How to Retain Skilled Seasonal Workers

Looking for skilled and enthusiastic workers each spring or fall can be a difficult and time consuming task. Scanning through the endless pile of applications from students searching for any job that will pay next year’s tuition isn’t the most-inspiring endeavour, however, making sure you have a team of staff who will impress your customers should be an essential part of your HR strategy.

One way to make your seasonal hiring process easier is to retain the employees from the previous season. It will not only save on recruiting and training costs, it will make sure your team is qualified, experienced and committed to your business.

Here are seven tips to help you retain as many of your seasonal employees as possible, and a few strategies to hire new ones when needed.

1. Ask Your Employees to Return at the End of the Season

If you want your seasonal employees to return – tell them! Consider exit interviews to find out why some employees are keen to return and some are not. You will soon find out if it’s personal circumstances like completing school or if you’re not competitive in your offering. This information will help you understand where you need to improve your HR policies and benefits. And if you get them to sign a contract there and then for the next season, you’ve saved yourself time and money immediately.

2. Keep in Touch Off-Season

Whether it’s sending them a quick “Hello” or invitation to a staff event, think of ways to stay in contact with your seasonal employees in the off-season. It will make them feel valued and top-of-mind and will help them spread positive messages about your business to their friends and family.

3. Offer Incentives For Them to Return

This can come in the form of a higher wage , more responsibilities, non-monetary bonuses like food or free passes, or even training for a more permanent supervisory role, they will feel inspired to return.

4. Keep it in the Family

If your seasonal employees can’t return for reasons not related to the job, ask if they have family or friends who would like to work for you. Offer them a recruitment bonus, whether monetary or for free products/services as an incentive. Those that have enjoyed working with you won’t hesitate to recommend you.

5. Be an Employer of Choice

Don’t worry this doesn’t have a dollar sign attached to it. Being an employer of choice is about creating a workplace that employees look forward to going to. It’s about being positive and fun in your communication, creating opportunities for work-life-balance, teamwork and training. Not only will it benefit your recruitment of seasonal employees, it will create a reputation for your business that attracts qualified workers, looking for a longer-term position.

6. Don’t Concentrate on Students

Many retirees are now looking for temporary and seasonal jobs to supplement their pension, and to keep their brain working, now they have stopped work. This presents an excellent opportunity for you to employ mature and experienced staff who are likely to be more loyal to your business.

Also consider other international workers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Many international workers are looking for temporary roles for experience and offer the benefit of additional languages if you work in the hospitality industry.

7. Look to Partner With An Opposite Season Business

If you only need seasonal employees for the summer season, look to partner with a similar type of business who needs winter seasonal employees.

For example a ski shop in Whistler may want help through the winter months, but come summer not need them anymore. They could then partner with a bike shop or zipline business, to employ the same worker for the summer months. Providing the employee with constant employment and you with an experience and trusted employee.

Taking time to retain your seasonal employees can really help relieve some of the headache associated with the seasonal hiring process. It makes sense to keep hold of the employees you have already invested in, so make your business stand out from a crowd and give them a reason (or 7) to keep coming back for more.