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The Complete Guide to Hiring Seasonal Employees

By Timerack

April 20, 2021

Recruiting seasonal employees has long been a way for businesses to get valuable support and help keep business operations optimal during the busy summer or winter periods. 

However, hiring seasonal employees remains a difficult balancing act for businesses. Without using time and attendance software, it’s all a guessing game.

Thankfully, we’re here to help. This complete guide to hiring seasonal employees will help you answer all these difficult questions and find the best seasonal employees for your business or staffing agency.

What are Seasonal Employees?

Seasonal — or temporary — employees are employees hired for an agreed period of time.

These hires can be hired directly by your business or can be brought in via a staffing agency. Seasonal employees are commonly used by the retail industry during the Christmas holidays or may be used in hospitals when there is a nursing shortage.

The latter is extremely common. Medical staffing agencies frequently supply health clinics and hospitals with the support they need. 

The Benefits of Seasonal or Temporary Employees

There are many benefits of hiring seasonal or temporary employees for your business. Let’s take a look at them below:

  • Helps prepare you for the peak trading periods in your industry – As mentioned before, with retail, this is relatively straightforward. However, you can identify when your peak trading periods are or when you may need extra staff by using the analytical insights offered with time and attendance software
  • Maintain a high level of customer service or attentiveness – By keeping up with customer surges, you’re firstly not over-stretching employees. Secondly, you’re ensuring that customer service doesn’t drop off. Moreover, if you’re in healthcare, seasonal or temporary employees ensure that the level of care doesn’t drop for patients. 
  • Avoid being overstaffed in low season – Seasonal employees also prevent you from being overstaffed in the long run. While you may need the extra resources at a particular time of year, you don’t want to have too many members of staff during times of the year where you’re less busy. This will see you having to either cut employee hours — which has a hugely negative impact on employee morale — or see you paying wages for members of staff that you don’t need.

Tips for Hiring Seasonal or Temporary Employees

Now we’ve looked at the various benefits of hiring seasonal or temporary employees for your business, we’re going to lay out some practical tips for your seasonal strategy to ensure that hiring, managing, and eventually saying goodbye to seasonal staff is as straightforward as possible.

Tip #1: Start Early

The first tip is related to the seasonal hiring process itself. To attract the best talent you can, it’s best you start looking early. Depending on your industry, a lot of businesses will be looking for staff at a similar time to you. As a result, you need to act fast if you want to find the right candidates to come in. 

Take our advice, start looking early, and factor in the time required for vetting and training. Moreover, to ease your stress, make sure you stick to the deadlines you set for yourself. 

PRO TIP: To stay organized throughout the hiring process, take a look at Timerack’s HR solutions and find out how our integration with JazzHR can help streamline the hiring process. 

Tip #2: Speak to Staffing Agencies

If you don’t want to do all the heavy lifting yourself, you should speak to staffing agencies. Not only can staffing agencies help with seasonal work, but they can also help you bring in staff at the last minute. And while we’d all like to follow the first tip of starting early, it sometimes simply isn’t possible. In these scenarios, staffing agencies are ideal. 

That being said, if you do decide to approach a staffing agency for seasonal workers, it’s a good idea to do something beneficial for them in return. For example, as opposed to using multiple agencies, you could promise one agency all your business.

Moreover, if you’re in the recruitment or staffing businesses, make sure you’re able to keep up with the demands of seasonal work by getting all your processes and payroll in order before what are typically ‘busy seasons.’

If your staffing agency is having trouble deciding how to calculate your pay rate and bill rate, read our guide here.   

Tip #3: Be Flexible

Work-life balance has shifted over the last decade or so. The rise of the gig economy has given rise to a demand for greater flexibility with employee scheduling. What’s more, those applying for seasonal positions are often younger workers. As a result, you’re far more likely to be asked for more flexibility as well as higher wages.

This is one of the seasonal hiring trends that’s here to stay. And to ensure you can attract the best talent and not be left behind in the job market, it’s best to adapt to the flexibility almost guaranteed to be expected by the next generation of employees. 

Tip #4: Don’t Assume All Hires are Temporary

While it’s possible you’re seeing your seasonal or temporary staff as just one of those things, don’t rule out making some of them permanent. While it’s often advisable to draw a line in the sand between seasonal and permanent members of staff, you should also heed the advice of our third tip and remain flexible.

We recommend keeping an eye out for potential hires early on. Monitor their progress throughout and see whether they fit in with the company culture. At the end of the season or their short-term contact, evaluate whether they would be a good permanent member of staff. 

Tip #5: Also Don’t Assume That High Unemployment Will Make Hiring Easy

There’s no getting away from the elephant in the room in our day-to-day lives: the COVID-19 pandemic. From February 2020 to February 2021, US employment decreased by 8.5 million. Now, a lot of people will be looking for work, however short term it may be. 

That being said, don’t assume that hiring will be made easier because more people are available for work. Firstly, you will have more applications coming in than ever before which, without using one centralized HR management system, can be an administrative nightmare. On top of that, there may be a reluctance of people to reenter the workforce right now due to fears of the COVID pandemic. 

As a result, even if unemployment rates are high, don’t get complacent.

Read our 10 Step COVID-19 Return to the Workplace Safety Checklist to help put your existing employees’ and potential seasonal employees’ minds at ease. 

Bottom Line

There you have it! As you can see, seasonal or temporary employees can do wonders for your business. They help you out through peak trading periods, maintain a high level of service, and avoid you being overstaffed in your low season. 

However, it’s best to not just assume that due to coronavirus, attracting seasonal employees should be approached any differently. To ensure you do it right, try to follow the tips we’ve outlined above. And, if you’re a staffing agency, make sure you’re ready for the upsurge of demand by getting all your ducks in a row and deciding on your staffing pay and billing rate as soon as possible. 

If you want to streamline the hiring process or monitor new seasonal employees effectively, contact us today to book a personalized demo.



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