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What Is Seasonal Employment?

What Is Seasonal Employment? How Holidays Impact Service Needs

For many businesses, the time comes every year where there’s a significant increase. The added workload is temporary, but the additional staff is needed. 

Seasonal businesses hire temporary employees to work during these peak times. No matter the size of the organization, seasonal hires are a cost-effective solution to get through the busy periods. 

The holidays greatly impact the need for additional customer service as it’s a time of increased business and revenue for many industries. Let’s dive in and touch on all aspects of seasonal employment and if it’s right for your business. 

Seasonal Employment

For businesses in various industries, there’s a great need for seasonal employees to help get through the busy season. After all, your business’ success comes from providing excellent service. You can’t risk your brand's image by not satisfying your customers due to a lack of service staff during peak seasons.

Hiring seasonal employees allows a business to stay productive, efficient, and profitable during super busy seasons. The additional staff helps a company meet the demands without sacrificing the quality of service provided.

Many industries hire seasonal employees. The retail industry is one of the top industries with a need for seasonal employment. The increase in retail employment helps stores handle the volume of customers and meet their service needs.

Top industries with a need for seasonal employment are:

  • Retail
  • Financial
  • Healthcare
  • Entertainment
  • Hospitality
  • Food and Beverage
  • Transportation

Importance Of Seasonal Employment

Picture this, you own an eCommerce business and sell products to consumers. Your business is relatively small, so you only have a few full-time employees. Then the holiday season hits, and your business gets 50 percent more orders than usual.

With the increase of orders comes an inflow of service needs. Your staff is already working a higher number of hours than usual during the work week to meet the demands of processing orders, and they’re starting to become overwhelmed.

Now, your customers are contacting your business with questions or need service.

What do you do? Tell your customers you will get to them when you can? Not if you want to retain them. Consumers have higher expectations today than ever before. They expect to get friendly service quickly and through various channels, so you must be ready to deliver.

Personalized service is what consumers today crave. You must have service staff ready to provide the exceptional service your customers want. You want to be sure the reviews your customers write about your company online for thousands to see are positive.

One poor experience a customer has with your organization can taint your brand’s image, making it critical to go right every time.

A happy customer is also an excellent referral source as they will tell their friends and family about the positive experience with a brand. In essence, providing excellent customer service is a fantastic way to grow your business organically.

How The Holidays Impact Service Needs

The holidays are significant for seasonal businesses that gain additional customers to increase revenue during these times. Industries such as food and beverage vendors, venues, and suppliers significantly increase their revenue during the holidays.

The holidays are also a time when people do quite a bit of retail shopping. Retail stores run sales during the holidays to capture as many consumers as possible during this prime time. Retail sales are expected to rise, and the demands will be felt by retailers nationwide.

The increase of business during the holidays means an influx of service needs forcing employers to turn to temporary workers. Thousands of temporary jobs are created during the holidays to meet these demands.

Benefits Of Seasonal Employment

Without a doubt, seasonal employment has its benefits for a business. The greatest advantage of seasonal employment boils down to cost savings to improve your bottom line.

Some seasonal businesses are open year-round but bring in significantly more revenue during peak times, such as the holidays. Other seasonal businesses, such as ski resorts and summer camps, only operate during specific times of the year.

Either way, only paying for the volume of employees you need at the time just makes sense from a business standpoint.

Keeping the same volume of employees during slow times as peak seasons will sink your profits fast. The beauty of hiring a seasonal employee is that they take the job knowing it’s only temporary work, not permanent. The worker is generating some extra income and gaining experience while the business is getting some extra help for their regular employees during a chaotic time. It’s a win for everyone involved.

The other benefit of seasonal employment is that you have the help needed to satisfy your customers’ needs without sacrificing quality even when your sales have dramatically increased.

Best Practices For Seasonal Employment

The holidays are approaching, and you know from past years your business will get a spike in sales. You know you will need additional staffing to handle the increased workload, so you turn to seasonal employment.

Be Transparent When Hiring Seasonal Employees

When searching for seasonal employees, it’s essential to be transparent about the position's duration. Provide the candidates with the expected start and end date of the position.

If not, they could find out after you have spent time hiring, training, and onboarding the new hire, and decide to quit to find more permanent work. The unexpected loss of an employee may send your business scrambling to meet customer demands while hunting for a replacement.

Clearly Written Seasonal Employee Job Description

The job description for your seasonal position should be clear on what it all entails. You want to include all the duties and responsibilities that are required. A clearly written job description will save a ton of valuable time interviewing unqualified or unwilling candidates.

Start Seasonal Hiring Early

Finding quality workers for full-time positions is challenging but finding quality seasonal workers is even more difficult. Since many job seekers are looking for more permanent work, the pool of seasonal job seekers is limited.

You want to start your seasonal employee hunt well before you need them, as it will take time. If you wait too long to begin your search, you may find yourself getting your season off on the wrong foot by overwhelming your existing staff and underwhelming your customers.

Hire The Right Seasonal Employees

We can’t stress this enough, the individual you hire to represent your business must be great no matter how long their position lasts. Just one toxic employee can bring down morale, decrease efficiency, and slow production. Not to mention, they can damage your brand’s image.

The seasonal employees you hire must handle the job at hand and the volume of business the holiday will bring. Students and semi-retired individuals are often looking for seasonal work.

