14 Dec Hiring Seasonal Workers
Many small businesses often face an employee shortage during the holidays — either from employees taking time off to spend with their families, or because their industry has high seasonal demand, or both. Many business owners leave short-time workforce hiring for the last moment, which sometimes ends up causing unnecessary complications.
I want to help you avoid this kind of a mess, and although we’re already halfway through the holiday season, it’s never too late to learn a thing or two about the rules of seasonal hiring.
Get all the legal stuff under your belt.
Before you even start interviewing, make sure you’re well acquainted with all the federal and local labor laws and rules. The Employment Law Guide from the Department of Labor and the Fair Labor Standards Act are a great place to start. Special laws also apply to hiring students and teenagers. Again consult the DoL website for precise information.
Knowing the rights and obligations of both sides is the best foundation of a fair and prosperous work relationship.
Learn from the past.
Assess your company’s staffing needs and unless it’s your first year, learn from your previous experiences: was last year’s staffing situation optimal? Why / why not? When did the season traffic peak last year? Did you start hiring on time, or were you in a rush? Did your hiring methods have any effect on the kinds of seasonal employees you’ve brought to your business?
Keep thorough track of your experiences every year (not just during the holiday season, but through the year when bank, national, and religious holidays occur, as well as when the seasons change and the school year starts and ends), and try to learn from your achievements and mistakes. Even a small improvement year over year is a success.
Don’t underestimate seasonal hiring and handle it the same way you’d handle a long-term hire. Prepare a detailed job description, where you define exactly what your expectations are. For the next step, get ready for the interview; prepare detailed and thorough questions that you’ll ask each candidate. You don’t want to hire just anyone, and you don’t want to look like you don’t really care while doing so. It is only fair to be prepared when you expect the candidates to be prepared, too.
Ask for recommendations.
The best place to start looking for new employees is among your current employees. Ask them for referrals, you can even come up with a reward system for referrals that you end up hiring. You can spread the word among your extended family and friends or put your offer up on social media. Word of mouth is still one of the best tools there is, so don’t jump to online job ads right away. Explore the closer options first.
It’s advantageous because once a recommendation comes, you know that it’s kind of the responsibility of the one who made the recommendation, so your much more likely to get qualified or above average candidates this way.
Protect your business.
Hiring someone new always comes with a certain level of risk. Either way, it’s good to try before you trust, that’s why it’s safe to run a background check on people you’re not 100% sure about. You can also only allow your full-time employees to do certain jobs, especially when it comes to working with money or valuable goods. If you have suspicion, you can also organize unexpected stock audits in order to uncover any kind of unauthorized activity, let alone theft or fraud.
Track and reward.
Keep track of all your seasonal employees, for all the good and bad reasons. You’ll want to know who you never want to see again, who will be up for a part-time job again next season, and who you’d like to offer a full-time contract.