When you're hiring seasonal worker for the holidays, it's important to have a fully qualified pool, a robust onboarding system and to keep them motivated throughout the season.

Success With Hiring Seasonal Workers

Leadership Employee Management

When hiring seasonal workers, it’s important to have a fully qualified pool, a robust onboarding system and to keep them motivated throughout the season.

The holidays are right around the corner! If you’re supplementing your full-time team by hiring seasonal workers, there are a few common challenges that you’ll face regardless of industry. The biggest include finding qualified staff, onboarding well, and keeping them motivated throughout the season. Here are a few solutions to these seasonal worker challenges.

Start Early and Hire Outside the Box

One of the major challenges of hiring seasonal workers is finding a qualified applicant pool. Think that October is too early to start thinking about hiring for the holidays? Think again. In fact, September would have been an even better time. Starting to hire early gives you the benefit of being able to be a bit more selective with your hires, rather than scrambling at the last minute. Employees will love it, too — it means they’ll have work lined up and won’t have to worry about finding a last minute gig for that extra holiday cash.

You also want to look outside of your traditional hiring tactics, such as advertising or using staffing vendors. Look for ways to build on the connections you already have. Think about looking for referrals from your current team members, even incentivizing them with a bonus for a successful seasonal hire. You could also look to your own customer base — give them a great experience as a seasonal worker and you’ll solidify their loyalty as a customer. Both of those audiences have a personal connection with your business and your products or services, which will help cut down on onboarding time and make them more likely to stay throughout the holiday season.

Hire to Hit the Ground Running

The best seasonal employees come with two core traits: They’re fast-paced and flexible. It’s nice if you can hire for the technical skills required in the job as well, but a fast-paced and flexible person will be able to pick up those skills quickly through a robust onboarding process and will be able to jump in and contribute to tasks that may be unanticipated.

Once they’re hired, onboarding should focus on three things:

  • The technical skills your workers will need to perform the core functions of their job.
  • Your corporate culture and values; the things your company stands for that sets you apart from the competition.
  • How your seasonal workers can connect with the social culture of the organization. You must make them feel like an integral part of the team.

As much as possible, make new hire training fun. Use it as an opportunity to bond your seasonal workers together as a team and immerse them in an engaging experience that reinforces their pride in the work they’re doing.

Keep Them Motivated

The game isn’t over after you hire and onboard well; there is still a risk that they may leave prior to the agreed-upon end of the employment date, leaving you in the lurch. Keep them motivated to stay with you throughout the season by making them know you appreciate their work. Never underestimate the power of a compliment or a thank you. Also, don’t treat them any differently than your full-time employees. Make sure you’re including them in any holiday activities or celebrations alongside your regular team members. Even better, put your best seasonal employees first in line for full-time positions that may open up. You’ll have the advantage of hiring someone you know can do the job and may also save money on recruiting and hiring a completely green employee.

Karlyn Borysenko
Karlyn Borysenko

My goal is to make professional life better for individuals, and drive productivity and results for organizations. I fix the "people problems" and I help individuals build better working relationships across their organizations, navigate office politics, create a great organizational culture, build and lead more productive teams, and be great managers. I'm one of the few workplace bullying experts in the country and I can help individuals who have been targeted, or organizations who think they might have a bullying problem on their hands. And if you work in sales or fundraising, I can teach you how to "read" your prospects to increase your close rate and generate more revenue. I'm an MBA, a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (ABD), and a certified DiSC Trainer. I believe passionately that an organization's most valuable resource is its people, and that leaders have a responsibility to put structures, processes, and systems in place that will support employee success, development, job satisfaction, and organizational culture.