Skip to Main Content
Filter By +
Topic +

5 Practices to Help You Retain Seasonal Hires

Seasonal workers come with many perks, such as lower payroll costs and additional support for permanent employees during busy times. But retaining temporary workers can be challenging because they often are less motivated and less loyal than full-time staff.

However, simply avoiding seasonal hires isn’t feasible for many organizations. In 2018, U.S. businesses brought on approximately 700,000 short-term workers for the December holidays – underscoring businesses’ reliance on these employees. And with unemployment still low, the war for talent includes the temporary labor force as well.

To make the most of your seasonal employees, consider these five tips to increase retention.

Make a plan beforehand

Workforce planning is how organizations analyze staffing needs to reach strategic goals and should include seasonal workers. A well-devised plan provides a framework for the temporary employees’ objectives so everyone knows what they are expected to accomplish. Planning also helps develop a clear job description, which outlines the duties and responsibilities of these workers. Knowing what’s expected of them can reduce workplace frustrations and endear seasonal employees to your organization.

Don’t skip onboarding

A great way to make seasonal workers feel unimportant and excluded is to forgo a proper introduction to your organization. If employers want engaged temporary employees, a half-day onboarding can quickly introduce them to important policies, procedures and culture. Don’t forget to assign a senior staff member to mentor and provide guidance, further increasing satisfaction and loyalty.

Break training into smaller pieces

Employees rarely absorb everything during initial training. And there’s a tendency to load temporary workers with as much info as possible, as soon as possible, due to their short tenure. Split training into manageable sections to increase comprehension, with the added benefit of not stressing people out with volumes of knowledge to retain on day one. Well-trained employees are happier, more engaged and less likely to go job hunting.

Give seasonal hires individual recognition

Lack of recognition takes a toll on morale, and seasonal workers are no exception. As reported in Harvard Business Review, a survey of American workers found 40% of them would put more energy into work if they were recognized more often. Taking time to thank them individually goes a long way toward productivity and engagement, even if they’re only working through the holidays.

Personally invite (some of) them back

Now that your short-term workers are happy, loyal and reaching their goals, it’s time to invite them to return next season, or become permanent employees. This is best done in-person and only with the stars of your staff. Give your pleasant goodbyes to Mediocre Mary via email, but Rock Star Randall should get some of that all-important face-to-face communication if you expect to see him again next year.

At the end of the day, or season, all employees want the same thing: to feel included, receive proper training and be appreciated for their work. Treating your temporary staff as anything less than a valuable member of the team is a recipe for sky-high turnover that can jeopardize your company’s profits during peak business times.