Here is how to hire and onboard seasonal employees
It’s that time of year! Companies are gearing up for the holiday rush, and for many, that means hiring seasonal employees. If you want a successful season, you need to know how to find and hire the right people and how to onboard them for success.
It may seem counterintuitive to invest time and resources into hiring and training temporary staff. After all, they’ll only be with you for a limited time. But if you rush these processes, you may end up spending even more to replace them. And worse, you may find yourself short-staffed during peak season.
Employees are crucial to your business’s success, and short-term hires are no exception. Taking proper steps in hiring and onboarding temporary workers will make their time with you more productive and ensure a smooth holiday season for you and your customers.
Let’s look at the “why” and the “how” of successful seasonal hiring.
Why should I invest in hiring and onboarding seasonal staff?
There are plenty of reasons to take this process seriously. Yes, you could just post the position on every available job board and hire on a “first come, first served” basis for the sake of time. But taking even a small amount of time to find the right people and get them up to speed will benefit you during the holiday season and beyond.
All employees are the face of your company. Customers won’t know these are temporary staff, and they’ll still expect high-quality and consistent service.
More skilled employees mean less downtime. Finding and training people with the right skills will save time down the road as they’re able to handle the challenges of a busy holiday season.
You increase your hiring pool. Supporting your new hires will make a good impression and create a network of potential hires for your next busy season, decreasing your time-to-hire for the future.
You build your market brand. Treating your people (whether temp or not) well doesn’t only boost your employer brand, but also improves your overall reputation.
How to hire seasonal employees
To avoid a time-consuming and disorganized search for candidates, create a helpful recruiting strategy. You want it to be efficient, but also to ensure you get the right people for the job(s). Set yourself up for success by defining who you’re looking for, determining where you’ll find them, and figuring out how to get them hired quickly.
Write a clear job description. Make sure you know what you’re looking for in a candidate before you start hiring seasonal employees. Having a clearly defined job description will ensure you get the right fit. It will also let potential candidates know what to expect.
First, highlight the words “seasonal” and “temporary” in the job title and the description. Then outline job duties accurately. Generally speaking, you may want people who are willing to work long hours, especially during the holiday season, who have the right skills, and who can handle pressure.
Detail each of the skills and requirements in the listing to save yourself from sifting through piles of candidates who are only open to more permanent work. And to spare those you hire from landing a job that doesn’t match their expectations.
Advertise to the right audience. If you cast too broad a net, you’ll likely get more responses than you have time to handle. Rather than sending out a mass request, spend some time finding and targeting the right pool of candidates.
Ask for employee referrals. Reach out to former staff. Target candidates looking for short-term opportunities (e.g., students on break, stay-at-home parents, or retirees). Advertise on your social media to reach candidates already interested in your company. These are all ways to ensure you get your job in front of quality, available candidates.
Build a quick time-to-hire process. Often, jobs can take weeks to fill. But when you’re hiring seasonal employees, you want to get new hires on board and ready to work quickly. Take these steps to speed up the process while keeping the quality:
Start advertising early. Fill the spots before you’re overwhelmed with extra holiday work.
Begin communicating with candidates immediately. Whether through email or text, a quick response shows candidates you’re serious and establishes a good rapport.
Prepare for volume hiring. If you’re hiring a number of new staff, gear up to get them in quickly. Dedicate more staff to screening or consider using a talent management system.
Being ready to hire quickly and effectively will set you up to be properly staffed. Good employee onboarding will ensure your staff is ready to take on your busy season.
Hiring seasonal employees: How to find and onboard seasonal staff
How to onboard seasonal employees
A typical onboarding can take days, weeks, or even months. Seasonal hiring generally means tight timelines and urgent needs, so a comprehensive onboarding process won’t be practical. But you, and your new employees, will benefit from training.
Here are four ways to get short-term employees up and running quickly.
1. Start early
Once again, a little preparation goes a long way. If your busy season picks up in December, consider getting new hires in place by early November. This gives you time to familiarize them with their work and answer any questions. Let them see how things operate under normal conditions rather than waiting to train them on the job when things are hectic.
You can also keep up new hires’ momentum by introducing your company and starting job training as soon as they sign. Use remote onboarding best practices to reach out and make temporary employees’ first impressions of your company favorable and productive.
2. Use eLearning for quick instruction and easy recall
Making training a one-time event can be tempting: Share all the information and move on to practicing in real life. But employees will feel more comfortable, and be more successful, if they have ongoing access to learning and support.
Online learning lets people log in and learn when it’s convenient. It also allows you to provide just-in-time content. Create a helpful menu of content so they can access the right information quickly when they have a question about customer support processes or product features.
3. Make it mobile
Getting familiar with a new learning system can be intimidating and time-consuming. Make it easy for employees by offering a mobile-friendly training option.
Most of your recruits will likely already be used to learning and searching for information on their smartphone. Use your mobile LMS to create and manage accessible training quickly.
4. Set up peer coaching
Your seasonal employees won’t have a lot of time to get hands-on experience before they’re up and running at full speed. Give them the benefit of work experience by recruiting existing employees to act as mentors.
If you have time, let new hires shadow veteran employees and learn by watching them serve customers or fill orders. If not, have them work side by side so regular staff members can provide coaching or correction in the moment.
Prepare for seasonal hiring success
The season may be short, but you will continue hiring seasonal employees year after year. Make it part of your overall business strategy and invest now to make it easier and faster to bring fresh talent on board in the future.
Start by building out your onboarding process. Then observe results and survey employees about their onboarding experience to see where you can make improvements, so you’re ready for next year.
Preparing now not only lets you get people on board quickly, but it also sets them up to succeed. When temp employees can serve customers well and feel confident in their work, everyone will have a happier holiday season. Here is how to hire and onboard seasonal employees