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Turn Seasonal Hires into All-Season Brand Ambassadors

Turn Seasonal Hires into All-Season Brand Ambassadors

By: Roberta Matuson 
During the summer and holidays, many companies overflow with seasonal hires , including interns and co-op students

Although their time with the company is short, a positive work experience can go a long way towards turning seasonal hires into all-season brand ambassadors. Here are some tips to get you started.

Build a Brandful Workforce
Many business owners and hiring managers often make a common mistake — they assume their seasonal hires have a clear understanding of the reason a company is in business. Unfortunately, that’s often not true.

In a poll, Gallup asked more than 3,000 randomly selected workers to assess their agreement with the statement, “I know what my company stands for and what makes our brand different from our competitors.” Surprisingly, only 41% of employees strongly agreed. This number is likely to be even lower for those who are hired on a seasonal basis.

How can you counteract this discrepancy? Take time during employee orientation to educate employees on your company’s purpose and your promise to customers, even if it seems obvious. 

Consider providing employee training on basic marketing principles to help employees better understand your brand. Employees who understand your brand and know how to deliver on your promise are more apt to promote it in a positive way and become season-long brand ambassadors. 

Treat Summer Hires as Regular Full-time Workers
Some companies treat seasonal help simply as hired hands. Not surprisingly, these hires often do just what is expected of them and little more. 

Conversely, there are companies that do a terrific job of assimilating their seasonal hires into their workforce and provide them with a truly memorable work experience. 

These companies rotate the job responsibilities of their seasonal hires so work doesn’t become mundane. They provide workers with opportunities to learn new skills and grow as individuals. 

The results are notable: engaged seasonal employees often return year-after-year and refer other like-minded seasonal workers as well. These workers share their excitement about the company with others, long after their seasonal employment ends.

Leave a Positive Lasting Impression
All work and no play isn’t good for anyone, particularly for seasonal and summer hires. Build engagement by hosting an off-site experience for your employees, such as a trip to a theme park or an Outward Bound adventure to strengthen team building and provide a unique experience. 

Give your seasonal workers good-looking company t-shirts. Employees will wear these t-shirts proudly that will build awareness about your company wherever they go.

Encourage Seasonal Employees to Sample Your Goods
We’ve all encountered seasonal hires who, when asked how a particular product works or tastes, respond by saying, “I have no idea.” 

Take a page from the playbook of Judith Herrell, owner of Herrell’s Ice Cream in Northampton, MA. Not only are Herrell’s employees encouraged to sample the ice cream (they can eat free ice cream all day), so are a couple of lucky designated “special friends.” 

According to Herrell, “Every month, employees can choose two people to be placed on the Special Friends list for a 30-day period. These people can be someone’s best friends, a family member or even a teacher who they feel is deserving.” 

She goes on to say, “The employee or their special friend pays $15 per person for this treat, which allows their designated people to come in once a day and order anything they want from our menu, up to a medium-size Sundae.”

Stay in Touch throughout the Year
Successful businesses make it a point to remain top-of-mind with your customers all year long. Taking the same approach with seasonal hires will help strengthen your relationships with workers and increase your company's brand awareness. 

Ice cream shop owner Herrell helps her crew when they are back in school. “If they are working on a project, like a school play, we support them by providing ice cream at the event or giving them gift certificates.” Her strategy must be working as Herrell’s has been going strong for 35 years. 

Here are some other ways to keep your seasonal workers engaged: 

-    Create a company Facebook page and encourage your summer hires to join. 
-    Invite seasonal hires to participate in company volunteer opportunities so they remain connected throughout the year. 
-    Send handwritten notes throughout the school year to remind employees you are thinking of them. 
-    During the holiday season, send some company swag, along with a holiday card, wishing them a joyous holiday. 

Every connection with your seasonal workers will help strengthen your relationship and increase their willingness to share their brand experience with everyone around them.

By giving your seasonal hires a great experience, they are likely to promote your company brand for years to come.