Tips for Managing Temporary and Seasonal Employees

The simplest way to improve how your company manages temporary and seasonal employees is to put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you are entering an unfamiliar warehouse, catering facility, office, or construction jobsite. What do you need to know to do your job well and feel comfortable doing it?

Training and communication are important for all employees, but crucial to onboarding seasonal employees quickly and effectively. Whether you are hiring them for a few days or several months, a clear roadmap ensures a positive experience for new hires and existing employees, and improves the productivity of your seasonal employees. Here are some simple tips to get the most from your temporary workers:  

Define Job Expectations

This begins with a clear job description outlining all the duties and responsibilities of the position, but doesn’t end there. Clarify the tasks and expectations of the job again during the hiring process, and yet again in follow-ups with the new employee. The application and interview process, and the first days on a new job are stressful times, and it’s easy for details to get lost in the flurry of activity. Be sure to cover the specifics of the job after the new hire has had time to settle in and adjust to their new environment.  

Offer Orientation & Training

It’s tempting to rush through orientation and training for seasonal hires, but this is a mistake. Temporary employees often interact with new customers during your industry’s busiest times – they are more likely to represent your business well with the appropriate training and support. Adequate training will also make them more productive and save other workers from having to address their shortfalls. Be wary, however, of overwhelming them in their first hours and days on the job. A training approach that ramps up their responsibilities over the first week or two gives them time to adjust to their duties. Finally, make sure they know who to reach out to when questions arise during their shift. This can be a manager or a co-worker; just make sure the contact person knows to be accessible and open to helping.

Touch Base

Don’t forget your new, seasonal hires once they are on the job. Check in to see if they have questions or concerns. Observe them interacting with managers, coworkers and customers to discern whether they are adjusting well to their new role. Find time in the first few days to hold an employee meeting or “huddle” where existing employees and new hires listen to expectations together. Offer coffee and snacks, and give them time to interact. This will help establish that new hires are as much a part of the team as anyone else.

Offer Constructive Criticism

Don’t wait to correct a new employee when you notice them underperforming or making mistakes. The first few days in a seasonal job are critical to ensuring high-performing temporary hires. Approach them positively and express your understanding that the job tasks are new to them, but give them the information they need to be successful. If a group of new hires appears to be struggling, you can speak with them as a group to address shortfalls in skills. If it’s only an employee or two, find a moment to speak with them privately to avoid embarrassment. If no improvement occurs with the appropriate guidance and time, consider letting go of employees who aren’t a good fit. When you allow underperforming employees to remain, you risk a dip in the job satisfaction of workers who are forced to pick up their slack.

Get to Know Them

Companies who need seasonal employees are at their busiest when those employees come on board. But your new hires are people with lives outside of work. They are students and parents. They have interests. Learn their names as quickly as you can and ask them about themselves within appropriate parameters. When it is time to part ways, ask them about their plans for the future. If you were happy with their performance, share that you’d love them to return for the next busy season if they are able.

Say Thank You

Many managers feel grateful for the efforts of their employees but don’t necessarily take time to share their appreciation, especially when everyone is busy. Make “Thank You” a part of your conversations with temporary employees. Being specific makes your appreciation more authentic. If a seasonal hire goes the extra mile with a customer or stays on task without supervision, let them know you noticed.

To have positive seasonal workers, requires a positive manager. You are selling this position to them a season at a time. The more your workplace is an enjoyable environment where employees feel heard and respected, the more likely your best temporary hires will recommend your business as a good place to work and consider returning for the next busy season.

Contact us for help hiring temporary employees for your seasonal positions.