The Ins and Outs of Hiring Seasonal Staff

Published On: September 8, 2023|Categories: Employers|
Two unrecognizable blue collar workers isolated against clear blue sky with sun flare.Real people. Copy space

Certain times in the year call for extra help. For example, many retail stores require seasonal staff during the holidays to help with the influx of customers. Other businesses may bring on temporary staff members to have more hands-on board tackling a large project, meeting a huge deadline or hosting a conference.

But what is the proper protocol for seasonal employees? Obviously, they do not qualify to receive benefits which may help incentivise, but aren’t there other ways to show they are appreciated and respected as members of the team? Of course! And it is important to ensure that they feel just as appreciated during their short time with your company for many reasons. 

Why is it important to treat seasonal employees well?

You want to build a good relationship with your seasonal staff just as you want to build a good relationship with your permanent staff. Word travels fast about how people are treated in the workplace, and those who are treated well will not only refer others to your company but they may also encourage others to seek out your products. 

Additionally, you may find some worthy team members among your seasonal employees. These individuals may become full-time members of your team eventually, so making sure there is a good relationship existing between everyone can be highly beneficial long term.

What can I do to support my seasonal employees?

Because you have brought on extra staff to help with the workload, it is crucial to make their workplace an enjoyable one. Large workloads can create tension among staff and morale may be low, so doing your best to mitigate this and boost company attitude may help with retention and the work output you see from the seasonal staff. 

There are many different ways in which you can help your seasonal employees, which, in turn, helps your company. 

Make the onboarding process simple

If they are only going to be working with you for the summer months, a six-month onboarding process is unrealistic. For the first few days, walk them through a thorough training process that allows them to be comfortable with the workspace and gives them a sense of familiarity with their responsibilities. Their jobs should be fairly straightforward, too, so training should not need to be very extensive. 

Make them aware of who they can go to for help, and encourage question-asking – the less afraid your staff is to ask questions, the sooner they find solutions to their problems and the sooner they can get back to completing their tasks.

Offer unique benefits

Obviously, you cannot offer benefits like a 401k or health insurance to seasonal employees, but that does not mean you can’t incentivize them in other ways. Because seasonal employees tend to have a lower rate of pay, the company may be able to use some extra funds to offer special bonuses, including: 

  • A bonus for a successful season/event
  • A higher employee discount
  • Occasional lunches on the company
  • Fun competitions to increase both morale and work output

If your seasonal employees feel valued, word will travel and you may even find some valuable new additions to your staff.

Foster retention

Creating a unique, if not amazing, experience for your seasonal workers says a lot about who you are as a manager and who the company is as a whole. Numerous possibilities exist for maintaining your seasonal employees, including offering them a full-time position if it is in the best interests of the company.

Additionally, you can retain seasonal employees by ensuring them a position the following season. Retail stores might promise a position to some holiday staff members annually, or summer camps might sign seasonal staff into a contract for numerous summers in a row.

How long can I keep seasonal employees on staff?

Once an employee works over 130 hours per month for four consecutive months, they are no longer considered seasonal and must be given the benefits of a full-time employee. This is why seasonal employees are usually only employed for three months.

You can offer seasonal positions to the same employee more than once, however. For example, you may re-hire college students as camp counselors every summer for the four years they are attending school, as long as their term does not exceed the limit.

Can I hire seasonal employees full-time? 

Of course! One of the benefits of hiring seasonal employees for you, the employer, is that you may find some very valuable additions to your team amongst the seasonal hires. And it’s an added incentive to your seasonal employees to perform quality work knowing that a full-time opportunity may be a possibility at the close of the season.

Need additional support managing the workplace?

Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP offers support through employee assistance programs (EAP) for managers, employers and their families alike. Whether you need support installing an EAP for your company, are looking to provide support to your staff or need additional guidance handling both your full-time and seasonal staff, Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP is here to help.

To get in contact with someone to help today, reach out to Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP by calling our offices at (800) 543-5080 to learn more. 

man reclining on his chair in cubicle with EXIT sign aboveAn Employer’s Guide on What to Do When Work is Slow
Hand holding piece of puzzle with words Financial Planning. Business conceptHow Do I Start Budget Planning?