5 Tips for Hiring Seasonal Employees

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As we usher in the fall, our thoughts turn to the upcoming holiday season and all the demands it brings along. Are you prepared for all of these challenges – including the need to recruit and onboard seasonal workers to help manage increased business?

In many industries, seasonal supply and demand trends mean it’s neither cost-effective nor practical to maintain a consistent payroll throughout the year. Some months you need all hands on deck, while other months you can get away with a handful of employees.

How do you get the best results when entering a period of particularly high demand? Follow these five tips for hiring seasonal employees:

1. Start the Process Early

It’s imperative that you start your seasonal hiring initiatives as early as possible. The more time you give yourself, the easier it will be. Given that national unemployment rates are lower than they’ve been in years, you may not have a very large pool to hire from. If you wait too long to start looking, your competitors may get to all the qualified talent before you do.

2. Be Clear About Expectations

Anytime you bring in a new hire – whether for two weeks or two years – you want them to leave feeling positive about your brand and organization. While an employee’s feelings toward your organization will be influenced by myriad small decisions and day-to-day interactions, you do need to be cognizant of the big picture.

Be aware of the expectations you’re setting. All seasonal employees should understand that they aren’t being offered full-time, long-term positions. They need to know they’ll be called upon as needed.

3. Consider Contractors vs. Employees

One of the biggest decisions you have to make is whether to hire employees or contractors. Not only does worker classification  have financial ramifications, but it also affects how you’re able to manage workers.

Contractors are generally more cost-effective in seasonal positions because you don’t have to offer them benefits, but you also don’t have as much control over how and when they work. Employees tend to cost more, but you can also set their hours and their workflows. There are pros and cons to both choices, so be sure to weigh your options.

4. Research Insurance Options

You might assume you don’t need to do anything with your existing insurance policy when bringing on part-time seasonal workers, but it’s best to speak with your insurance agent just in case. You have a duty to look out for all of your workers, regardless of their status, and you may be surprised to learn what additional insurance you may require.

5. Don’t Skimp on Training

“A temporary workforce is usually thrown into the busiest time of the year and expected to perform at the highest level while also being acutely aware that they are not a permanent part of the team,” writes Nikos Andriotis.  “This is a dangerous combination for a group of people you’ll rely on to get your business through the season rush.”

One way to address this concern is by providing training tailored to seasonal employees. It’s tempting to overlook training – especially when you know these workers will only be with you for a few weeks – but taking the time to prepare them will pay major dividends.

Putting It All Together

As we prepare for the holiday rush, now is the time to get your seasonal hiring initiative up and running. You may not get things perfect, but that’s okay. If you keep these pointers in mind, you should be able to handle the seasonal business surge effectively and legally.

Anna Johansson is the founder and CEO of Johansson Consulting. Follow her on Twitter  and LinkedIn.

By Anna Johansson