Are You Prepared for Your Peak Season?

No matter the industry, you likely need to hire additional help for a peak season. Experienced hiring managers realize that although many of the workers may be temporary employees, they also serve as important representatives of the business and should be chosen carefully. 

Here are some seasonal hiring tips to help in the strategy of your peak or holiday business season:

Plan ahead and start early.

The longer you wait to begin a search for help with your peak season, the fewer qualified candidates you will have to select from. Have a clear strategy outlined and post positions well in advance of when you’ll need help. Doing so will help you build an extensive pipeline of candidates. Plus, you’ll establish communication with qualified candidates before other companies who are also looking for seasonal employees.

Assess your needs.

Based on your past documentation, figure out which areas you need the most help for. Does your team need more salespeople on the floor? Do you want some part-time employees to ship products? Are you looking specifically for employees who are able to work weekends? Review your needs to determine the ideal combination of regular and seasonal staff. Analyze past demand, so you can hire the right number of people. The appropriate size staff is better for the bottom line – and your workers won’t feel overwhelmed by too much work, nor will hours need to be cut unexpectedly for anyone counting on the work.

Be candid and precise in your job description.

Write down the specifics about the nature of the position, the schedule, and the skills and experience needed. If you think the position could possibly lead to a permanent job, say so. In addition, mention any aspects of the job that might be considered less appealing – it’s better to be upfront immediately and avoid wasting your time and the company’s money down the line.

Ask for referrals.

Begin your search with current employees and former employees. In general, they will refer you to candidates who would be strong employees. If you don’t have an employee referral program, consider starting one. Employees hired from referral programs are more likely to stay with your business.

Host a job fair.

Job fairs allow applicants to get an idea of how current employees work together. Use social media and contact local organizations and community centers to announce the job fair.

Consider college students.

They often look for temporary jobs and many return each year seeking steady employment between semesters. Many students return home for spring and summer break and want work that gives them experience for their résumé.

Consider retired workers.

Retirees often want seasonal work and tend to be open to flexible work arrangements. Retired people offer years of work and life experience, and know how to apply it to new assignments. 

Train thoroughly.

Proper training helps you get the most from seasonal workers, and gives them a sense of satisfaction and belonging.  Training sets an expectation for excellence and helps them to feel comfortable in their roles. You want informed employees who recognize your company’s vision, as well as how they fit into the bigger picture. One onboarding strategy to consider is a mentorship program or buddy system, where new employees are paired with longer-term workers so they can ask questions, learn the ropes and ramp-up on the job.

Focus on employee engagement.

Check in with seasonal employees to see if they are fitting in and if their questions are being answered. Schedule regular meetings to let them know about the company’s values and purpose. Encourage their feedback so that they’ll feel respected. Treat staff meetings and performance reviews like any other revenue-generating task. You may have to do some juggling to complete these activities during peak seasons, but you’ll be saving turnover costs and enhancing productivity among all your employees.

Keep their names on file after the peak season concludes.

You are likely to need seasonal help again, so keep the contact information of the employees who did good work. Next time you need help, you will have a base of trained, experienced people to choose from.

Partner with a staffing agency.

An agency provides contractors on an as-needed basis so that you don’t need to let employees go as your needs decrease. A staffing agency can also provide cost savings. You won’t be responsible for the costs of advertising, interviewing, screening, and onboarding. As the employer, the staffing agency takes on payroll, unemployment tax, health insurance, and employee benefits. Once a contract has ended, they also handle the unemployment process. These savings really add up and greatly reduce your cost to hire.