Recruiting A Christmas Army: 5000 Join The Cotton On Group's Global Workforce

For the retail industry, the Christmas season is the key trade period for the year. The Australian Retailers Association predicts over AUD$45 billion will be spent in 2014 by Australian consumers in the weeks leading up to December 25.

As a result, each year retailers invest heavily in their Christmas campaign preparations, spending months designing engaging product ranges and delivering exciting shopping experiences for their customers.

For the Cotton On Group, enlisting the ultimate army of Christmas casuals forms a vital component of a successful Christmas season. This year, over 5000 new team members have been stationed throughout the global network of 1300+ stores in preparation for the Group’s busiest sales period.

Recruiting the 2014 casual workforce began in late September, with each of the Group’s eight brands requiring their own Christmas team. A state-of-the art recruitment system helped automatically rank applicants based on their fit with the needs of individual stores, whilst tailored recruitment tools specific to each brand and country market assisted in identifying the best retail talent.

Jo Barr, Operations Recruitment Manager for the Cotton On Group says the process has allowed the business to put in place a dynamic and energetic workforce ready to face the peak trade period and effectively support each brands’ Christmas campaign.

“This time of year is when our stores are at their busiest and our brands and products are exposed to a huge influx of shoppers. So each and every team member, whether permanent or casual, need to have the right attitude, love our product offering, and be committed to giving our customers the best possible shopping experience,” she says.

Interest in Christmas positions continues to increase year on year with the Cotton On Group’s careers website attracting over 100,000 visits per month during the 2014 recruitment phase. Ms Barr says a significant number of candidates were those seeking to return to the business after previous Christmas seasons.

“We see the recruitment drive not only as a human resources activity but also as a fantastic branding and marketing opportunity. The fact we have an engaged group of workers actively seeking out positions year after year with us is testament to their strong level of engagement with our business and our brands.”

Christmas positions also offer an opportunity to enter the Cotton On Group’s permanent workforce, with 1295 casual workers last year staying on with the business beyond the festive period. For some this has led to a long term retail career with the Group.

In 2000, Brad Rowland started with the Group as a Christmas casual at the Cotton On store in Karriyup, Western Australia. Fourteen years on, he is the brand’s National Retail Outlet Manager.

“Since starting with the Cotton On Group, I’ve been extremely lucky to have been offered many types of roles to further my career. I’ve had some great leaders mentor me in the business and they have been a big part of my growth,” he says.

As another Christmas comes and goes, the Group’s focus will soon turn to next year and attracting fresh retail talent in each of its global markets. Plans are already underway to introduce new and improved recruitment tactics to build on a bumper 2014 season.  

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