3 problems to avoid when dealing with seasonal staff

Hiring seasonal staff is crucial for many businesses to get them through busy trading periods. Whether you’re looking for extra bar hands, more call centre operators or additional retail staff during the summer or in the run-up to Christmas, getting temporary workers in can be a cost effective management strategy.hiring staff

However, just because they’re a short-term solution to your staffing problem, that doesn’t mean you can cut corners. Hiring unsuitable people is always bad for business. Remember that customer facing staff represent your company – a bad impression may mean unhappy customers and a loss of revenue. What’s more, the wrong temporary staff can also destabilise the rest of your team, with potentially disastrous results.

We’ve identified 3 key mistakes you should never make when employing temporary staff.

  1. Hiring poor quality staff

Regardless of whether you are looking for permanent or temporary staff members, you should expect the same high standards of all your workers. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that seasonal staff are somehow less important – their performance, productivity and customer skills during your busiest times is key to your company’s success. It’s very simple, really: anyone who is not up to the job shouldn’t be hired.

Use your company’s tried and tested recruitment process for selecting the best staff for your business, regardless of proposed length of employment. Make sure you begin the hiring process for seasonal staff at least a month before you need them to give yourself plenty of time to find the right person(s).

  1. Applying double standards

It’s tempting to treat your seasonal workers differently to your permanent staff. After all, they’ll only be there for a few weeks, so why make a huge effort? Surely, their contribution to the business won’t be that great. Or will it?

Actually, you are well advised to treat everyone the same – same standards, same company policies, same code of conduct. For the sake of your business performance, you need to ensure the same high staff performance and work standards throughout, with no slacking tolerated from anyone.

For the sake of your team, your regular staff need the reassurance to know that no special treatment will be given to their temporary colleagues. Whether you are allocating shifts on the staff roster, sharing out individual tasks on the day or giving performance feedback, keep the playing field level for all employees and reap the rewards of high staff morale.

  1. No proper training or feedback

Training is key for every new employee, and this is particularly important for seasonal workers who tend to come on board during your busiest time of year when the pressure is on to perform. Without proper training, how can they be expected to pick up the job quickly and step up to the plate? And yet lack of staff training is a common mistake made by many companies who take on temporary staff.

As a manager, you should be putting more, not less, effort into training up your seasonal staff precisely because of the steep, short learning curve and the short period of time they will be in the job. This should involve both on-boarding training and on-going mentoring.

Be around to supervise and praise or correct mistakes where necessary. Have your temporary worker ‘shadow’ a more experienced team member for a few hours each day to learn the ropes. Be available to give support where needed and do whatever is necessary to make them feel valued as an employee. Who knows, they may enjoy their seasonal job so much that they may come back at some point and join the team full-time.

About Nate Goodman

Nathan Goodman is a freelance fiction writer and the bestselling author of The Special Agent Jana Baker Spy-Thriller Series. "A terrorist on the loose, a country in panic, and time is running out..." For a free copy visit the author's website.