Why Do They Call it Christmas in July?


To be honest I’m not really into the whole Christmas in July thing, I mean I can barely get through the holiday season once in December! 

This saying does get me thinking about the “beliefs” we have around what late November through December means to staffing. The traditional stereotype is that nothing happens with hiring during the holiday season; therefore, it’s time to set things on auto pilot and cruise on in to the New Year. Wrong! This couldn’t be further from the truth. While yes, it’s true that everyone seems to be busier than usual in the last six weeks of the year, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still focused on hiring.

Let's boil this theory down a bit further.

  • For many departments, if budgeted headcount is not hired during the fiscal year then the allocated funds may be lost once the new year rolls around.
  • The New Year is not just the time for resolutions, but for kicking off key initiatives and strategies for which talented employees will be needed to execute, so hiring has to happen at the end of the year to be ready for kickoff.
  • Not to mention if you are in the market to bring on a new Managed Service Provider (MSP), December will be a critical time to ramp up the relationship (not to start thinking about one) and to handle the account set up so that everyone can hit the ground running in January.

I’m a planner, so here are my top tips for preparing and executing your 2015 workforce plan sooner rather than later:

  1. As Much As You Want to Think It’s a Hiring Managers Market, It’s NOT: While yes, there is still a tremendous amount of unemployed and underemployed individuals in the market, they may not necessarily match the skill sets you are seeking to hire. In fact there is quite a growing disparity between the skills of those actively seeking work and the roles you are seeking to fill. And if you’re looking to augment your IT staff, be prepared to fight for talent! Unemployment is extremely low in the IT industry, so it’s a candidate’s market! Don’t despair; if you start hiring early and are open to candidates with transferable skill sets you’ll find great talent.
  1. Get New Staff On-Boarded Ahead of the Curve: Have you ever noticed that it’s really difficult to properly train and on-board a new hire in December when everyone seems to take vacation time (pesky holidays and vacation days that don’t not roll over)? If you expect to approach the new year with a freshly augmented team ready to light the world on fire, they need time to acclimate before everyone disappears.
  1. Choosing an MSP Provider Is NOT like Choosing a New Dry Cleaner: What’s so wonderful about deciding to augment your HR Department with a Managed Service Provider? Customization to your specific company and departmental needs! But true customization takes time. Unlike walking into a new dry cleaner and knowing that you’ll get back a crisply starched shirt, selecting and then implementing an MSP partnership requires enough time to explore and uncover your needs (it’s amazing what an objective partner can discover) and then to build and implement the specifically tailored solution. Start talking to potential MSP partners today to make traction towards a 2015 implementation.
  1. Let’s Be Honest, Budget and Leadership Approvals on New Partnerships Take Time: In my role I know first-hand that making sizable strategic purchases takes time, a lot of time. There are always multiple layers of the procurement and approval process, not to mention internal buy-in which must be garnered before endeavoring into new and uncharted partnership waters. Everyone is busy, calendars fill up quickly, so not only must you identify the specific internal partners for buy-in and the buying processes that must be followed, but you must also allot for extra time to cushion for the eventual timeline delays.
  1. To Get Things Done Correctly, You Need More Time in the Beginning: New ventures, be it partnerships or projects, take some initial “breaking-in” time. While yes, everyone is working towards deliverables, there are certain nuances to be learned in how to best reach each other (we all have our communication preferences – share them early and often!), escalation processes, early roadblocks to overcome, etc. Allow time for your new teams to gel, and revel in the results later.

So it looks like you’re going to be busy the rest of the summer into the autumn! There is a lot to accomplish in the next five months, but if you get moving now you will actually enjoy your holiday season this year. You can thank me later…

This blog was written by Cindy Lombardo. With nine years of experience in the staffing industry having worked in the capacities of recruitment, project management, training and marketing, Cindy currently focuses on developing and implementing digital strategies that target and attract talent across all industry sectors for both national and international employment opportunities.

She is passionate about following emerging applicant trends as well as educating others about both the growing talent deficit and strategies that can drive better recruitment efficiencies and return on investment. When she’s not working on candidate marketing strategies, Cindy spends her time outside of work running a non-profit opera company, practicing judo and playing with her crazy dog Scruffy.

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