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How to Hire Seasonal Employees

Most businesses experience some fluctuations in the workload, but certain businesses, such as retail stores, snow removal companies and tax preparers, see massive shifts in how much support they need at different times. The solution is often hiringseasonal employees. Find out how to hire seasonal employees successfully to optimize your staffing.

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What is a seasonal worker?

A seasonal worker isan employee who only works for a short period to meet seasonal staffing needs.The employment period could last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to help you handle short increases in business. It usually has a definite start and end date.

Seasonal hiring times might coincide with weather or busy seasons for the business. For instance, you might hirelifeguards and lawn care workers in the summer or ski instructors and snowplow drivers in the winter. You can hire seasonal employees on a part-time or full-time basis to match your staffing needs.

Who needs seasonal workers?

Two main types of businesses benefit from hiring seasonal employees: those that only operate at certain types of the year and those that operate year-round but have a peak busy season. For instance, summer camps only run during the summer, and ski resorts primarily operate in the winter.

Retailers fall under the peak season category. Most stores are open year-round, but they might have a huge increase in customers around the holidays, which requires temporary increased staffing. Package delivery companies often add temporary employees around the same time to expedite the delivery of all the online orders people place. Tax-related businesses might also hire extra employees during the peak tax-filing season at the beginning of the year.

Other examples of industries that might need seasonal workers include:

  • Landscaping
  • Snow removal
  • Tour and excursion companies
  • Farming and agriculture
  • Parks and recreation departments
  • Pools
  • Construction
  • Event planning

Ideal positions for seasonal work are those that don’t require a lot of training or onboarding. Seasonal employees typically start near the beginning of your busy season, so there isn’t a lot of time for them to ramp up during the onboarding process.

Benefits of hiring seasonal workers

Hiring seasonal workers can be a good solution for staffing issues. Some of the benefits of hiring seasonal workers include:

  • Extra help when you need it. When your business has a busy season, you only need extra help for part of the year. Seasonal workers give you that extra labor when you need it without the expense of paying employees year-round.
  • Lower benefits costs. You might also save on benefits costs. If you hire part-time seasonal employees, the benefits you offer them are usually minimal. You also don’t have to pay for benefits year-round.
  • Relief for full-time staff. Your seasonal employees help with the workload to give your full-time employees a break. This canimprove moralefor permanent employees because they have the support they need when things get busy.
  • Less risk. When you hire a permanent employee, you don’t always know if they’ll be a good fit for the job. Seasonal employees have a set employment period. If they don’t match your needs, they won’t be around for long anyway.
  • Potential for a full-time employee. On the other hand, if you hire a seasonal employee who works out well, you might be able to offer them a permanent position when one becomes available.Think of it as a trial run that works as a recruiting method for permanent positions.

Drawbacks of hiring for seasonal jobs

You could face some challenges when it comes to hiring for seasonal jobs, including:

  • Decreased commitment. Short-term employees don’t have the connection to your company and might not show as much commitment as regular, long-term employees. This could show in their performance and longevity.
  • Recruitment challenges. It’s not always easy to find employees who want to work on a seasonal basis, so you might have difficulty filling all your positions with candidates who meet your standards.
  • Shorter onboarding period. You have to get your seasonal workers work-ready in a short period. They might not have enough time to reach the level you want them to before the season starts.

Improving the seasonal hiring process

Finding seasonal workers can be difficult because of the temporary nature of the work. Many people prefer or need consistent, year-round employment. Here are some ways to improve the seasonal hiring process and overcome the challenges of hiring for seasonal jobs.

Write a clear job description for seasonal workers

A compelling job descriptioncan help you make a successful hire. Transparency is vital when compiling information about the job description. Your job posting should include:

  • Relevant keywords. The word “seasonal” or “temporary” should be in the job title, and employment start/end dates should be highlighted to ensure job seekers are fully aware of the nature of the position.
  • Know your needs. Detail the exact positions you have available and the skills that are required.With a shorter training window, you need seasonal employees with key skills so they can jump in faster.
  • Highlight job benefits. Be upfront about any discounts,perksor bonuses employees receive to make your job stand out.

Start hiring seasonal employees early and onboard quickly

You could face stiff competition for seasonal talent, especially if your area has several seasonally driven businesses, such as resort areas. Attract candidates who fit your needsby starting your hiring process early, and ensure a smooth onboarding process by following these tips.

