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Hiring Advice

Surviving this year’s peak season

Will your recruitment provision fail you?

Last year, around £1.49bn was spent on UK online retail sites on Black Friday, according to IMRG, up from £1.39bn a year earlier. This year, the impact from Covid-19 on sales so far has been dramatic to say the least – whilst high street retailers have suffered, online sales have proved unstoppable in the face of the pandemic.

This is clearly good news for those involved in e-commerce, but as we start to plan in earnest for peak season, how easy will it be to plan and staff your warehouse, call centre and logistics teams to make the most of the opportunity? Mark Norton, our Head of On-site Services, shares his thoughts on how to determine if you have a robust on-site recruitment partnership in place for this year’s peak period and beyond…

As we move ever closer to the traditional peak trading season in 2020, there’s no doubt that there’s huge uncertainty in the market, making it difficult to predict volume sales and staffing requirements.

What is evident is that there is no golden attraction method that will provide the volumes of staff that you require in one fell swoop. What is required is communication, planning, flexibility and a range of solutions that fit side by side with each other to provide a more rounded supply.

RE Recruitment provide innovative solutions to the high-volume labour shortages that are evident in Manufacturing, Food Production and Warehousing and Logistics.

Cut through the sales talk

Recruitment has historically been about sales, we hear so many stories of under delivery, broken promises, falling short on numbers – the key to strong on-site or volume working relationships is honesty and collaboration not an undeliverable sales pitch. This ethos however is two way, if you beat your provider up on numbers and contractual KPI’s then you will feed a supplier culture, if you work with them to understand the market, local trends and share ideas then you will grow a partnership based approach which allows you to tackle the challenges ahead.

RE Recruitment pride ourselves on collaborative ways of work and consultation with our clients.


Planning for staffing peaks requires careful planning, looking back at the successes and downfalls of the previous year. Would stepping up to higher experience levels and wage rates provide higher quality output? Is investment in training & induction for workers or management team skills adequate? The key to temporary staffing is to understand exactly what needs to be improved from the previous year and identify the most cost effective means to prevent the problems from resurfacing.

Once you understand the volume of staffing required, don’t delay in feeding this information to your supplier – this allows for a more strategic approach to candidate attraction and allows both the short- and long-term campaigns to be implemented. This approach will also allow conversation and discussion around how achievable the headcounts and (more importantly the) deployment dates are, and if other solutions are needed. Achieving the desired output may require other changes – It’s not all about recruitment – for example deskilling processes and prepacking peak seasonal products are good examples of solutions that can reduce the demands put on your recruitment suppliers and ultimately make your peak season work.

RE Recruitment have an experienced and knowledgeable approach and will work with you to understand, advise and support effective deployment.

Covering ground

Every on-site provider worth their salt will have various candidate attraction methods but innovation is key as is moving with the times! Any supplier who suggests in their sales process that they have a pool waiting to start for you without understanding your business inside out, should be treated with caution, particularly if you are not in the top quartile of payers in your area! Candidates need to work; most are in work and need to be encouraged to join you rather than waiting for your job. Making such statements without awareness of the good, bad and ugly of the roles on offer is likely to end up with under delivery.

RE Recruitment have an in-house marketing team that are constantly reviewing and developing strategic campaigns and candidate attraction methods to ensure that your message and branding is in tune with the current market in your area.


Developing an easy process to administer new worker profiles to ensure all new workers have access to the systems and tools they need, and to review security procedures and regulations is important. This can help new hires get through the onboarding process quickly, enabling a faster turnaround.

RE Recruitment have an in-house compliance training team who manage & continuously review employee recruitment processes and can provide induction training solutions for your business.


Sadly, the demands of a peak season require a level of flexibility from its workforces to work around fluctuating volumes. E-commerce for example is often led by daily volumes which flow through to staffing levels. Where possible use only a proportion of your workforce in an ad hoc manner.

The more flexible and uncommitted you are to your workers, the greater the likelihood that this will be reciprocated with short notice absence, unreliability and ultimately continued job searches.

Try to cater for as many tangible worker pools as possible through a blend of ongoing, ad hoc, full-time, part-time, casual work options – if a candidate can work four days it’s better to know this and accommodate if possible rather than have an unplanned absence once per week.

RE Recruitment have a portfolio of solutions that will enable even the highest staffing requirements to be met, through local branch networks, transported solutions, international projects we have your business covered.

Should you require any further information on RE Recruitment solutions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

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