For Retailers, Not all HCM Solutions Met the Test of the Holiday Season

February 7, 2023 | 6 minute read
Jeff Wilson
Director, Global Competitive Strategies—Applications
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Across the world, the 2022 holiday season is officially over and a new year has begun. However, one thing that never changes year to year is that no industry is more synonymous with that season than retail.

In 2022, consumers in the USA planned to spend an average of $1,455 each on holiday gifts, of which an average of $880 was in the retail category, according to Deloitte.[1]The large seasonal demand for retail means whether consumers are purchasing in-store or online, the industry needs to have the necessary number of employees to meet that surge.

How big was the holiday hiring surge?

According to the US Labor Department, employment in retail usually grows by 450,000 over the holiday season, and another 350,000 seasonal workers also take positions in warehousing and delivery.[2]

The seasonal hiring surge showed a similar trend in Europe as well,[3] with British health and beauty retailer Boots alone having planned to add more than 10,000 temporary workers, with 27,694 seasonal jobs actively under recruitment in the UK as of early November 2022, a 5% increase from the previous year.[4]

Do seasonal workers only seek temporary employment?

Workers’ motivations for seeking seasonal employment vary considerably.

For some workers, seasonal employment is an intended step into a larger career or an opportunity to grow and gain experience. For example, 36% of seasonal employees want to turn a seasonal job into a full-time position, 34% want to develop skills in other areas of work, and 28% want to “bulk up” their resumes.[5]

Alternatively, 73% of seasonal employees noted needing additional income because of inflation and the current economy, with 44% specifying the income is simply to help pay for holiday gifts. A smaller number of seasonal workers, 22%, specified an employee discount as a motivation.[6]

Though there were large numbers of seasonal employees, expectations were also pessimistic. Despite 47% of seasonal workers having planned to work at least two jobs during the season, 77% of employees were not confident in finding a seasonal job, and 41% thought seasonal jobs offered low wages and no benefits.[7]

What role can an HCM solution play in meeting that need?

In less than one year, retailers will again be facing not just the task of rapidly hiring seasonal staff but getting them ready quickly to work through a busy holiday season. This means recruiting that helps to not just find candidates that reflect the retailers’ brand values, but also fills open positions faster, workforce management that can model changing store environments and support hourly workers, and payroll that is efficient, compliant, and configurable across the globe. Also very important is talent management that enables the onboarding of new associates and bringing them up to speed with role-based learning, but also helps retailers to identify potential among the 36% of seasonal employees who are seeking full-time employment outside of the holiday season.

How can Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM help retailers deliver safer and exceptional customer experiences?

Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM is a complete cloud solution that connects every HR process, and every person, across your enterprise. For retailers, this means energizing the face of their brands- their people. This includes:

  • Oracle Recruiting:
    • Simplify candidates’ experiences by eliminating the need to create an account and enabling a digital assistant to instantly answer questions
    • Improve recruiter efficiency and unify recruiting with the rest of the business
    • Converse with candidates using two-way messaging, find the best prospects using AI, and tackle hiring using email and social campaigns
  • Talent Management:
    • Give new store associates a personalized to-do list and easy-to-follow onboarding process all in one place that they can complete from any device
    • Provide personalized, skills-driven learning that is built into the talent lifecycle
    • Offer growth opportunities through Opportunity Marketplace, with short-term gigs, volunteering options, and job postings
    • Inventory skills with an AI-driven skills engine to support talent planning
  • Workforce Management:
    • Align business strategy, help address compliance risk, and deploy the workforce with greater control
    • Support a wide range of time recording needs for all employees and the contingent workforce with Time and Labor
    • Manage any incident and promote a culture of safety and compliance with native Workforce Health and Safety
    • Help reduce costs by easily configuring and tracking trends through Absence Management
  • Payroll:
    • With localizations in thirteen different countries, adapt to changing business requirements with automatic compliance updates
    • Enhance employee experience through access to anytime and retroactive pay options
    • Manage payroll processes wth an intuitive, mobile-friendly experience consistent on any device

There are other HCM products who claim to support the needs of the retail industry. Workday, for example, claims to offer “retail solutions that adapt to change”.[8] It offers recruitment, though it does not gives candidates an option to engage via digital assistant with recruiters through channels such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat, or smart speakers.[9] Workday does not have full native health and safety functionality, requiring third-party integrations,[10] and its payroll solution is currently only localized in four countries[11] with investments in two more.[12]

Similarly, SAP SuccessFactors depends on a network of 80+ partner apps to give its recruiting solution full functionality[13] and health and safety features require a third-party integration.[14] In contrast with Oracle Digital Assistant that can help facilitate many HR functions including recruitment and onboarding across multiple channels, SAP SuccessFactors Digital Assistant is still in early adopter program and currently unable to support those same functions even on a mobile device.[15]

Even companies wanting to run payroll on competing clouds have had difficulty doing so, but were able to do so using Oracle Cloud HCM.[16]  

Oracle Cloud HCM is different from other HCM offerings or solutions on the market. It is the broadest and deepest suite offering everything retailers need, including a best-in-class employee experience, cloud-native infrastructure, and continual innovation which can lead to a more productive workforce, happier customers, and a more profitable business.

One of many retailers who have realized the value of Oracle Cloud HCM is AutoZone. During the COVID-19 pandemic, AutoZone kept its stores open but also introduced online ordering, curbside pickup, and free next-day delivery. This required hiring thousands of new employees. Management implemented Oracle Cloud HCM, starting with Talent Management and later Core HR, Payroll, and Absence Management. As a result of the implementation, during the first 30 days, AutoZone received more than four times the number of job applications than during the same time the previous year.

Make your retail employees the point of customer success.

Deskless workers are the customer-facing heart and soul of retail organizations. See how you can manage staff and store associates and connect all HR processes, from hire to retire, across stores. Discover Oracle Cloud HCM for more information.

[1] Handrinos, Rogers, Skelly, and Sides, “2022 Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey”, Deloitte Insights, 2022,

[2] Leech, Marie, “This Can Be the ‘Toughest’ Holiday Hiring Season for Employers”, American City Business Journals, 20 October 2022,

[3] Davey, James, “Britain’s Boots to Recruit 10,000 Workers for Christmas Period”, Reuters, 23 October 2022,

[4] Newsdesk, “The Work of Christmas”, The Global Recruiter, 10 November 2022,

[5] “Poll Results: Seasonal Hiring”, Monster Intelligence, Accessed 21 November 2022,

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] “Retail”, Workday, Accessed 22 November 2022,

[9] “Workday Recruiting”, Workday, Accessed 24 January 2023,

[10] “Intelex-Workday Gateway”, Workday Marketplace, Accessed 22 November 2022,

[11] “Workday Payroll Datasheet”, Workday, Accessed 22 November 2022,

[12] “Workday Financial Analyst Day”, Workday, 21 September 2021,

[13] “SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting”, SAP, Accessed 22 November 2022,

[14] “SafetyFactors-EH&S for SAP SuccessFactors”, SAP Store, Accessed 22 November 2022,

[15] “Using the Digital Assistant”, SAP SuccessFactors, 10 December 2022,

[16] “ORCL: Notes from the Road”, Guggenheim, 28 October 2022

Jeff Wilson

Director, Global Competitive Strategies—Applications

Jeff Wilson is a director of global competitive strategies at Oracle, focusing on Cloud HCM. He also previously led competitive insights for cloud software products at companies including Sage and Datto, Inc.

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