  • Start as early as possible: This gives you more time to search and review as many applications as possible. Seasonal employeesoften submit applications to numerous companies, and it may be more difficult to find employeeslate in the season.
  • Ask specific interview questions:When reviewing potential seasonal workers, focus on applicants who would be good culture additions by asking the rightcultural interview questions. Ask about any time commitments or restrictions that may affect scheduling.
  • Give weight to those looking to return: Seasonal hiring needs often recur each year. When you find employees who want seasonal work and perform well, encourage them to come back to your company every year.
  • Offer specific job training:Bring seasonal employees on board with enough time to ensure sufficientjob training. Thorough job preparation helps reduce issues during the season and helps keep your seasonal staff engaged.

Look for people who want seasonal work

Not everyone is interested in seasonal work. Focusing your recruitment efforts on groups of people who are more likely to want to work seasonally could net you better results. Being aware of these groups can help you target where and how you recruit.

People who might prefer seasonal work include:

  • Retirees
  • Stay-at-home parents who want to work while their kids are in school
  • Students who are home on break
  • Teenagers
  • Digital nomads who take onseasonal work to pad their bank accounts

Hiring people with a seasonal work mindset can help you keep them around for the full season and get them to return next year.

Where to find seasonal workers

If you know where to look, you can find a wealth of seasonal talent to add to your team. Here are a few places you can find seasonal talent.

  • Former staff:If this isn’t your first busy period,revisit your previous seasonal staff members. Because they’re already familiar with your business, the job duties and the seasonal demands, they cancontribute quickly and may even help train new workers.
  • Employee referrals: Get your full-time staff involved by asking them for referrals. Offering referral bonusescould help motivate your team to ask around and find interested job seekers.
  • Recruiting events:Host an open house recruiting event at your business to give job seekers a firsthand look at the environment. Be prepared to hold interviews and offer jobs on the spot to candidates who match your needs.Another option is setting up a booth at career fairs in the area.
  • Social media: Post about your seasonal vacancies on your social media accounts. People who already follow you might also be interested in working for you. Highlight the benefits of seasonal employment with your company or feature current seasonal employees to help stir up interest.
  • Job search engines:Using ajob search engine like Indeed places your job description in front of a wealth of candidates who are already looking for opportunities like yours.

Retaining your seasonal staff

With all the costs and effort put into attracting, hiring and training seasonal staff, retainingthose employees helps you have a successful season. Here are some tips to keep your new hires through the season.

  • Treat them like full-time staff: This helps them feel like a valued part of the team and can encourage them to put more effort into the job.
  • Keep communication open: Fielding concerns and problems before they become unsolvablehelps develop trust with seasonal staff and may encourage them to return year after year.
  • Offer a bonus: The prospect of a bonus for finishing out the season could encourage more employees to stay. If you’re offering a bonus, highlight it early in the application and hiring process, as it could also help sway applicants toward your job opportunities over other seasonal options.
  • Be prepared to hire again: Even if you hire the perfect seasonal staff, you may need to bring on additional employees to replace or supplement your workforce before the end of the season. Keep qualified applicants on hand, just in case.

What to do at the end of the season

How you end a relationship with seasonal staff can help with next year’s hiring. Keep these factors in mind as you wrap up your busy season.

  • Availability:Ask outgoing employees if theymight want to return next season. Some workers design their needs and lifestyle around managing seasonal and temporary jobs,so knowing they can come back the following year is a benefit to them.
  • Exit interviews: Hold exit interviewswith seasonal employees, regardless of how long they worked with you. Having informative feedback can help streamline next year’s efforts.
  • Permanent talent: You likely won’t have the means or the resources to bring every seasonal employee on full time. However, keep an eye on exceptional staffers who would be an excellent full-time fit should anything change.

FAQs about hiring seasonal employees

What’s the difference between seasonal and temporary employees?

Both seasonal and temporary employees work for a short period, often with a specified start and end date. They aren’t permanent employees. The main difference is their purpose. You typically hire seasonal employees to add to your existing team. Temporary employees often fill in when you have an absent employee, such as someone who’s on maternity leave. You might also hire a temp worker to fill a vacancy if you’re not ready to hire a full-time replacement yet.

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