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How to hire seasonal employees for your business

Seasonal worker using a dry cleaning press

Seasonal workers help businesses take advantage of busy periods without absorbing the expense of hiring full-time employees. What’s the best way to hire temporary employees before your seasonal uptick hits?

Staffing agencies

More than three million temporary workers are employed by U.S. staffing companies during an average week. This traditional source of temporary workers typically tests soft skills - can that person get along with others in an office - and technical skills of job seekers before giving you a shortlist of candidates possessing the skills your business needs. 

To ensure they accurately screen and select the best talent for you, clearly specify what your business goals are during the rush season. The agency will help build a profile of seasonal workers who will best fit your jobs as well as register your workers with the government and file the worker’s taxes. 

Referrals and online tools

Posting your job description on Monster or with local job boards hosted by a newspaper, for example, will connect you with local job seekers. But if the pool of seasonal workers created is too broad and time consuming to evaluate, you can focus your search by asking the career offices of local colleges to recommend students or graduates who match your needs. 

If testing the skills of candidates is a priority, try using an online service such as eSkill or creating a skills quiz using software, such as from SurveyMonkey.

Various online calculators will help you estimate taxes you’ll have to pay on seasonal workers. WageKick is an online tool for aligning and ranking a pool of top local candidates against your job description. It’s programmed to analyze a range of data, including the costs and time a candidate would have to spend commuting to your workplace.  

Offer competitive perks

Offering recruitment perks when hiring temporary employees can increase the number of candidates attracted to your business. For example, if you require skilled workers for a function that can be performed remotely, promote the joys of working from home in your job description.

Covering meals, parking, bus fares as well as offering family discounts on your businesses’ products or services or incentives for biking to work can translate into substantial savings for temporary workers.

Review labor laws

Employers are generally not exempt from unemployment benefit obligations if an employee is hired for a brief or temporary amount of time, but seasonal employers are sometimes.

Laws that cover harassment, discrimination and workplace health and safety apply to all workers, seasonal and otherwise. Also, part-time and full-time employees have equal rights concerning minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping and child labor, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Look carefully at both federal and state laws on the employment and hiring of temporary workers.

Recruit before local schools go on break

If you are seeking entry-level workers for an anticipated surge in retail sales, look into hiring school-age workers. Spring, summer and winter school breaks often align with seasonal upticks in business cycles. That means there will be students out of classrooms seeking to fill their time. But don’t wait to recruit workers once breaks hit and students leave town for vacation or are hired by other businesses prepping for a seasonal surge.

Train on the fly

Finding the time to train seasonal workers for their role is not always easy. In lieu of formal training sessions, provide ample how-to templates and verbal instruction for on-the-job learning.

Continuous incentives, such as a progressive commission structure, also help workers stay focused during their brief time with your business. If compensation involves tips, clarify how much your worker is positioned to earn if they wait on a certain number of customers over a certain time frame.

Explain that you will be tracking performance weekly or monthly to measure their progress so they can advance to a different pay level. Encourage them to evaluate their own performance and articulate how they can add more value to their role. Seasonal workers who are fully engaged and feel their contributions to your business’ success are unique and valued by you are likely to work harder and seek re-employment when you need them again.

Work by the Golden Rule

Star seasonal workers are some of the best candidates for full-time roles, so the more focused your business is on recruiting and hiring seasonal employees, the more likely your business will benefit over the long run. They’ll remember the recruitment perks that you initially used to attract them and the time you invested in developing their skills as they vet other short-term job opportunities. Well-treated employees - just like your top loyal customers - are essential to building your brand and business.

Whether your business needs seasonal hiring or not, it definitely needs adequate protection. The unexpected can happen anytime, and business liability insurance from Nationwide has you covered.

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