Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

How to Win the Race for Seasonal Talent

Mt. Hood Meadows is one of the most beautiful and pristine places in North America. At this time of year, it’s packed with skiers and snowboarders. And with innovative combination events like musical acts and Superbowl Sunday ski days (“Superbowl” is also the name of one of the mountain peaks), it’s a fun place to both work and play.

Of course, the work is mostly seasonal. Many small and medium businesses operate on a seasonal model—even retailers, who must staff up in time for the holiday rush. It makes hiring and attracting the right talent a challenge.

Making the challenge more difficult for Mt. Hood is its location in a rural setting in Oregon. There isn’t a large pool of talent living nearby to draw from. Lara Yeats, the resort’s HR manager, needed some innovative ways to attract a unique group of people who wanted to spend some time living in a winter paradise—and she needed to do it quickly enough to ramp up for the ski season.

Mt Hood Meadows had been using an older HR system for recruiting, but it wasn’t fitting the bill. They weren’t attracting enough good prospects, and the applicant pool was only a third of total hiring requirements.

What the resort really needed was a more flexible and efficient recruiting and onboarding system that could handle larger traffic loads during the high season. Yeats had used Oracle HCM Cloud at a similar resort with great results. She found it efficient and easy to use.

After considering its options, Mt. Hood Meadows decided to subscribe to Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud for Midsize.

Better, Faster, More Cost-Effective

Mt. Hood Meadows achieved dramatic results, cutting costs associated with new hires more than 70%. More important, applicant pools grew substantially, and the time to hire and onboard new employees was cut in half. A limited number of standardized, “evergreen” job postings are used to speed up the process and broaden the number of applicants. Rather than set up pre-qualification questionnaires (which is an option with the system), Mt. Hood chose to streamline the application process as much as possible—encouraging more people to respond.

Simplified Hiring and Onboarding

To save time and fill the many open positions available at the start of each season, Mt. Hood personalized the workflow in the cloud to make the process as simple and efficient as possible. This meant that candidates moved through hiring and onboarding much faster than before.

Does your SMB rely on a seasonal workforce? GO chat with us.

Once hired, employees are encouraged to move to other positions that might open up during the season. A big plus for the resort is the ability to track employees as they move from one position to another. Mt. Hood used to track this data in multiple spreadsheets; as well as being inefficient, spreadsheets left the HR team open to possible human error.

Today, the team can use standard or custom data fields—and online list views—to track where employees are working and what positions are unfilled. The HR team always knows who is where, and what positions need to be filled right away.

Delivering on a Key Employer Value Proposition

One of the great perks of working for Mt. Hood Meadows is a complimentary ski pass for the entire season. It has always been a big employment draw. But in the past, there were operational glitches that meant new employees didn’t always get the pass on their first day of work—and that led to disappointment. Even worse, missing I-9 and W-2 forms occasionally prevented new hires from getting paid on time.

Today’s streamlined process ensures that all employees complete the required paperwork and orientation training on their first day. Employees get their promised free ski passes and everyone gets paid their first week on the job. Mt. Hood Meadows saves time and cuts frustration, and its employees stay happy—and stick around.

Mobile and Social HR

Most seasonal applicants use mobile devices, so Mt. Hood Meadows is now looking at adding capabilities for mobile job applications and social sourcing. The mobile career center in Oracle HCM Cloud would keep the resort in touch with applicants and former employees during the off season, using automated messages and job alerts. Sourcing is an online tool that provides incentives for employee referrals through their social networks—a strong potential source for seasonal hiring. 

The biggest change for seasonal employers like Mt. Hood is that the cloud brings the latest technology innovations to SMBs, giving them world-class capabilities at a price that any small to medium business can afford. If you’re ready to ramp up your hiring, GO chat with us.

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