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Hire and Retain the Best Talent for Seasonal Business Trends

Over 80% of businesses today experience some level of seasonality. When your busy season occurs, you need to bring in more help. In fact, hiring seasonal employees just might be one of the most important things you do on a yearly basis. These workers come onboard to help you run your business during your most profitable times of the year. For example:

  • The week before the Super Bowl, the sales of flat-screen TV increase by 10%, coming right on the heels the holiday season buying surge.
  • Car sales typically go up in August when new models arrive on the showroom floor.
  • Accounting firms are at their busiest in the winter months – from January to April – as companies close out their fiscal years and individuals prepare their tax returns.

During this time, many small businesses focus on hiring for quantity vs. quality when bringing on seasonal workers. This will lead to trouble. If you do not take the time to properly source, hire and onboard your seasonal workers, you could easily isolate your customers, lose business, lower your workers’ productivity and (generally) lose money. Remember, your customers do not know (nor do they care to know) which of your employees are short-term; they expect the same level of service from everyone associated with your business. If you do not provide that level of service, your customers will desert you – at your most profitable time of the year.

So, to ensure that you make the transition into your busy season effectively, here are 6 tips to remember:

  1. Take the time to write and maintain quality job descriptions.
    Just because a seasonal worker may will work with you for only a short period of time does not mean their job description should be poorly written and dusted off only when you need to hire. They need to fully understand the job that they are being hired to perform. Therefore, the first step in ensuring a quality seasonal hire is to write a quality job description. In addition, during the hiring process, this document will define the qualities a best-fit candidate should possess.
  2. Recruit early and continuously
    Plan seasonal hiring needs in advance in order to locate, recruit and effectively onboard your seasonal workers. For example, if your busy season coincides with the Christmas holidays, do not wait to begin looking for seasonal help in October. The same holds true for summer help; waiting until April may make it almost impossible to effectively recruit, hire and train your summer help.
  3. Look for recruiting channels that provide candidates who ONLY want to work for a particular season.
    Today, college placement offices are extremely underutilized. They will work with you to attract college students, whose schedules naturally fit with many summer and holiday seasonal opportunities. In fact, many of these students are working towards degrees that could apply directly to your needs which makes them excellent employees for both winter and summer seasonal positions.
  4. Look at previous years’ employees
    When you hire, consider whether or not the person will want to return for another season. Many people look for seasonal work strictly for extra money or to keep their skills up-to-date. At the end of one season, determine which top-notch employees might want to return for the following season. By leveraging these workers, you will streamline your hiring process, thereby reducing costs
  5. Onboard, onboard, onboard
    A common mistake is to start your seasonal workforce with insufficient training. It is true that most seasonal work is about flexibility vs. highly technical skills, but, as ambassadors of your brand and business, these employees need to be “onboarded” and trained in the exact same manner as your full-time hires. Customers will hold them to the same high standards as your employees, so train them to do so.
  6. Do not forget the law
    If you are hiring employees (seasonal or otherwise) you must still provide certain benefits by law. They vary by state, but can include unemployment benefits, FICA, FUTA and workers’ compensation. In addition, seasonal employees are subject to the same tax withholding rules as other employees. For more information, please visit the US Small Business Administration’s website.

Finding the right people to fill vacant positions within your organization are costly and time-consuming. When you partner with a quality, reputable workforce management partner, such as Snelling, both your hiring costs and other intangible costs (satisfaction level, cost of time, etc) are greatly reduced. You can focus on your business. While we will focus on finding the right seasonal workers to best represent your business. Contact your local office for more information.