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About to Hire Some Seasonal Workers? Here’s How to Hire and Onboard Quickly and Thoroughly

Seasonal hiring can be tricky. You’re facing a crunch right at your busiest time of year, but bringing people on temporarily can make them feel like they don’t have a stake in the organization. Can you find people who will fit in right away? Is it worth it to send them through onboarding?

Experts say yes. The benefits you get from carefully hiring seasonal workers are the same as those for permanent employees. “Having an onboarding program in place increases employee engagement, improves performance and reduces turnover rates exponentially,” says Brad Stultz, HR director at Totally Promotional, which does a lot of seasonal hiring.

Here are a few tips for improving your seasonal hiring process.

Hire the Right People for the Right Role

You know you need more employees to handle the load during your busy time of year, but do you know exactly what they’ll be doing? Is the challenge producing enough of a certain product? Having enough customer service representatives on hand? Managing logistics?

When defining these roles for seasonal hiring, it’s best to be as specific as possible, Stultz says. “Every role in an organization should be well thought out and clearly defined,” he says. Reviewing job responsibilities will help identify the gaps in positions, skills and experiences that you can fill with seasonal hiring.

Communicate Your Expectations Clearly

Once you’ve identified these roles and determined what candidates will need to succeed in them, make sure everyone on your team understands what you’re looking for in a candidate. Communicating these factors to training personnel and management ensures that onboarding will be faster and more effective, Stultz says, so take the time to ensure hiring managers know what to look for.

That communication goes for candidates and new hires as well, Stultz says. “A clearly defined role allows a new hire to understand completely what is expected of them,” he says. Seasonal hiring is all about expectations, and being able to set realistic expectations helps keep things running smoothly.

Take the Time to Train

A little bit of preparation can go a long way when it comes to seasonal hires. “Many employers simply hire an employee and expect them to train on the job with no set program,” Stultz says. That can put inexperienced employees in high-volume situations without them knowing anything about best practices or procedures — and can leave your business in the lurch.

Take the time to train seasonal hires about their roles, duties, goals and company culture to ensure they can get the job done and know where to go if they have questions. Not having an effective onboarding program is the biggest mistake that most employers make, Stultz says.

Plan for a Positive Ending

The seasonal employees you hire are often also your customers, especially in retail or hospitality jobs. You’ll want to plan the separation for seasonal employees as carefully as you plan their onboarding to ensure they leave with good feelings about your business. As part of the communication plan, include upfront information about how long the job will last and the process to follow if there are permanent opportunities available at your organization.

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