Changing seasons bring with them a lot more than shifting weather and seasonal allergies; they can also bring new pressures for businesses struggling to juggle their staffing needs. Whether it's the holiday season for retailers, the summer surge for tourism, or the back-to-school season, these periods can cause demand for extra help to skyrocket. And with seasonal staffing, businesses can meet that demand without committing to permanent hires. 

However, recruiting, training, and integrating temporary staff within such a limited time frame can be tough. For this instance especially, many companies choose to partner with staffing agencies that specialize in seasonal placements, giving them access to a pool of pre-screened, ready-to-work candidates and making the hiring process smoother and more efficient. Curious about how it works to meet your staffing needs? We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to hire seasonal staff.

Start by assessing your seasonal staffing needs 

Understanding your seasonal hiring needs is the first step toward building a robust, reliable seasonal workforce. Start by identifying the peak seasons for your business. Is it the holidays? Tax season? The end of the fiscal year? To double-check, refer to your past sales data, customer foot traffic, and other historical data you might have access to.

Once you know your peak seasons, the next step is to figure out your workforce needs during these periods. What specific roles do you know you’ll need, and how many employees will it realistically take to maintain smooth operations? Is your current staff sufficient, or will you need to hire? And finally, do you need to permanently increase your workforce, or do you simply need extra hands during these shorter periods of time?

One of the major benefits of a flexible workforce is that you can quickly adjust your staffing levels in response to shifting customer demand. This provides greater flexibility and reduces the time and resources burden of hiring and laying off employees. And by partnering with staffing agencies that specialize in seasonal placements, you can streamline this hiring process even further.

1040 Income tax form with pen

Be aware of some common challenges in seasonal hiring 

We’ve already touched on some of the challenges of seasonal staffing that can make the hiring process difficult for companies to navigate on their own. As you begin to explore seasonal hires, you should also be prepared for a few more:

Finding qualified candidates quickly:

One of the biggest challenges in seasonal hiring is finding qualified candidates on short notice. The urgency of filling positions to meet immediate demand can lead to a rushed hiring process, potentially resulting in less-than-ideal hires.

Training and onboarding in a short timeframe:

Bringing seasonal employees up to speed quickly is another major hurdle. With limited time to train and onboard new hires, businesses must develop new, efficient training programs that equip seasonal staff with the skills and knowledge to perform their roles effectively.

Managing fluctuating workloads:

Seasonal periods often come with unpredictable workloads that can vary day by day. Balancing these fluctuations without overburdening your staff or compromising service quality requires careful planning and flexible scheduling.

Affording new employees:

Competing with big companies like Amazon, which can offer unusually high wages, can put a financial strain on local businesses. To stay competitive, local businesses need to emphasize other benefits they can offer, such as a positive work environment, flexible hours, and possible opportunities for long-term employment.

Complying with labor laws and regulations: 

Ensuring compliance with employment laws, including those related to wages, working hours, and employee rights, is particularly challenging with a temporary seasonal workforce. Consult with your in-house legal or retained legal counsel to ensure you’re following all applicable temporary employment regulations. (If you’ve chosen to work with a staffing agency like Spherion, this will already be taken care of.)

Employee sorting and checking peaches

Find new strategies for effective seasonal staffing

Seasonal workforce staffing may seem like an uphill battle, but we promise: There are plenty of tactics you can take to help ensure your success when hiring temporary staff! 

Plan early and prepare well:

Successful seasonal hiring starts with early planning. Begin forecasting your staffing needs and developing a recruitment timeline well before your peak periods. This proactive approach allows you to post job openings and interview candidates in advance, avoiding last-minute scrambles and ensuring a smooth onboarding process.

Create an attractive seasonal employment compensation package:

Just because it’s a temporary position doesn’t mean you don't need a compelling compensation package. Competitive wages, flexible scheduling, employee discounts, performance bonuses, and potential permanent positions can make your seasonal roles more appealing. 

Build a talent pool for future seasons: 

Maintain your talent pool of past seasonal employees to help make the process of hiring seasonal staff easier in the future. Keep detailed records of previous workers’ performance and availability, and stay in touch with them through newsletters or social media. This approach reduces recruiting time and cost while ensuring you have experienced workers ready to return.

Implement efficient training programs:

We know it’s tough to get seasonal workers up and running in a short time period, so introduce training programs with a mix of hands-on practice, online modules, and mentorship to cover company policies, job-specific tasks, and customer service standards. This approach helps to reduce the learning curve and boost worker confidence when you’re in a crunch to meet customer demand.

Partnering with a seasonal staffing agency can make a big difference

You’ve got one last tool at your disposal too: Partnering with a seasonal staffing agency like Spherion. These agencies have extensive databases of pre-screened candidates ready to fill temporary roles, giving you access to a much larger talent pool. They can streamline the hiring process by handling recruitment, vetting, and initial training, saving you valuable time and resources. And with their extensive staffing expertise, they can help ensure you hire the right number of employees with the right skills to meet your seasonal demand.

Of course, choosing the right seasonal staffing agency is crucial. Local agencies, like a locally owned Spherion office, provide personalized service and understand the nuances of the local labor market better than nationally owned agencies. That means they can offer tailored solutions and more flexible, responsive support, enhancing your seasonal operations and keeping your service and productivity high.

Seasonal hires can make the busy season a breeze

Seasonal staffing can be a welcome help for businesses aiming to meet peak demand and maintain high levels of customer service and productivity. With early planning, attractive compensation packages, efficient training programs, and a robust talent pool, companies can find seasonal staff with ease—especially if they partner with a staffing agency like Spherion for access to a broader candidate pool and a streamlined hiring process.

Looking to hire seasonal employees for your business? Contact your local Spherion office to speak with a team member who can form a custom workforce solutions plan for your business.

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