Tips for Hiring Seasonal Employees for Your Small Business

  •  04/05/2022
  • By Andrea Collatz
  •  Compliance , Criminal Background , Employer

Sudden customer growth can mean complete disaster for unprepared small business owners. Hiring temporary workers to keep up with seasonal demand can help, but you’ll need to thoroughly screen regardless of how long an employee will be around. Get pre-employment background reports now through ShareAble.

As reliable as tulips poking up from the ground, spring brings people back to stores and businesses. However, while flowers signal pleasant days to come, sudden customer growth can mean complete disaster for unprepared small business owners.

Long lines, dwindling stock, insufficient staff to meet client needs—these are just some of the common pitfalls that you might face if you’re not prepared for the inevitable influx. While you might operate with a lean staff at other times, a spring sales uptick could mean hiring temporary workers to keep up with seasonal demand.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) defines a seasonal employee as “an employee who is hired into a position for which the customary annual employment is six months or less.” Temporary employees can be a cost-efficient solution to help small businesses remain productive and profitable during times of peak demand—without sacrificing the quality of products or services.

Additionally, seasonal hiring is not limited only to spring. Some companies supplement their staff during any period of increased traffic, such as the holiday season. Others, such as summer camps, rely solely on seasonal employees.

Today, temporary workers make up a significant portion of the workforce. According to The American Staffing Association, in any given week more than three million temporary employees and contractors work across a variety of industries, including:

  • Hospitality
  • Customer Service
  • Retail
  • Tax
  • Education
  • Travel

What is a seasonal employee

However, while there are many benefits, hiring temporary employees can also be dangerous. Inviting a swarm of strangers into your business without proper vetting—even for a short time—could lead to property damage and theft, losing customers due to inappropriate behavior, negligence lawsuits, and more.

Regardless of the planned length of their employment, it's imperative to thoroughly vet all staff through a well-established employee screening service like ShareAble for Hires. Cutting corners during hiring by neglecting background checks could mean watching your potential growth wither and die.

If you’re considering taking on seasonal hires, whether to prepare for the holiday rush or to supplement your staff during other times of the year, use this guide to understand your options and incorporate these hiring tips as you take on new employees.

The Benefits of Hiring Seasonal Employees

Whether you need holiday workers or need to build your team for a busy spring and summer, seasonal employees provide several benefits. As with any hiring process, be sure to check for variations in your local laws and consult with your employment counsel, if needed.

seasonal employees provide several benefits

1. Reduce Payroll Costs

Small business owners often spend a huge chunk of revenue on employee payroll. However, seasonal employees may reduce that overall cost. With seasonal employees, you’ll typically only incur payroll costs when you actually have employees on your roster.

If your seasonal employees are hired for part-time positions, then they may not work enough hours to constitute overtime pay. This further reduces the money business owners must shell out for qualified employees.

2. Use as Trial Employment for Permanent Hires

Seasonal hires are usually brought on with an anticipated employment end date. However, you can decide to extend a full-time job offer once their employment term is complete. Consider using seasonal hiring as a trial employment period. This lower-stress method can help you determine if someone would make a great addition to your full-time team.

Ask yourself the following questions to gauge if a seasonal employee fits your business:

  • Does this person work well with other employees
  • Does this person provide exemplary customer service
  • Does this person contribute to daily productivity
  • Does this person have capacity to learn quickly

Seasonal employment offers employers the unique opportunity to examine temporary hires and spot the qualities of a great hire in action.

top qualities of good employees

3. Maintain Quality During Peak Demand

Seasonal hires can be invaluable for small business owners that experience high demand during certain months. An uptick in customers can leave your current team underequipped. By bolstering your roster with temporary hires, you can provide the same level of customer service, handle increased demand, and help maintain your company’s reputation.

4. Improve Morale

Seasonal employees provide extra capacity to your current team. Additional help can improve morale during the busy season. When work picks up, employees may feel burnt out more quickly. Providing extra hands to help shoulder some of the increased workload can keep your current full-time employees engaged and improve employee retention in the long run.

Seasonal Hiring During the Holidays

Many business owners may think of seasonal hiring as exclusive to the holiday months, typically between October and January. It’s true that many seasonal hires are onboarded during this time. Why Sales during the holidays constitute a significant portion of annual retail sales . In fact, the National Retail Federation reports that holiday sales increased by 14% in 2021.

To keep up with demand, many employers hire part-time employees to help handle the influx of business. While the additional help is needed, employees must also consider the cost of these seasonal hires. Taking on holiday employees does constitute a significant investment for business owners.

Bottom line: While holiday seasonal employees may constitute more cost, the benefits may be well worth it. The more hands you have on-deck, the better experience you can provide to holiday shoppers.

Infographic: Seasonal hiring during the holidays

Do Employers Need to Give Seasonal Employees Benefits

Seasonal employees are generally entitled to the same protections as all other employees, including laws governing anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, health, and safety regulations. Per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), seasonal hires have equal rights regarding minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping obligations, and hiring age.

The rules governing benefits for seasonal employees vary by state. However, in general, employers must typically provide seasonal hires with the following benefits:

  • Unemployment
  • Social Security
  • Medicare
  • Workers Comp

Read up on your state’s employment laws to learn more about seasonal employee rights, benefits, and policies in your area.

Tips for Hiring Seasonal Employees

Small business owners and hiring managers can streamline the hiring process for seasonal employees by incorporating the following tips into their hiring checklist.

