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Contract season is nearly upon us! Retailers are busy hiring Christmas Casuals en masse whilst the education sector is getting new contracts together for their staff for 2015.


I cast my mind back to my own experience as a Christmas casual at David Jones while studying. I remember it well – I was offered a job at one of DJ’s smaller stores, whose workforce consisted of myself and 35 others. One HR person in the office had the not-so-easy task of drawing up contracts for all of us in under a week.


In case that order wasn’t tall enough, they then had the pleasure of manually entering all of us into the payroll system.


For my sole HR manager at David Jones, the challenges didn’t end once we were hired. At the end of summer, the best Christmas Casuals were kept on. I had a rather successful summer in the men’s shoe department (a natural Al Bundy), so I was one of the 20 people who moved on to a new permanent contract.


I’m sure any HR person who’s worked in retail knows this pain all too well, of working on the dreaded re-contracts. Not only is it stressful, labour-intensive and costly, it’s also a process that can be very easily improved with better HR systems.


So there’s a bit of extra work for one HR person at a specific time each year. But why does that matter to the business?


Currently DJ has 39 stores, and like most such big box retailers, they’ll need to hire Christmas casuals for many of their stores. Across a multi-chain retail business, this can become a very resource-intensive exercise for not just the individual HR managers, but the entire team. David Jones certainly aren’t the only ones who must face this challenge each year, as many others retailers can tell you.


It’s not an issue exclusive to retail either. The education sector has their own peak period for contracts. Being married to an academic, I see first hand how my wife waits to receive her contract for the following year. Most teaching and academic staff now work on 1 – 3 year contracts, typically finishing up on December 31.


I have spoken with several tertiary education providers about how they manage the bulk process of sending out these contracts. For the most part, they lock themselves in a room – 2, 3, or even 4 HR professionals spending up to 3 weeks doing nothing else but putting together contracts – just for the people who already work within the organisation!


Imagine what else these people could be doing with their time. Imagine how big an impact you could have on HR if you were able to streamline this process.


I speak with over 100 organisations every month about their onboarding, and most believe their process is great throughout the year for individual contracts. It’s the bulk contracts that are causing them the most pain. They want a way to improve the process and be able to build 300 contracts at once without the need to send the HR team into lockdown. Get contracts to staff 3 weeks earlier so they can rest a little easier in the lead up to Christmas. Get your Christmas casuals into your payroll seemlessly so that we can beat the Christmas rush without all of the stress.


If you find yourself in this situation, be sure to attend my webinar, Speed Up Bulk Contract Construction – How HR can stop wasting weeks of time and effort, where I’ll outline how to perform bulk contract construction using an onboarding solution.


You’ll be able to talk with other HR professionals in similar situations via Twitter – be sure to include the tag #HRbulkcontract to join in the discussion!

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