7 tips for hiring & supervising seasonal employees

Features - Staffing

October 19, 2020

Marketing guru Gretchen Rubin’s quote, “The days are long, but the years are short” is particularly apt when it comes to seasonal employment. While it may seem like you just hired last year’s team, the time to do it once again is quickly approaching.

One of the secrets to being profitable — and having fun in the process — is hiring the right team. Here are seven tips for finding great seasonal workers.

1. Start early.

Just as the early bird gets the worm, the proactive leader gets to pick from the largest pool of qualified applicants. Advertising early and getting seasonal workers hired and trained enables you to be ahead of the game.

2. Ask for referrals.

While they may not think of anyone immediately, your employees, friends and family have vast networks of acquaintances. Tap into the “hidden applicant market” by asking them to let others know you are looking for seasonal help. It’s amazing how often someone knows someone, who knows someone, who is looking for a job. When referrals come through, reward those who referred them with a gift card or a long weekend. Sincere gratitude is a great motivating factor.

3. Recruit favorite customers.

Great customers love your products, and retirees, students and individuals who don’t want to work year-round can be great seasonal candidates. If they aren’t available or interested, tap into their network by asking for referrals.

4. Pay competitive wages.

While you may be tempted to skimp on seasonal workers, other operations likely won’t. It’s generally far more profitable to pay employees well and have them return than it is to have to recruit and retrain new ones. Additionally, remember to let prospects know if they will be eligible for any perks, discounts or bonuses.

5. Interview well.

While you may need a warm body yesterday, failing to adequately assess employee suitability causes far more headaches than being short-staffed. Skillsets alone rarely indicate if someone is a good fit for the job. Ask questions, and when possible check references, to best gage if a candidate possesses the right attitudes and behaviors to fit with your team.

You can catch a glimpse into absenteeism, reliability and organizational fit by asking questions such as, “In the unlikely event you aren’t able to make it into work, what would you do?” “If you were frustrated with me, another employee or a customer, how would you handle it?” “What would previous employers and coworkers say about your ability to be a team player?” You’ll also want to know if there are any time or availability constraints that may affect their work schedule.

6. Supervise seasonal employees like everyone else.

Set seasonal team members up for success by being clear about expectations, providing great training, and erring on the side of over-communicating. Additionally, being proactive and addressing problems as they arise, and reinforcing what they are doing well enables each employee to be a better team member.

7. Recruit next season’s help this year.

The best employees are the ones you don’t have to recruit and retrain every year. Retain great seasonal help by treating each person as a valued team member who is irreplaceable. You’ll be first on their list for next year and anytime you have an unexpected need.

Just as well-tended seeds and plants yield large harvests, staying ahead of seasonal hiring garners great fruit. Making time to recruit and train reliable employees, and treating them as highly valued team members will set you, your business and your entire staff up for long term success.

The People IQ Expert®, Dr. Sherene McHenry, works with organizations who want to elevate their engagement, productivity and profitability. Learn more at sherenemchenry.com.