With summer upon us, it’s time for businesses that need seasonal workers to start staffing up. A whopping 74 percent of employers expect to hire summer workers this year, reports a recent survey by Snagajob. With 92 percent of those hiring the same number of summer workers as last year or more, the competition is fierce.
How can you find the summer employees you need—and build a reliable bench of seasonal workers for years to come?
1. Determine your staffing needs. Look back at the past few years of sales data to determine when your busiest times are likely to be. This will help you avoid over-staffing (which costs you extra money) or under-staffing (which can lead to lost sales due to dissatisfied customers, not to mention stressed and unhappy employees). Consider any unusual factors that might have affected those numbers and might affect this year’s demand, such as extreme weather conditions or unusual publicity for your product or service.
2. Look for people with experience in your industry. When you need staffers to get up to speed quickly, it’s a lot easier if they aren’t completely green. Create a job description that emphasizes past experience in your industry. That way, you’ll only need to train seasonal employees in your particular systems.
3. Consider a wide range of demographics as seasonal employees. High school and college students are traditionally the ones small businesses turn to for summer workers, but don’t forget other options such as retirees who may be seeking some extra cash, or teachers on summer vacation.
4. Cast a wide net. Let everyone know you’re seeking summer workers by posting ads online and at high school and college career offices; putting the information on your business website; spreading the word on social media; and asking your colleagues, partners and social connections if they know anyone looking for summer work.
5. Focus on personality. Generally, summer seasonal businesses are those that have a lot of customer interaction, such as restaurants and shops in tourist areas, travel-related businesses or family entertainment venues. Friendliness and adaptability are especially important for employees in these establishments; a cheery, flexible disposition can help keep customers calm despite high temperatures and long lines. In the Snagajob survey, personality was the No. 1 quality valued by employers.
6. Assess how the candidate meshes with the rest of your team. When you want someone to hit the ground running, it’s important he or she fits in with your existing staff. Consider having managers or other key personnel sit in on interviews, or having job candidates meet the people they would be working with. This can give you insights into how well they will potentially relate to the rest of the team.
7. Build a bench. When you find good summer workers, treat them like gold. Reward them with perks, get their contact information and stay in touch throughout the year to keep your business top-of-mind. That way, when next summer comes and you need to staff up again, you can more easily reach out to job candidates you already know will do a good job.
You should always be thinking long term. Would any of the summer staff make a good intern? A part-timer? Could they turn into permanent employees down the road?
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