Have you got your Christmas Staff?

Christmas time is ahead of us and one thing is for certain – it will be busy!

Now is the time to stop and think have you got enough staff for Christmas?

If you answered YES – you need to advertise for staff now and if you answered NO then you definitely have to advertise for staff now.  One thing I know for certain is that you can never have enough people over the busy Christmas period because your existing staff will want time off to go to their Christmas parties and family holidays.

It is also a great time to get your new younger staff whilst they are on holiday from school.  People are keen to work and fill in those long summer holidays and you definitely need to have new staff for 2017 because your existing school age staff are graduating and moving away to study so grab your young schoolies now to get the cream of the crop.

Here are three things you should you need to focus on now so that you have enough staff for Christmas; Interviewing, Inducting, training and rostering



When I became a franchisee I came from an accounting background.  The only type of interviews I knew were the formal type.  You know dressed in a suit holding a folder with a very formal looking resum’e and a host of references stating your experience.  You sit there sweating and nervous while the man in the suit interviews you and somehow you get the feeling he is really enjoying the whole situation of being in power before you.  And that probably works well for a formal accounting practice, but now that I was interviewing staff did I want to replicate this process?

Well the short answer was NO mainly because I didn’t have any interview rooms, the food court was my office.  But secondly because the type of workers I needed to work in store beside me had to reflect the brand I had bought into and the product I was selling.  I needed to see the real person I was interviewing, the one who was going to reflect the brand to customers.  Over my ten years of interviewing I developed my 3 x 3  style – three must dos and three questions I always asked

My three “must dos”

  1. always meet the new potential employee at the store where they can watch what you do.  They need to have an idea of what their position will be.
  2. always interview close to the store, explain the product process and what is required of employees.
  3. Keep the interview short no more than 5 – 10 minutes. For me an interview was a conversation really. If the potential employee can’t engage you in the first minute or so how are they going to engage customers at the register where they really only have 30 seconds to process a sale.

The three questions I always included in my interview


  1.  “Who is your favourite teacher at school and why?”  This question is so unexpected that they relax immediately to stop and think and wallah!  You see the real person come through.  I got to hear some of the most inspirational stories, I only wish I had recorded some to play back to the teacher involved it would have made their day.  By the way, this question works for all ages and the answer is not always a school teacher.
  2. What’s your favourite thing on the menu? If they are a raving fan of your product then they are an enthusiastic seller and keen to come to work each day.  The answer to this questions indicates whether they are a fit with your brand.
  3. What’s your forte?  What is it you do better than anyone else?  Again you get to see the real person, but more importantly you get an insight into their skill set.

Now for an extra tip, given to me by an experienced interviewer with a great team (this one is secret for the use of employers only)  Accidentally drop your pen, if the person reaches down to pick it up then there is your worker right there.  A little test to see if the person is a team worker and goes out of their way to help.  Clever hey?

Trust your gut and trust your instincts.  You are a clever person and you know your brand and your team better than anyone.  Everytime you meet someone you get an instant feeling,  trust it, its rarely wrong.

I have probably thrown out every traditional interviewing rule out there, but at the end of the day you need a team of people around you, people who you can work with.  You are going to spend a lot of time with your employees make sure you employ someone who you find interesting and engaging.

Look for your weaknesses and employ people who show your weakness as a strength.  An effective team is made up of many personality types.


If you thought interviewing was hard, choosing the right employee was one thing but how to offer them the job was quite another so I created a “welcome package”.  In this welcome package is everything that a new employee needs and wants.  Some things may have been provided by the Franchisor but other things are store specific and only you can provide these details.  So to help you along, here are the eight things to put in a “welcome package”.

Letter of Engagement

 The letter of engagement gives the new employee all the information that they need to know when working for you.  The letter should include the Position Description, the award or agreement that they are employed under together with the classification that they will be employed as.  Make sure that you outline the pay rate that they will be receiving per hour and how it will be paid to them eg: weekly/fortnightly into a bank account.  Detail what is expected of them as an employee in your store, especially their obligation towards confidentiality.  All of the above are must dos, but I also put is some other things such as the details of their first shift and who they will be reporting to.  I even let them know who the leadership team were.  I outlined the uniform requirements I also included the contact details of the store.  At the risk of information overload I also included any Point of Sale log in details and how they were to complete their time cards.  This was some letter, but there is so much to tell a new employee.  Create a template so that it is a simple matter of just entering their personal details.

Parental Consent

If the employee is classified as a child under the Child Employment Act you may have to also include a parental consent form.  Know what the obligations are in your State.

Fair-work information statement   It is a legal requirement under the National Employment Standards that each new employee receives this information statement so I popped one in the welcome pack.

 To make it easy all round for the new employee and myself I also included everything they needed to complete to help me fulfil my obligations as an employer.  I popped in these two forms from the Australian Taxation office a Tax File Number Declaration Form and a Standard Choice form.

 Staff Handbook

The great part of being a franchisee is that your franchisor will have a staff handbook.  In this handbook you find things like;  the ethos of the business and the brand; the mission statement together with the vision and values; workplace policies such as the social media and bullying and workplace health and safety policies, first aid and emergency procedures.  Pop this into the welcome pack.

