If your company is experiencing a spike in workload or you’re operating with fewer full-time workers, bringing aboard seasonal employees is a smart solution. In fact, in a Robert Half survey, four in 10 senior managers cited the ability to scale teams as needed without affecting full-time staff as the primary benefit of using temporary or interim professionals.
Here’s a look at just a few situations when hiring seasonal employees can be particularly helpful to your business:
Turbulent tax season
If you work in accounting and finance and find yourself buried in piles of paperwork and looming deadlines, you’re probably deep into tax season. Businesses, both large and small, feel the pressure of tax season acutely.
During this busy time of year, your staff members often face the prospect of working long hours to keep pace with heavy workloads. Seasonal temporary workers and contractors can serve as invaluable reinforcements during tax season.
Also, many businesses in the United States are claiming deductions for expenses associated with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans received in 2020 — and they need assistance in navigating that process. Many also require experienced accountants who can help them apply for PPP loan forgiveness, which was made possible with the latest COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress in December 2020.
School is in session
Many schools have reopened, but educational institutions may still need temporary employees to provide reliable IT infrastructure and tech support for online instruction. The shift toward virtual learning programs has also increased the need for designers, developers and video production professionals. And busy human resources (HR) teams and admissions staff may need temporary administrative and customer service support.
Open enrollment periods
During open enrollment periods, employees throughout the United States sign up for health insurance plans and other benefit programs for the year ahead.
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, companies may be evaluating benefits and fielding questions from employees as they consider changes to their plans. Companies need to coordinate and communicate the policies, practices and procedures, all while making sure data-entry tasks and day-to-day operations aren’t neglected.
Many employees use their vacation time during the summer months, especially around holidays like Independence Day and Labor Day. When several staff members are out of the office at the same time and for an extended period, stress levels can rise for remaining employees who are tasked with keeping projects moving forward.
When you find yourself in need of extra staffing assistance, you need an effective strategy to find, hire and onboard seasonal employees quickly. Here are three critical steps:
1. Connect with a top staffing firm
A good relationship with a recruiter is essential to successful seasonal hiring. A specialized staffing agency like Robert Half knows the job candidate marketplace in your industry and city. We have a database of millions of job seekers, including many that you and other companies wouldn’t have access to on your own.
Moreover, it can be challenging to evaluate and hire a large number of people in a short amount of time when you and your team are already stretched thin.
A staffing agency can make this process much easier and help you identify and bring on board lots of seasonal employees at once. Whether you need on-site or remote workers, we can help — and fast.
2. Be ready to make an offer
Just as you would with a job candidate for a full-time position, assess potential seasonal employees based on the required skills and experience, performance expectations and work style. Conduct reference checks too.
But before you do all that, find out what range you should expect to pay. If a recruiter is helping you hire seasonal help, they can work with you so that you offer compensation that meets the market standard.
You also can consult resources such as Robert Half’s Salary Guides.
3. Set clear expectations with seasonal employees
Even with a seasonal contractor, you need to have a strong sense of the specific duties and responsibilities of the job you’re staffing. If you’re working with a staffing agency, inform the recruiter of the time frame and key expectations, and make sure they are communicated to job candidates during the interview.
It’s a worthwhile exercise to write a detailed job description before you bring the interim worker on board — and go over it on the first day. Then stick with it, avoiding the temptation to give the seasonal employee whatever random assignment needs doing. One of the advantages is that in the event the temporary position becomes full time, you’ll be able to accurately evaluate how well the person fulfilled the job. Seasonal employees often make great candidates for full-time positions.
Whether you’re burdened by tax season demands, time-consuming open enrollment periods or facing staffing gaps, a little preparation can go a long way. Apply the strategy outlined above to find the best seasonal employees who can provide extra support when there is a temporary increase in workload — and take the load off you and the rest of your staff.