Same Time Next Year: Retention Strategies to Help Hang on to Your Seasonal Staff
Although it certainly sounds counterintuitive, making an effort to retain seasonal workers is a strategy that can actually make a whole lot of sense in the long run. In fact, by relying upon a pool of qualified, tested, and experienced temporary workers year after year, you’ll be able to eliminate most of the common pitfalls and problems that tend to be associated with hiring and managing a seasonal workforce.
The hiring process is already complicated enough when you’re looking for regular employees. When you’re seeking to fill temporary slots, the stakes can be even higher. Managers are often forced to make seasonal hiring decisions on short notice, drawing upon a less-than-ideal pool of applicants who are willing and able to work on an on-call basis. By contrast, if you have a reliable stable of temporary employees from which to fill your short-notice needs, your busy season is likely to run much more smoothly.
Create a Seasonal-Specific Approach to Retention
So, how does retention work when you’re dealing with temporary workers? First and foremost, the methods you use will likely diverge significantly from those that you’re used to using with permanent staff.
According to Bill Marvin, hospitality industry HR consultant and author of From Turnover to Teamwork: How to Build and Retain a Customer-Oriented Foodservice Staff, it all boils down to two things: making sure that your seasonal staff members are satisfied and keeping in touch.
Craft your own retention strategy for temporary workers using these easy tips, hints, and techniques.
Make your temporary workers feel like a valued part of the team.
Although it’s true that your seasonal staff members won’t have the same role in the organization as your permanent workers, try not to create division and isolation between the two groups. Instead, make every effort to treat and interact with the two groups in as similar a manner as possible. Take care of administrative and managerial differences behind the scenes.
Put your money where your mouth is.
Let’s face it -- when it comes to short-term motivation strategies, compensation ranks among the most effective. Reward your temporary employees with end-of-season bonuses and both formal and spontaneous prizes, perks, parties, and more. Your seasonal workers are much more likely to want to return to a fun workplace where excellence is valued and rewarded.
Stay on top of the competition.
If your community or region offers many temporary or seasonal employment opportunities in the hospitality industry, it’s vitally important that your wages, benefits, and perks equal or exceed those offered by others in the sector. Before you begin the seasonal hiring process, carry out some research to find out the prevailing wages, sign-on bonuses, and other factors that may play a role in your temporary staff’s decision to sign on for another holiday stint.
Find out what’s important to your seasonal staff members.
There’s one surefire way to keep your finger on the pulse of what really matters to your temporary workers – ask them! As the busy season draws to a close, gather your seasonal staff members for an informal get-together and ask them to brainstorm a bit about the factors that would keep them coming back year after year.
Reach out during the rest of the year.
Another great way to boost retention among your seasonal staff members is to keep in touch with them all year round. A few postcards and phone calls spread throughout the year can help show them that they are valuable members of the team. In addition, year-round communication can help ensure that you have up-to-date contact information for seasonal staff members from years past
With recruitment costs for even entry-level service positions nearing an all-time high, it makes sense to invest a little time and effort into holding on to your qualified seasonal workers. Use these tips as a jumping-off point for developing your own retention program.