Training Requirements

If your franchise has online training this will be easy, you only have to supply the online address and log in details, if not, outline how the new employee is to  be trained.  I would often pair the new employee up with a buddy on the team and make sure that their first three shifts were with this person.  It helped with keeping track of the training given whilst also helping the new team member assimilate into the team.

Emergency contact details

This is a must as it is a legal requirement that you hold all emergency contacts onsite at your store, so it is imperative that you have these details right from the very first shift.  Create a standard form for the employee to complete or maybe your franchisor has already done this.

There is so much more that an employer has to know and it took me a long time to learn it all.  Check out this Fairwork link as this handbook is a wealth of information for you the employer – it has templates as well



Training over the school holiday period is much easier to do than during school term time.  You can put the newbie on for three shifts in a row.  That way they retain what they are learning.   Here are two tips to get your staff trained up nice and quick

  1. Operational Procedure Guides – All franchisors have spent a great deal of time preparing the procedures by which your store operates. In fact that is why you paid a franchise fee in the beginning.  Make sure that not only do you use them but that your team uses them as well.  Have them displayed and easily accessible.  Make sure you train new team members with them
  1. Train with a buddy in store – This was an Ah-ha moment for me. Buddy up every new team member with an existing “Gun” in your store.  Make sure their first three shifts are with this person.  It builds team camaraderie immediately plus ensures that the new person is trained in the way the store works

Train your Leadership team

Now have a quick check and see if you have enough leaders in your team to lead shifts.  Also remember you may have some schoolies who are now on holiday and availble 24/7; are any of these employees ready to step up into leadership.  If so, train them and tell them what you want from them over the Christmas Period.  Three tricks to having your store run like a breeze over Christmas.

  1. Leadership Team – have a team of recognised leaders, “mini-mes” of yourself that run the store the way you want it run when you are not there. A team that take responsibility for the day to day actions of the store
  1. Weekly Leadership meeting – communicate with your leadership team weekly. Let them know what the targets and KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) are for the coming week.  Update them on any supplier issues or new campaigns that are running.  Highlight any customer complaints or training shortfalls that you see.  Problems shared can be addressed and acted on.  Trust your team you might just be surprised at what happens.
  1. Instore Dashboard – make your team accountable. Since you have shared your targets and KPI’s make sure you have a system that has your leadership team reporting back to you on a daily basis.  Have a daily sales target, a labour percentage target, an Average Sale target, make sure everyone in the team knows these targets.  At closing time ask your team to complete the dashboard so they, as a team, can see if they hit the bullseye or missed it.  Sign up here to see the dashboard that I use http://www.franchiseesuccess.com.au/sign/

There is no better feeling than being able to walk out of your store knowing that it will be run to your standards.  Just the way you like it.  That’s peace of mind and the sign of a high performance franchisee.


Prepare your Christmas week roster now

One thing is a given over holidays employees will want time off.  Stop right now and send out an email to your staff and ask them for their Christmas availability.  Get them to write it down and let you know.

Once you have all their availability – go to the store diary and write them down as unavailable.  I know it is a simple task but that is the best time to see when you have a lot of people away and where you may have rostering problems.

Now my advice for having everyone turn up on time for their shift is to prepare your rosters now – well for at least the two weeks over Christmas and distribute them.  Cost them out and name your sales targets for each and every day over this Christmas period.

As franchisees, you go to a lot of trouble to prepare your budgets and identify the key performance indicators (KPI’s) that you will need to meet to make the profit you desire.

The problem is though, once you have identified these KPI’s how do you ensure that you meet them?  Well that’s easy you share the burden.  You share your KPI’s with your team and you make them accountable to meet them by way of an in-store KPI dashboard I spoke about before.

So how do you communicate the required KPI’s?  It’s easy, in the roster.  By costing your roster you are starting your team on a journey to success.  It is as easy as entering the co-ordinates into a GPS.  If you compare your roster to a GPS then you must first set the destination – this is your required sales target for the day.  Next you have to set the route that you are taking and that route is by meeting these KPI’s – labour cost, average hourly rate and sales per labour hour.

Sounds hard, but really it’s not, just enter formulas into an excel spreadsheet and you are on your way.  To identify the required KPI’s, allocate the shifts in the roster, cost them out to a dollar figure, divide that into your sales to give you a labour percentage.  Next divide the number of labour hours used in that day into the sales to get your sales per labour hour. And finally divide the number of labour hours in the labour cost to give you the average hourly rate.  Even easier still download my labour calculator template and the hard work is done for you.

Once the roster is prepared, oops route defined, then it is over to your team to follow the GPS.  As the team trades during the day KPI’s can be constantly monitored.  If your franchise has a great point of sale system these KPI’s can be identified as you trade, if you do not have this capability, then it is just a matter of training your team leaders how to use your excel spreadsheet.

At the end of the day, when you have “reached your destination” it is a simple matter of having your team record the actual KPI’s on a dashboard which makes them accountable.  Kind of like completing the log book in your company car.

Being a franchisee is a journey, it seems you are learning all the way, take to prepare your team for Christmas and you will enjoy not only record sales but the ability to take some time off to celebrate this silly season.



To help you implement a KPI dashboard, the KPI monitoring template and the KPI Labour calculator click here http://www.franchiseesuccess.com.au/sign/


For hiring staff, click here http://www.fairwork.gov.au/find-help-for/small-business/hiring-employees





Written by Elizabeth

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