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5 things to keep in mind when hiring seasonal employees

Bringing seasonal candidates on board to enhance your workforce can result in many unique challenges, including those presented in 2020 by COVID-19 and whether it’s your first time to tap into the seasonal hiring pool. You may opt for seasonal employees for many reasons; maybe your business improved at a certain period of the year or perhaps your need to fill the gap left by full-time employees who have taken holiday breaks. Whatever the reason, here are five things to keep in mind when hiring seasonal employees.

COVID-19 precautions for seasonal workers

Before diving in, let’s first consider the impact COVID-19 will have this year to seasonal employees who will work with you in person vs. virtually. Here are some best practice guidelines to follow:

  • At least two weeks before onboarding seasonal employees, contact them to check if they have any symptoms or whether they have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Check the travel arrangements and government restrictions to see if the employees can travel in time to your premises.
  • Ensure that workers have a proper place to self quarantine if the they are coming from a red zone country.
  • Upon arrival, ensure that you provide workers all the necessary hygienic items that safeguard them from COVID-19.
  • Provide training on COVID-19 symptoms, spread, and precautions.

5 things to keep in mind when hiring seasonal employees

  1. Determine your seasonal recruitment needs. Review your sales data from the past few years, along with the estimated business spending trends. This information will help you better predict the amount of traffic you’re likely to receive during the busy seasons. Then, look into varying factors. For instance, will you maintain the same size scale as you did the previous year, or are you intending to scale up your offer? Equipped with a clearer idea of the amount of traffic your business may receive, you can better estimate your seasonal recruitment needs.
  2. Plan a season in advance.  Decide when you require additional assistance and work backwards. That way, you’ll have a clear idea of when to start bringing on seasonal talents. Planning a season in advance will be a valuable strategy. If you know when your business will get busy and when your new stock will arrive, it’s wise to hire fresh talent ahead. This will help you make the most out of the busy season. It’s also important to consider your source of seasonal workers. If they’re college students, they’ll start searching for seasonal jobs before their semester ends. As a result, it’s wise to know the term dates and start hiring as early as possible.
  3. Create your schedule and compensation.  What will the schedule for your seasonal workers look like? Will they have fixed hours, flexible work schedules, or will they be on call? These are things you need to clarify in your job posting. Tell them exactly when you need their services – it could be evenings, weekends, or holidays. You should also clearly explain the type of contract you provide to your seasonal workers. Your job posting should include the kind of compensation package you’re willing to provide. It should also state the hourly rate you’re providing as well as any other benefits seasonal employees will enjoy if they choose to work for you.
  4. Clearly define roles and responsibilities.  When you bring temporary workers on board, you must have well-defined roles and responsibilities in place. If you choose to work with global expansion services, notify them of the main requirements for the seasonal position(s). Make sure this information is communicated to all the candidates. Identify specific tasks or assignments that temporary employees will perform. Avoid delegating random tasks to them. Temporary workers will deliver excellent results if they understand what their responsibilities are right from the recruitment stage. Keep in mind that temporary employees have great potential for filling full-time positions, so if a seasonal position becomes full-time, all you need to do is to assess how well the candidate performed as a seasonal employee.
  5. Integrating seasonal workers into your workforce. While seasonal workers work for just a few months every year compared to their full-time counterparts, similar taxation and legal procedures are applied to the two groups. You’ll still have to hold back medical insurance, Social Security, income taxes, and other legal deductions as you always do with your full-time workers. Most importantly, seasonal employees can also benefit from workplace safety, overtime, workers’ compensation, paid sick leave and holiday, and other valuable labor protections that their full-time peers enjoy. Business owners often rush temporary workers through the onboarding process, which increases the risk of workplace injuries and other work-related issues. Providing sufficient workplace safety, orientation, training, and work-related advice can help minimize these risks.

Experts can help you work through the many laws, policies, and regulations associated with tapping into the international labor markets for seasonal employees.

Editor’s note: Learn how QuickBooks® Online Payroll and its expert support team can help you onboard and pay seasonal employees and contractors. You can also ask HR experts your questions about policies and hiring guidance for seasonal workers.

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