Seasonal employees are an integral part of many companies in the food and beverage service, retail, manufacturing, hospitality, and tourism industries. Hiring seasonal workers can be quite a chore for a company's hiring team, especially if they don't have a strong strategy for attracting and retaining seasonal talent. Here's a detailed breakdown of how seasonal workers can benefit your organization and some tips on how to hire seasonal employees.
What is seasonal hiring?
Seasonal hiring, also known as seasonal employment, refers to the temporary workforce an organization might need to meet demands during different times of the year. Many businesses experience seasonal hiring needs, such as companies that are only open during certain times of the year, businesses that cater to seasonal tourist areas, and companies that need additional team members during peak times like holidays.
Seasonal work can be part time or full time, depending on the company's needs. These roles can last from a few weeks to several months, making them perfect for employees who need flexible, temporary work.
Benefits of hiring seasonal employees
Employers can tie many benefits back to their seasonal hiring efforts. Understanding these benefits can help justify the time and effort it takes to find and hire this type of talent. Some of the biggest benefits of hiring seasonal employees include:
Lower benefits expenses
Hiring part-time seasonal workers versus full-time employees often means not having to pay certain benefits. For example, full-time employee benefits may include dental and medical insurance. Employers pay into these insurance benefits alongside employees, which can affect profitability since some of the company's revenue is allocated toward these benefits expenses. With seasonal employees, a company can choose not to offer dental or medical insurance, reducing its benefits expenses.
Increased revenue and profits
With additional team members, a company can handle more business. This boost in business can result in an increase in revenue and profits. While seasonal workers add to the labor costs a company incurs, the increase in revenue helps to offset and surpass this expense.
Enhanced scheduling capabilities
While hiring seasonal workers lets you handle additional customers, it also allows for more scheduling flexibility during the season. If someone needs time off or has a sick day, there are still enough team members to handle the workload. This can also enable your full-time team members to take time off without seriously impacting productivity, as the seasonal workers can pick up some of the workload.
Improved customer satisfaction
More employees means more people to help customers or handle products. Long queues and wait times can become a thing of the past, which can have a positive impact on customer satisfaction. This can help in the long run, as you foster a larger long-term customer pool that often results in repeat customers.
"Integrating small but mighty steps into your company's seasonal hiring strategy can mean the difference between being understaffed and having a well-oiled machine during the busy season."
Tips for developing a seasonal hiring strategy
Without a strong seasonal hiring strategy, there will be several hurdles to overcome. Here are some tips to help you develop a strong strategy and excel year after year.
Develop comprehensive job descriptions
Job descriptions are one of the first things a candidate sees from your company. They're also one of the top things that can steer people in the other direction, resulting in potentially losing top talent. Thankfully, a simple fix can help you overcome this challenge. Updating your company's job descriptions each year, especially for seasonal jobs, can help candidates understand why they might want to work for you. Including hourly pay information, typical work schedules, and a comprehensive overview of what their potential day-to-day might look like can sway them toward applying for that seasonal role.
Use hiring and screening tools
Another major challenge many companies face in today's hiring climate is an overwhelming number of job applications. This can result in overloading your hiring team, making them work long hours or miss out on that perfect candidate. Hiring and screening tools can help eliminate this struggle for your team and expedite the hiring process. Many hiring and screening tools help to weed out unqualified or underqualified candidates while still offering access to this list of candidates in case the team wants to look it over.
Retain your seasonal talent
Starting from scratch each time you need to hire seasonal workers can exhaust your hiring team and slow down your hiring process. Focusing on getting repeat seasonal workers can not only streamline the hiring process but also reduce the amount of training you need to do because you don't have to start fresh with these workers.
The fix for this challenge can be as simple as adding a question in your application form asking if candidates are interested in recurring seasonal work. Or you can vet these candidates during the interview or hiring process. A final consideration is asking about their interest after the season is over. Giving preference to these candidates next season can increase the likelihood of them returning year after year, adding some predictability when it comes to seasonal hiring.
Allocate your resources effectively
Another struggle companies have when it comes to hiring seasonal employees is not having the resources to train them effectively. This makes for a training program that doesn't set the team up for success and can have a negative impact on employee retention, customer satisfaction, and employee morale.
Developing a training program during the offseason that focuses on training new team members with different methods—like training videos, slideshows, and other training materials—you can use these materials alongside hands-on training. This can help your team balance their normal workload and training requirements during the busy season as they aren't the sole source of information to new employees.
It's also a good idea to cross-train your permanent team to help with tasks such as job shadowing or meeting and greeting seasonal team members. Not only does this help alleviate the burden on a single department, but it can also help your full-time employees develop additional skills. This can help your hiring and onboarding teams better balance their workload and enhance the overall onboarding process as well.
Develop an employer brand
Attracting talent is a multi-faceted problem with many potential solutions. One solution is to develop a positive employer brand. Reputation spreads fast, and having a positive reputation can draw talented seasonal workers to you like bees to pollen. Having a reputation for a speedy, comprehensive, and simple hiring process can attract those who are tired of the lengthy and complicated application process. Benefits are another key factor for workers, including seasonal ones. Offering benefits such as free meals and paid time off can make a big difference in getting the talent you want for your team.
Integrate social media into your hiring process
Technology is leading the way in many people's lives, and finding a job is also transitioning to a fully digital front. This means social media is your friend and can help your seasonal job listings get in front of those looking for them. Instead of relying on the job board to advertise your open seasonal positions, posting about it in the company's social media channels is a simple way to garner the workforce's attention. Making additional posts describing your hiring process and the benefits of working for your company can also help you foster a strong employer brand.
Hiring seasonal employees doesn't have to be a burden for your company's hiring team. Integrating small but mighty steps into your company's seasonal hiring strategy can mean the difference between being understaffed and having a well-oiled machine during the busy season.
More tips for hiring seasonal employees
Understanding more about the different types of candidates you'll see during seasonal hiring can help you quickly identify when the right candidate comes along.
Want to start streamlining your hiring process for seasonal workers? AI recruiting tools may be the answer you're looking for.