Many more businesses than you may think experience some level of seasonality. Some examples include:
- The week before the Super Bowl, the sales of flat-screen TV increase substantially
- Higher sun-care sales to retailers occur during the late winter through mid-summer months
- Accounting firms are at their busiest in the winter months—from January to April—as companies close out their fiscal years and individuals prepare their tax returns
- The overwhelming majority of 7-UP sales happen during the Christmas holidays
That does not mean that sales screech to a grinding halt, it just means that the majority of your sales (and profits) occur in a much smaller window. When your “busy “season descends upon you, you need to bring on more help, but if manual processes slow down the manner in which you find the right combination of workers, then your profit during that window will plummet. And for a seasonal business, that combined with the fact the unemployment rate remains low, means that acquiring the people and skills you need could be very difficult.
So sourcing, hiring, training, and creating a work environment that will incent key workers to return will be one of the most important things you do every year.
Quality vs. Quantity
Many small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) focus on quantity vs. quality when it comes to seasonal hiring, which can lead to trouble. If you do not take the time to properly source, hire, and onboard your seasonal workers, you could isolate your customers, lose business, lower productivity and lose money.
Six Tips to Hire Great Seasonal Employees – No Matter the Season
So if your growing business has any level of seasonality (and most do), ensure that you make the transition into your “busy season” effectively. Here are six tips to help you do just that.
- Take the time to write and maintain quality job descriptions for seasonal jobs. Just because a person will work for you for only a short period of time does not mean that their job description should only be verbally conveyed to them during the interview. They need to fully understand the job that they are being hired to do.
- Recruit early and continuously. Plan seasonal hiring needs in advance to locate, recruit, and effectively onboard your seasonal workers. For example, if your busy season coincides with the holiday shopping period, do not wait to begin looking for seasonal help in October. The same holds true for summer help; waiting until April will make it almost impossible to effectively recruit, hire, and fully train your summer help.
- Look for channels that can provide candidates who only want to work for a particular season. Today, college placement offices are extremely underutilized and can work with you to attract college students, whose schedules naturally fit with many summer and holiday seasonal hiring times. In fact, many of these students are working towards degrees that could apply directly to your needs, and they are off much longer than younger (i.e. high school students). This makes them excellent seasonal employees for both winter and summer positions.
- Focus on having the best seasonal workers return. The unique aspect of seasonal work is that most of your employees will leave after a couple of months, and that is OK. However, you would like the best to return. So keep this in mind during the hiring process. Many people look for seasonal work strictly for extra money or to keep their skills up-to-date. At the end of one season, determine which top-notch employees might want to return for the following season. By leveraging these workers, you will streamline your hiring process; thereby, reducing costs.
- Onboard, onboard, onboard. Onboarding is not orientation. A very common mistake is to have your seasonal workforce start working with only a simple overview of the facilities, breakroom, quick one-hour meeting to go through the handbook (if there is one). It is true that most seasonal work is about flexibility vs. highly technical skills, but (at some level) these employees (as ambassadors of your brand and business) need to be “onboarded” and trained in the exact same manner as your full-time hires. Customers will hold them to the same high standards as your employees, so train them to do so.
- Do not forget the law. If you are hiring employees (seasonal or otherwise), you must still provide certain benefits by law. These benefits vary by state but can include unemployment benefits, FICA, FUTA and workers’ compensation. Also, seasonal employees are subject to the same tax withholding rules as other employees. Finally, do not forget that a variety of labor laws covering harassment, discrimination, and workplace health and safety apply to seasonal workers just as they do to any other employee.
Hiring the right staff is crucial to success, and the process can use up all of your precious time. However, if you have the right talent acquisition software to automate and streamline much of the process, you can put your focus on other things, such as mapping out expansion goals, establishing cash management strategies, and inventory management, and finding new revenue streams for slower periods.
Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud for SMBs could be precisely what you need to take your seasonal business to the next level.