Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again. Holiday decorations are on display, retail businesses are beefing up frontline teams to prepare for the Black Friday rush (and all that follows), restaurants are booking holiday parties galore, and logistics companies are desperately seeking drivers. Supervisors are stressing over the nuts and bolts of how to manage their incoming seasonal workforce in the short term, but what about the prospect of retaining some of those workers for the long term?
Rather than just survive the winter holidays this year, managers in high turnover industries should take a moment to consider the opportunity this hiring season presents. By observing temporary employees during peak times, you can quickly identify the best-fit talent to recruit for summer or year-round positions (hopefully before your competitors do). But first, you’ll need to find, onboard, and engage seasonal staff, so they’ll be motivated to stay on.
How to engage seasonal workers
1. Train continuously and intentionally.
One of the first challenges of the holiday season is getting new folks hired and up to speed quickly. During this time, many businesses just offer a ‘quick-and-dirty’ training on an employee’s first day or week, and leave them to figure things out on their own from there. However, if you have a powerful communications tool (like the Crew app) in each worker’s pocket, you can offer continual opportunities for people to grow as brand ambassadors. Great managers regularly share quick tip videos, procedure reviews, safety practices, employee handbooks, task reminders, and seasonal promotion details in order to help both new and experienced staff constantly up their game.
2. Foster connections at all levels of the organization.
No one enjoys working at a company full of isolated silos, so it’s critical for staff to feel connected from day one. Offer easy ways to stay in touch with the broader team — from other new hires, experienced year-round workers, managers, peers at different locations, all the way to district leaders and corporate support staff. At Photogenic, a provider of photography services at more than 40 of the top tourist destinations across the United States, seasonal employees feel informed, connected and upbeat at work, which translates into greater satisfaction and 33% higher retention.
3. Demonstrate the greater meaning behind seasonal work.
The best way to do this is by communicating clearly and openly with your frontline. When you share specific goals with the team and publicly highlight work that contributes to the organization’s mission, you’ll drive awareness and discussion around why performance matters. Making a proactive effort to reinforce company culture and values — both in person and through digital communications — also helps all staff feel more aligned and committed to the organization’s purpose.
4. Model engagement to show you care.
No matter how busy things get, it’s important to find a few minutes each day to actively participate in team conversations. This will show front-line workers they can always get answers, share ideas, voice concerns, and enjoy the support of co-workers. You can use Crew as a channel to welcome new team members, celebrate birthdays, and even promote career development opportunities. For example, United PF, Planet Fitness’ largest franchisee, uses Crew to cultivate camaraderie and show each teammate they’re a critical piece of the puzzle.
5. Offer more hours and responsibilities.
Research has found that 83% of young workers would be more likely to stay in their current job if they had more control over their work schedules (something that’s especially tough during the holidays). Crew helps with this by giving you an easy way to keep up with employees’ availability, share schedules with everyone at one time, and post requests for shift covers or internal transfers. Primary Aim, a top Wendy’s franchisee, recently put out a call on Crew asking if anyone had referrals or were interested in moving up to assistant manager positions, and was thrilled to quickly promote six new managers.
Of course, these are just some initial ideas to get store managers thinking about employee engagement this holiday season. We’d love to hear about other communications strategies you use to help make temporary work meaningful for your teams. Share your stories with us on Twitter.