What’s New in Holiday Hiring?

This holiday-hiring season, culture may be king.
By: | October 8, 2018 • 2 min read
Man holding shopping bags with presents on the street

The increasing importance of company culture in the talent-acquisition process doesn’t appear to just be reserved for full-time workers.

New research on major retailers’ practices for the holiday-hiring season shed light on the role that company culture may play in how—and who—the stores hire to handle the holiday-shopping boom. The Korn Ferry report, based on a survey of 20 major U.S. retailers representing 1 million employees and $1.2 billion in annual sales, found that 15 percent are placing a stronger emphasis on hiring seasonal workers who better align with the company’s culture.

Additionally, while holiday shopping is increasingly becoming a digital experience, 21 percent said they’re putting a greater emphasis on workers with in-store retail experience to enhance customers’ visits—a stat that Korn Ferry Senior Partner Craig Rowley says goes hand in hand with the emphasis on culture.


“When we come into a store, we’re looking for a positive experience; to drive that, retailers need people who buy into their culture and brand, and who can live and breathe it when they work with customers,” Rowley says.

Finding experienced seasonal talent who align with a company culture is easier said than done. Rowley says retailers can up their chances of successful seasonal hires by expanding training beyond technical and operational areas to include company culture and mission. “Training should include a focus on who we are and what our customers are looking for from us,” he says. Supervisors, especially those who work on the floor, can also help model culture for seasonal workers, Rowley notes.