Whether you opt for a 17-year-old or a 57-year-old, ensure the new hire has the right attitude, work ethic, and skills to get the job done effectively. Your customers want excellent service no matter the season, so ensure you hire staff that will deliver. Be sure to express the importance of excellent customer service and your expectations.

Proper Employee Training Is Necessary

Since seasonal employment isn’t permanent, you don’t have a lot of time to train. However, you must allocate the proper time to train your short-term hires to set them up for a successful integration into their position.

For example, if you hire additional temporary customer service agents to handle the increase of inquiries during the holiday season, you must train them on how to service your customers. Don’t assume they know how to provide top-notch service or how to handle an upset customer.

Spending the time to train your new hires properly will save you a lot of valuable hours while you’re in your busy season. When employees know how to handle all aspects of their job duties, they provide better service to your customers to satisfy their needs quickly.

Properly trained employees also save you from constantly being pulled away to answer questions and train when you are your busiest.

Keep It Fun And Rewarding

Whoever said work has to be all serious and no fun was wrong. Work should be serious enough to get the job done but could still be light and fun. When employees enjoy what they do, it shows through their work.

Seasonal employees are not around for the long haul, but they should still feel appreciated, valued, and part of the team. Acknowledging and rewarding permanent and seasonal employees for a job well done does wonders for the company culture.

Happy employees that feel appreciated are typically dedicated to the company’s success, so they provide better customer service and increase production.

Satisfied employees also encourage others to do their best and motivate the team to increase production and improve efficiency.

Give An Exit Interview

It’s no surprise to a seasonal hire when it’s time to say goodbye and their position has ended. It’s best to give your seasonal employees the same exit interview as you would a permanent employee.

The exit interview is a great time to ensure human resources has updated contact info for tax reasons and to call to work for your next season. The interview is also an excellent time to get answers to questions you may be wondering, like how satisfied your employees are working for your company.

Here are common questions asked in an exit interview:

  • What did you enjoy most about your job here?
  • Do you feel you were given the proper training and tools to do your job effectively?
  • Did you feel valued and appreciated working here?
  • What did you dislike most about your job?
  • Is there anything you think we should change or could do better at?
  • Would you accept a job offer from this company again?
  • Would you refer a friend or family member to work here? Why or why not?
  • Did you feel comfortable talking to your manager about issues?

Gaining this feedback is essential to understanding your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to employee happiness. Fine-tuning your processes and making the necessary changes to attain total employee satisfaction is vital for long-term growth.

Seasonal Employment Don’ts:

Here’s what to avoid and what not to sacrifice for seasonal employment.

Don’t Compromise Your Brand Image

Your brand image is how your company is viewed in the eyes of consumers. It’s how consumers feel about your company. Even though your business is busy during these holiday seasons, you want to be sure to avoid cutting corners or doing anything that will taint your brand’s image.

Don’t Adjust Your Company Culture

Your company culture includes the attitudes and behaviors of the staff. While seasonal employees are not working for your organization long-term, it’s still essential they fit in with your culture. After all, your culture determines the way your team works together and how they interact with customers.

Don’t Hurt Your Company’s Future

You never want to sacrifice the success of your business long-term with seasonal employment. While it may be challenging to find seasonal workers that are a good fit and capable of handling the job successfully, you don’t want to settle with unfit employees.

Don’t Compromise On Hiring Requirements

You never want to sacrifice quality for seasonal employment. Your customers have expectations and expect your business to deliver no matter what. While they may understand your business is extra busy due to the holidays, they expect the same quality of products and services provided.

You don’t want to lose a loyal customer by not meeting their expectations due to a seasonal employee. Quality control is necessary to ensure your employees are consistently delivering excellence.

Holiday Customer Service

For many companies, there’s a ton of competition. Limited product features make it challenging to stand out.

How you make your customers feel matters a lot in the eyes of a consumer. Excellent customer service leaves a consumer feeling satisfied and great about their purchase.

Measuring your customer’s experience is an excellent way to gain the valuable feedback you need to know how your service is performing.

Seasonal Employment Laws And Regulations

Seasonal employees are employed with a company for a short time, but the labor laws and regulations are the same as full-time workers. Seasonal employees are required to comply with the same tax withholdings rule and receive overtime pay just as they would if working permanently.

Seasonal employment falls under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which requires employers to pay the federal minimum wage and abide by federal child labor regulations.

When hiring students for your seasonal positions, be sure to check the regulations in your state and understand the specific rules of youth employment.

To Sum It Up

Seasonal employment is the solution to many companies' labor problems during the holidays. A temporary worker allows a company to only pay for the support when needed, saving them a lot of money on payroll to improve their bottom line.

With the increase of sales naturally comes a growth in customer service needs. Be sure your customer service team is friendly and ready to provide your clients with the personalized first-class service they expect.

While quality seasonal employees are difficult to find, don’t settle as the success of your business is on the line. Start your seasonal employment search early and be clear about the job description to vet out unqualified individuals and build your outstanding team before your season begins.

Are you looking for seasonal employees to help your business provide excellent customer service, especially during peak times?

Contact Awesome CX today for more customer service tips and information.


Holiday employment in retail trade: Beyond the Numbers | US Bureau of Labor Statistics

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