Despite being extremely valuable members of the team, seasonal workers are generally given a rough time by employers. Training is scant and it’s common for everything to be rattled through at the last minute. As you’d expect, this is not beneficial for anybody.
This article is all about how to land the best seasonal workers before your holiday season kicks off (and to help you catch up if you’re already running behind!). There are a few simple steps you can follow to put yourself ahead of the competition.
Start with an assessment of past recruitment
If your company has hired seasonal workers before, it’s time to take an honest look at those appointments. Have you found the right number of people in the past? Were your teams overworked? Underworked? Is your season quite predictable or do you need to over-staff, just in case?
Taking a short amount of time to consider how much extra people power you really need to deliver consistently great service (rather than focusing purely on the budget and keeping numbers as thin as possible) puts you in a good place for making clear-headed hiring decisions. Next, you need to engage the best people.
Start recruiting earlier than you think
While it’s true that many seasonal workers are university students or are in-between jobs, that doesn’t mean they’re willing to wait around until December to get hired for Christmas work. We recommend starting the process much sooner — more like September, if we’re talking about Christmas work — so that you don’t miss out on the best staff.
You also want to give seasonal hires time to embed themselves, to understand how the team works, and to be ready when the seasonal rush starts. When temporary staff are still finding their feet as the rush begins, that’s when customer service problems arise.
Be transparent and specific in your job ads
Deserved or not, seasonal work has a reputation for potentially dicey working conditions. Whether it’s businesses failing to pay up, hours not matching the job description, or even the type of work differing from what was advertised, seasonal workers are wary.
If you produce a vague work description that looks like you don’t care about the role, you’re not going to attract good applicants. Instead, it’s important to be as specific as possible about the key details:
- What exactly will the work involve?
- Where is the job?
- How many hours per day or week? If there’s a fixed shift pattern, share it. If hours are variable, explain why and to what extent.
- What is the hourly or date rate?
- If hourly rate, are minimum hours guaranteed?
- If day rate, are maximum hours guaranteed? Set clear start and end dates. Include the onboarding time frame.
- If there’s the potential for ongoing work, be explicit about it, but don’t suggest the chance of full-time work if it’s not true.
Not only does this make you much more likely to get applications from engaged and motivated workers (because your offer stands out from the crowd), it also helps you firm up exactly the kind of person you’re looking for.
Consider partnering with seasonal counterparts
One way to snap up top-notch candidates early is to reach out to companies that hire temporary workers in contrasting seasons to your own. For example, if your seasonal workers are over Christmas, then you might reach out to farmers that hire fruit pickers over the summer. Both sides stand to gain when you make an agreement to flag one another when work opportunities arise. If you can build a relationship with these other companies, then you can get reliable recommendations and avoid potentially bad hires.
Promise and deliver high-quality training
Just because these employees are temporary doesn’t mean they’re any less important to your business. While they’re working, you need seasonal staff to do as good a job as possible — that means they need to be motivated, well-trained, treated fairly, and fully onboarded.
If you don’t offer all of these to your staff, do you really think they’ll deliver awesome work?
In our experience, it’s training that usually suffers most. Companies that think that a few extra hands on deck will solve the Christmas rush, for example, are in for a rude awakening. Without a proper investment in training, your temporary staff won’t be able to deliver a good customer experience, and will be slower, more hesitant, and more stressed than other team members.
So whatever you do for full-time staff, repeat it for seasonal workers. Bear in mind that many students will do seasonal work several years in a row: If you can deliver great training and experiences, you might be able to hire the same people next season without the need to re-train.
This training and onboarding stage needs to take place before the rush starts. This is how you create a motivated and confident seasonal workforce ahead of time.
Of course once a new hire is actually in the door and working, you need to put the effort into making sure they’re continually engaged, motivated, and appreciated. These are fundamental to making sure they work hard and give their best in the job.
But as we’ve shown, that work is only building on what comes before the season starts. Investment in an early recruitment strategy with realistic job ads and valuable pre-season training will leave you with one of the most engaged and motivated groups of seasonal workers anywhere in the country.
And when that group starts nailing your customer service during the busiest time of the year, you’ll be happy you made the effort.
Got holiday CX wrapped? If “happy customers year round” is on your wish list, it’s time to take the next step: Do something about it! Learn how SoGoCX can help you deliver.