enable seasonal workers to retrieve and reset passwords on their own using a web client. And if they still need someone to make a manual change after attempting it on their own, give that ability to more local managers through the delegation of responsibilities mentioned in the previous bullet.
- Implement SSO - Don’t force seasonal workers to remember a handful of new passwords. One password or other authentication method should give them access to all the systems they need to do their job.
- Install an IAM solution with multi-factor authentication capabilities - Multi-factor authentication provides additional layers of security defense, as needed, based on risk level factors, such as an employee’s role, seniority or location, or even the type of data trying to be accessed. It also enables you to offer employees authentication methods besides passwords. For retail employees, smart card or biometric authentication could be a big time saver.
Seasonal workers are an important part of every retail organization. In order to maximize their value and minimize their risk, implement a good IAM solution and follow the guidance listed above. You’ll improve your organization’s efficiency, security and ultimately, the bottom line.
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