How Seasonal Employees Can Help Your Workplace

By Robert Half on October 19, 2020 at 9:32am

If your company is experiencing a spike in workload or you’re operating with fewer full-time workers, bringing aboard seasonal employees is a smart solution. 

Here’s a look at some situations when hiring seasonal employees can be particularly helpful to your business:

Back-to-school season

While many schools have reopened, educational institutions are facing an unpredictable year. Additional temporary employees may still be needed to provide better IT infrastructure and tech support for online instruction. The shift toward virtual learning programs has also increased the need for designers, developers and video production professionals. And busy HR teams and admissions staff may need temporary administrative and customer service support.

The hectic holidays

Many businesses are extremely busy in November and December. Workplace stress levels can swell during the lead-up to the holidays when there are fewer employees around to help with the extra customer service duties and end-of-year responsibilities.

Turbulent tax season

If you work in accounting and finance and find yourself buried in piles of paperwork and looming deadlines, you’re probably in the midst of tax season. Businesses, both large and small, feel the pressure of tax season acutely. During this hectic time of year, staff members often face the prospect of working long hours to keep pace with heavy workloads. Seasonal temporary workers and contractors can serve as invaluable reinforcements during tax season.

When you find yourself in need of extra staffing assistance, you need an effective strategy to quickly find, hire and onboard seasonal employees. Here are three critical steps:

1. Connect with a top staffing firm

A good relationship with a first-rate recruiter is essential to successful seasonal hiring. A specialized staffing agency like Robert Half knows the candidate marketplace in your industry and city. We have a database of millions of job seekers, including many that you and other companies wouldn’t have access to on your own.

Moreover, it can be challenging to evaluate and hire a large number of people in a short amount of time when you and your team are already stretched thin. A staffing agency can make this process much easier and help you identify and bring on board lots of seasonal employees at once. We can effectively evaluate experience and skills to make the right matches — and fast.

2. Be ready to make an offer

Just as you would with a job candidate for a full-time position, assess potential seasonal employees based on the required skills and experience, performance expectations, work style, and match with your corporate culture. Conduct reference checks too.

But before you do all that, find out what range you should expect to pay. The Canadian market is competitive even for temporary workers today. If a recruiter is helping you hire seasonal help, they can work with you to ensure you offer compensation that meets the market standard. You also can use resources such as Robert Half’s annual Salary Guides.

3. Set clear expectations with seasonal employees

Even with a seasonal contractor, you need to have a strong sense of the specific duties and responsibilities of the job you’re staffing. If you’re working with a staffing agency, inform the recruiter of the time frame and key expectations, and make sure they are communicated to job candidates during the interview.

It’s a worthwhile exercise to write a detailed job description before you bring the interim worker on board, and go over it on the first day. Then stick with it, avoiding the temptation to give the seasonal employee whatever random assignment needs doing. One of the advantages is that in the event the temporary position becomes full time, you’ll be able to accurately evaluate how well the person fulfilled the job as you described it. Seasonal employees often make great candidates for full-time positions.

Whether you’re burdened by time-consuming tax season or facing staffing gaps, a little preparation can go a long way. Apply the hiring strategy outlined above to find the best seasonal employees who can provide extra support when there is a temporary increase in workload — and take the load off you and the rest of your staff.

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