The holidays are just around the corner and, if prospects look good, you’re anticipating the need to hire seasonal workers. At the same time, you may dread doing so, only because past experience has shown that motivating temporary employees to do a good job is a challenge in and of itself.
The good news is, a little advance preparation and guidance can make all the difference between seasonal workers who just take up space, and those who make a real effort to generate sales and provide quality customer service.
Here are a few tips to tilt the odds in your favor:
- Make them feel comfortable. Temporary employees who are made to feel part of the team will feel more inspired to contribute to your business. Invite them to attend staff meetings. Consider mentoring them yourself for a few days or ask a full-time employee to assume this “buddy” role, mainly to show seasonal workers the ropes and answer their questions.
- Provide clear directions and/or training. Employers who hire temporary workers and then leave them to figure things out on their own will never get a decent return on their investment. Taking time upfront to provide clear directions helps the new employee gain confidence that he or she can handle the tasks they’re assigned. “Start seasonal employees off slowly by teaching one task at a time and then adding on,” advises Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media. “Provide easy-to-follow checklists, ‘cheat’ sheets and operations manuals new employees can turn to if they need memory aids to fall back on while learning their jobs.”
- Set measurable goals. Whatever the temporary position, devise specific goals for each seasonal worker and help them work toward achieving those goals. Be sure they understand they are accountable for these objectives and that you’ll provide all the necessary resources for them to succeed.
- Offer flexible scheduling. Seasonal workers may be students, a single parent, retired individuals or others looking to earn a little extra income during the holidays. Forcing such prospective employees to adhere to fixed work-hours lessens the likelihood you’ll find people motivated to do all they can. Instead, be as flexible as possible with scheduling so you’re helping meet their needs as well as your own.
Another strategy for motivating seasonal workers is calling upon talented individuals who you’ve employed in the past. Your business benefits by saving on recruitment and training expenses and knowing that you’re rehiring people with a proven track record.
How do you get these ex-seasonal employees to come back?
- Stay in touch. In the months leading up to the holiday rush, make the effort to stay in touch with the former employee (email, LinkedIn message, etc.). Invite them to an upcoming employee event. Let these valued seasonal workers know you’re thinking about them.
- Offer an added incentive to come back for the holidays. If an ex-employee is worth hiring again, consider offering something extra to lure him or her back. A slightly higher hourly wage or some non-financial perk may be just the thing to bring them back into the fold.
Most importantly, make sure that every temporary employee has a positive experience during the holiday season. A flexible, upbeat and team-oriented culture will build your reputation as an employer of choice – one that attracts the best seasonal workers as well as others seeking to become full-time employees with your company.