Seasonal Jobs: Cultivate Employee Engagement All Summer Long
By: Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Job burnout is especially high for summer hires brought in to work during peak business periods. All too often, seasonal hires for the summer quit mid-season, leaving business owners to sweat it out. You can reduce turnover by following some of these tips.
Make the experience valuable We’ve all been there. Some summer jobs are just that, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Today’s workers are looking to make a contribution to the cause of the organization. Begin by helping the employee connect the dots with a new hire orientation that can be simple yet effective. Clearly spell out your company’s mission and why it’s a great place to work. Let them know how your company is different, why you are in business and how their job and everyone else’s contributes to achieving this objective.
Consider the following -- a worker who believes his job is to clean the facility versus an employee who believes it’s his job to ensure customers have an exceptional experience. Or the clerk at the ice cream shop who scoops ice cream for a living versus the clerk who believes her job is to make people smile. Which of these employees do you believe will go the distance? Which will create the type of experience that will keep people returning to your business?
Assimilate summer hires before they arrive For many, a summer job is their first experience working in a structured environment. It can be scary walking into a place where friends no longer surround you. When possible, create an opportunity for your summer hire to meet with your other employees, before they begin their first day of work as part of creating a positive company culture. An invitation to a company barbeque or a training session, prior to their first official day of work, will do much to ease the anxiety of all involved.
Remind the rest of the staff that your summer hire is to be treated like other members of the team. This includes holding them accountable and providing them with the necessary resources they need to do their job well.
Check their temperature often It’s easy to forget to check in with your hourly workers when you are so busy handling the influx of business. Yet this is exactly what you must do in order to maintain employee engagement and morale. Make a note on your calendar to check in weekly or semi-weekly to see how they are doing. Ask them specifically what they need from you so they can best serve your customers.
Give them a break Summer jobs are usually intense. In small businesses, people are often required to work more hours than normally scheduled to handle the increase in business. Provide people with ample time to recharge their batteries. For example, if your summer hire is on the schedule until closing, don’t schedule them to begin their next workday at 7:00 AM. Remember too that family-friendly benefits (such as flex time) can be a win-win for you and your staff.
Acknowledge their contributions Summer hires allow small business owners to maximize their revenues, especially for those businesses that are cyclical. Be sure to acknowledge and thank your summer hires for their contributions.
A great way to do this is to offer them an opportunity to return to your business when they are available again to do so. Las Vegas, Nevada-based Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park. CEO Jeff Platt used this strategy to staff his seasonal hiring for the summer. Platt invites summer hires back year after year and continues to give them additional responsibilities. Eventually, many of these same hires return as full-time employees. They are fully trained and committed to helping achieve the mission of the organization. Many recommend the company to their relatives, who are next in line for summer jobs.
You know you’ve done an exceptional job of engaging summer hires when your customers are unable to ascertain who in your organization is a full-time hire and who is there only for the summer. This is a clear indication you have seamlessly integrated this valuable sector of the workforce into your organization.
Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions (www.yourhrexperts.com) and author of the highly acclaimed book Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta's monthly newsletter, HR Matters.