Tip #1: Write a Job Description Tailored to Seasonal Workers

It’s important to know how to write a clear and attractive job description whether you’re hiring seasonal or permanent employees. An effective ad should target the type of hire you’re hoping to make. Clearly state within the title and text of the description that the position is seasonal. Otherwise, you may waste valuable time wading through applicants in search of a permanent position.

Include the expected start date for the position and when it’s likely to end. Providing all necessary information upfront may help you narrow down your pool of applicants, ensuring that only those looking for seasonal employment apply.

Tip #2: Hire Seasonal Employees Early

Hiring the right employee can be a lengthy process. It can take longer than you might think (think greater than 30 days) for small business owners to fill an open position—even a temporary role. With that hiring timeline in mind, start early.

When do employers hire seasonal employees Recently, there’s a trend of filling summer positions by April or May each year, while winter positions are being filled as early as August.

Start your search with plenty of wiggle room. Allow time for thorough employee screening. If you rush the process, you may end up hiring the wrong employee.

Tip #3: Screen Thoroughly

Seasonal hires may only be with your company for a few weeks, but their impact can remain for a shockingly long time. A destructive employee can create an unsatisfactory working environment, causing others to quit. Rude behavior, incompetence—and even dangerous criminal actions—can also cause otherwise loyal customers to leave in droves.

Such devastating consequences can haunt small businesses years after an ill-fitting seasonal employee departs. That’s why it’s crucial to vet every hire, regardless of employment length.

Consider including online background checks on all seasonal hires. Thorough employee screening can help:

  • Maintain Team Productivity: A bad hire, no matter how long they’re with your company, can affect the work output of those around them. A single “toxic” employee can damage your company’s bottom line.
  • Protect Your Business: According to recent research from Jack L. Hayes International, Inc., dishonest .
  • Expedite Seasonal Workers Becoming Employees: If you decide to hire seasonal workers onto your permanent roster, you’ll want to ensure you’ve thoroughly vetted them. Put them through the same employment screening that other full-time employees have completed.

Reasons to screen seasonal hires

Tip #4: Create an Onboarding Program

All employees, including seasonal hires need effective and efficient onboarding to feel comfortable and perform well in their roles. Organizations with a standard onboarding process may experience greater new-hire productivity.

New hires typically have over 50 activities that need to be completed during the onboarding period, including things like signing documents, completing admin tasks, and achieving goals related to learning the company culture and marketplace.

To set your seasonal hires up for success, ensure your onboarding processes are efficient and comprehensive.

What to Do with Seasonal Hires When Your Busy Season Ends

When the busy season ends and temporary hires are preparing to leave, there are a few steps employers should take.

what to do when the busy season ends

1. Keep Organized Records

If you part ways with your seasonal hires after the rush is over, don’t completely lose contact. If they proved to be effective, you may want to call on them for help during the next busy season. Keep records with each hire’s name and contact information and mark down whether you’d like to invite them back in the future.

2. Host Exit Interviews

Treat your seasonal employee’s departure in the same manner you would a permanent hire. Exit interviews can help you glean important insights into your business operation and may highlight areas that need improvement.

As you’ll likely hire seasonal employees on a recurring basis, understanding how to better manage these types of employees can help your business in the long run. Here are a few basic exit interview questions you might consider asking:

  • What did you like most about your job
  • What would you change about your job, your team, or the company as a whole
  • Were you given the tools to succeed at your job
  • Were you comfortable talking to your manager about work problems
  • Did you feel you were kept up to date on new developments and company policies
  • If you had a friend looking for a job, would you recommend us Why or why not

3. Consider Bringing on Permanent Talent

While you may have hired with the intention of saying goodbye at the end of your busy season, the best employees can be tough to come by. If you find that some of your seasonal hires could be great employees, consider bringing them on as permanent talent. This can help you reduce time and money spent on future employee recruitment and improve your employee retention rates in one fell swoop.

It’s Always Screening Season with ShareAble for Hires

Hiring seasonal employees can be a helpful way to meet the demand brought by changing seasons. However, just as spring means exciting potential for new growth, it can also mean unexpected storms for unprepared small business owners.

Don’t get caught in the deluge caused by ill-fitting seasonal hires. Follow a regimented hiring process checklist for all employees—even for temporary workers—including thorough pre-employment screening.

Designed specifically for small business owners, ShareAble for Hires provides ultra-fast, comprehensive employment background checks, so you can get the information needed to make more confident hiring decisions. Seasonal employees may be with you for only a short time, but any bad hire’s impact can last long after they leave. It’s imperative to know exactly who you’re hiring with helpful reports, including:

  • Identity verification: Make sure your seasonal job applicant is who they say they are
  • Credit checks: Reports may include information such as employment history, level of debt, accounts sent to collections, and previous residences
  • Criminal background checks: Help keep permanent employees, clients, and customers safe by checking your applicant against nearly 400 million criminal records

Screening seasonal help is essential but it doesn’t have to be time consuming. With ShareAble for Hires, you can get near-instant screening results, meaning you could interview, screen, and even hire temporary workers on the same day. Simply create a free account to get started.

Just like spring, seasonal staffing needs can bring out the weeds, along with the roses. Help ensure your business is ready to thrive with seasonal employee screening through ShareAble for Hires.

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Sign-up Now. Reports Now. Hire Now.

Click to learn more about employment screening with shareable for hires.

Senior Marketing Analyst, TransUnion ShareAble

Andrea Collatz

She focuses on topics that empower small business owners through data, insights and industry best practices.


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