Wayne Brophy

May 31, 2019

Scaling the 3 Peaks of Seasonal Recruitment


When the papers start predicting a summer heatwave (that never lives up to the dream), seasonal recruitment planning for the “Three Peaks” starts in earnest. (Or at least it should be). I know the time pressures you’re under. I used to work within operations and transport at DHL for 10 years before moving to logistics & transport recruitment at Cast UK 11 years ago. But if you’re going to be ready to ramp up recruitment in July, here’s what you should be considering now.

Navigating the Three Peaks in 2019

In 2019, uncertainty over consumer spending habits has been intensified by Brexit. Most businesses we work with speak of the challenge of forecasting demand in the current climate as there are so many variables. We recently held our first Cast Connect lunch briefing, where guest speaker Terry Murphy, Director of National Distribution Centre Operations at John Lewis provided valuable insights. He advised that successful businesses will be those who understand the human psychology behind consumer behaviour and can use this to predict how it will be affected in uncertain times.

Black Friday

A relative latecomer to the party starting in the UK on Amazon as far back as 2013, it started to become more prominent in 2015.

Most of our retail clients used to find this to be the “spikiest spike” of the year. However, with the UK due to leave the EU on 31st October, a large question mark remains over how consumer spending will be affected.

Cyber Monday

Traditionally the biggest Peak, now that there are three Peaks close together it simply blends into the season, with Cyber Monday being the spike for internet retailing orders.

Whilst Brexit may slow down sales, Brexit may bring an opportunity for retailers promoting local, homegrown or handcrafted goods this year.

January Sales

After Christmas comes the frenzy of the January sales, closely following by the arrival of the new season’s new lines, requiring careful management of stock & space. However, January sales performance has been in steady decline and hit its biggest low in seven years this January. Again, Brexit was to blame. If Brexit is positive, will we see a resurgence of confidence next January?

How to be People Peak Prepared: recruitment strategies

1. Demand forecasting: assess how many people you need to recruit and where

Forecasting is much more of a challenge this year. Reviewing year-on-year seasonal hires (and whether these numbers were sufficient or surplus to requirements) and this year’s sales forecast versus previous years will still provide a good starting point. However, there will need to be a large degree of flex in your recruitment plans.

For this reason, contractors are becoming more popular with businesses. At Cast UK we work in partnership to help companies assess how many people are needed in each function and can advise on current recruitment strategies.

2. Determine where workers can add most value

In what areas are temporary staff most likely to be able to master the skills to take the place of an experienced employee? It’s important to identify which stage they will work at and where they can add the most value in the least amount of time.

3. How you are going to find them?

Companies often work in partnership with 1 or 2 recruitment consultancies who can not only provide the headcount but understand exactly what your business is about and the skill sets that are required to help with Peak. Whether its temporary staff or interim managers, it’s about partnering with the correct company.

Get your Peak hiring strategy as ready as it can be with our our 10-Step Peak Recruitment & Retention Checklist. It covers all the recruitment areas you need to consider to scale the Peak period successfully.

A Peak opportunity, not a challenge

For clients that are at the top of their game, they see the Three Peaks as an opportunity, not a challenge. Peak provides:

  1. talent pool for finding new employees.
  2. An opportunity to develop future team leaders and managers.
  3. An opportunity to streamline business processes. Contractors are brought into the business often find new and easier ways to carry out tasks that your existing staff may never have thought of. However, you will often find helpful suggestions form temporary seasonal staff, especially if they have worked for competitors (or in similar environments in different industries).

If you have recruitment requirements for the Peak period in your business and would like to find out more, visit our contract recruitment page here. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our Logistics, Supply Chain & Procurement experts today on 0161 825 0825 or via email at hello@castuk.com.

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