4 Tips for Hiring Holiday Workers
The holiday season is known for being a time to celebrate, but it is also the busiest part of the year for many businesses. This spike in business is fueled by individuals traveling to reunite with family and friends, purchasing festive gifts, indulging in celebratory meals, and purchasing seasonal products. For many enterprises, this time of year presents a significant surge in demand.
To successfully navigate this annual crescendo in activity, businesses frequently employ temporary "seasonal" staff during the holidays. These seasonal employees typically serve roles from September through December, fulfilling essential yet often more straightforward tasks. Whether it's working as material handlers, assisting in shipping and receiving, or managing luggage and cargo, their contributions prove vital in maintaining smooth operations during this bustling period.
Their temporary nature, however, does not diminish their importance in helping businesses meet the increased demand and ensure customer satisfaction during the holiday frenzy.
We spoke with Account Manager David Grange who has extensive experience in helping employers find the seasonal workers they need. He explains the critical role of holiday workers and provided insights into why and how your business might consider engaging such seasonal staff.
What Industries Employ Seasonal Workers?
Searching for seasonal workers is a widespread practice, spanning nearly every industry. Seasonal hiring isn’t always synonymous with end-of-the-year or holiday hiring. Furthermore, some companies may need to conduct seasonal hiring campaigns multiple times a year.
“Seasonal hiring usually begins during the spring to the end of summer and over the Christmas holiday period. This can vary depending on the industry or a company’s peak seasons but this would be the general time frame for most industries and companies,” says Grange.
While consumers are most likely to encounter seasonal workers in the retail and travel sectors, their presence is not limited to these front-facing roles. In fact, industries such as distribution, logistics, manufacturing, and aviation also substantially benefit from the addition of temporary staff to address seasonal demand.
In the context of manufacturing, it operates synergistically with logistics and distribution. The effectiveness of a business during the holiday rush hinges on its ability to produce enough goods to satisfy demand and subsequently distribute those products to retailers and customers. Consequently, companies often bolster their manufacturing and shipping departments with extra personnel, ensuring that production keeps pace with demand. Similarly, logistics firms may augment their workforce with additional drivers and movers to facilitate the timely delivery of goods.
The aviation industry, too, plays a pivotal role during the holiday season. Its significance transcends merely enabling individuals to visit friends and family — it also serves as a vital cog in the logistical machine that transports goods across distances. With an uptick in both passenger and cargo flights, the aviation industry tends to seek more personnel across various sectors, including flight attendants, baggage handlers, ramp agents and line service technicians. This expansion in workforce capacity ensures that the industry can meet the unique demands of the holiday period, contributing to both the joy of personal reunions and the efficient flow of commerce.
Why Hire Seasonal Workers?
Grange highlights several reasons employers should consider hiring seasonal workers.
Seasonal Workers are Temporary
Hiring a seasonal worker isn’t usually a long-term relationship and this can present significant benefits for employers and employees.
“They are a temporary addition to the team so will not impact production or infringe on permanent employee’s workloads during slower periods,” says Grange.
Seasonal Workers Understand Their Role
Most seasonal employees know they’re only there for a brief time and are okay with it. They’re looking to pick up some shifts to have money for the holidays or to be productive on their time off.
“Seasonal workers understand their role. The job usually works best for their schedule and will give full effort knowing that they are needed for a shorter period,” says Grange.
Seasonal Workers are Helpful
That’s the bottom line. Companies hire seasonal workers because they’re helpful. Whether it’s an extra set of hands to package deliveries, or to help load up delivery trucks, or load luggage on airplanes, every little bit is very useful when companies are handling increased volumes of consumers. And more satisfied customers may translate to more business in the following year.
Grange goes on to add, that seasonal workers can be a benefit beyond their original assignment duration.
“These workers can become repeat employees for future seasonal opportunities if they enjoy the job, are treated right, and are compensated competitively. They can also help identify areas of weakness or strengths as they have not been tied to this work for an extended period. Their fresh eyes can provide a new perspective. Finally, they can be a cheaper option for employment costs as opposed to hiring more full-time employee,” says Grange.
4 Tips for Attracting and Hiring Seasonal Workers
Now that we’ve covered the importance and benefits of seasonal workers, here are our four tips to help you attract and bring aboard new hires for your next surge.
Start EarlyRemember that seasonal spikes in business likely impact your competitors and other industries. When business picks up, they’ll all be looking for extra help. That’s why we suggest you get ahead of the competition and start recruiting as soon as you anticipate the business demand. You’ll likely have a better pick of employees and will avoid the last-minute scramble of onboarding and training season employees in the middle of a busy period.
Market Towards People Most Likely to Be Interested in Seasonal WorkSeasonal employees know that they’re going to be working mostly entry-level jobs, and that they’ll need to find a new job in the near future. So, you’ll need to think about who will be most interested in a job like that. You might want to consider populations like retired folk, college students at home during the break or simply those looking to pick up an extra paycheck during the holiday season.
They’ll be the ones with the most availability over the holidays, and more than a few will likely be interested in making an extra dollar for the season. Tune your job search to target those demographics because unlike people with full-time jobs, these populations will yield better prospects as potential employees.
Retain Your Existing EmployeesEven if you decide to hire additional employees to keep pace with the demand, you’ll still need to keep your current employees aboard. They’ll be the ones handling the more complicated tasks and be responsible for training employees you bring aboard. Be sure to keep them in mind — offer bonuses if you can, keep communications open and listen to their feedback. Because without the current and core employees, your business wouldn’t be equipped for the seasonal rush.
Streamline the Hiring ProcessYou might be hiring multiple people for the season. It’ll save everyone time if you can take advantage of technology to sort through applications more easily. Use social media and job boards to get your job advertisement noticed more quickly, and remote interviews to meet candidates more efficiently. The quicker and more effective your hiring process is, the more quickly you can get workers trained and out on the floor to help.
For employers at the early stages of bringing on seasonal workers, Grange offers some final advice.
“Start brainstorming early on what the total head count needed to meet productions goals. Outline the WIFM (What’s In It For Me) and figure out what additional value your company provides outside of a paycheck. What characteristics, traits, behaviors, or intangible things does your company provide that would make a temporary employee return season after season or possibly want to convert to a full-time employee. It’s all about culture. The less stress a temporary employee can encounter is the more satisfied they will become,” says Grange.
Seasonal employees play a vital role in how many employers reach their goals. If your company needs help with an upcoming seasonal hiring campaign, contact Aerotek.