Summer is in full swing, which for many business operators can mean that employing and managing a seasonal workforce is also in full swing. With unemployment at an all-time low and the competition for talent growing ever higher, being prepared for handling a shorter-term workforce is the key to success during busy times. Here are our five best tips for navigating the summer months - and preparing for the holiday rush! - with your team:
1. Ensure compliance - predictive scheduling, I-9 and W-4 forms Save yourself time and unnecessary headaches by making sure that all paperwork has been filled out and filed before any next steps are taken. Legislation like the Fair Labor Standards Act and Fair Workweek laws apply to both full-time and seasonal employees - and these laws can change depending on the state or city you’re in. Do your due diligence to ensure that you’re compliant with all local and state-wide legislation. Make sure your employees, seasonal or otherwise, are filling out both I-9 and W-4 forms, along with any forms specific to your state. Syed Restaurants, a Burger King franchisee, has used Crew to ensure compliance across their many locations - in their words,
"We’re ahead of the game because Crew gives us everything we need to demonstrate scheduling compliance.”
2. Keep records Even though your full benefits structure may not apply to seasonal employees, it’s vital that you keep an accurate record of the hours worked so that you can calculate the pay and benefits they are entitled to. As cited above in tip #1, you’ll want to make sure that you've stayed current on any laws in your state on when seasonal employees have earned time and a half pay (for example, in some states, work on Sundays and holidays qualify for this compensation). In many states, employees don’t qualify for full benefits until they’ve worked for six months, but you’ll need to keep your records up-to-date to either confirm or deny eligibility.
3. Don’t neglect training Any new hire additions to your front line will be immediately in front of your customers. Ensure that they are successful ambassadors for your brand by sufficiently preparing them. Invest in the same training you’d give to a regular employee - this is also a great opportunity to give regular employees more responsibility when it comes to training and overseeing new hires. While training will include seasonal offers, how to speak to customers and more, don’t forget to include information on safety training and processes for reporting any issues in the workplace. Sharing training policies, your employee handbook and more are easy with digital tools like Crew that make it easy to put all relevant information in your employees’ pockets with the touch of a button.
4. Company culture matters - make them feel like they’re part of the team While by definition, seasonal employees may only be a part of your workforce for a few months, don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s not worth treating them as you would a full-time employee. Make efforts to explain your company’s values and demonstrate your company culture. Making a distinction between “full-time” and “seasonal” employees will only build resentment and boundaries between your team. Give opportunities to take on new roles, learn new skills and participate in team-building activities. As we discussed with United PF during last month’s webinar on how to build a high-performing front line, emphasizing company culture leads to a stronger performance on the metrics that matter, including a 15% increase in productivity and a 30% increase in customer satisfaction.
5. Communicate performance metrics clearly Consistent, clear communication is important at any time while running a business, but especially when things are incredibly busy and your workforce is seasonal. Photogenic, Inc., a souvenir photography studio, uses Crew to keep their largely seasonal workforce on the same page when it comes to one of their key metrics, which they refer to as the “service score”. The service score tracks how much money the business makes from each customer on any given day. Leadership considers the improved team communications since rolling out Crew to be a key factor in driving their average service score up by 15%. They’ve also seen a rise in retention of seasonal employees year-over-year of 33%, giving them peace of mind as they go into each new busy season that they have a team they know and can trust.
The most important thing to remember as you prepare for the craziness of summer months or the holiday season with your seasonal workforce is that these are potential full-time employees that you can retain down the line. Take the time to invest in them and rely on the right processes so that they will invest back in you and the job performance they deliver.
What are your best tips for managing a seasonal workforce? Let us know on Twitter!