Four pairs of flip flops in a row on beach

4 Ways to Attract Inspired Seasonal Staff This Summer

Summer can be a double-edged sword for small businesses. On the one hand, it’s the season of abundance: vacations and enjoyment reign supreme, so if you run a restaurant or bar, you’ll be seeing a surge in numbers. But that busyness also brings its hellish moments, like when you don’t have enough workers on the floor to please all your diners, and your customer service declines.

Seasonal workers are the balm for many businesses during busy months—but I encourage you to approach the hiring of seasonal staff in a truly long-term way. Begin by getting up to speed on all the legal issues surrounding seasonal hires, then launch forth early, with a strategic, digital-savvy strategy.

Here are four key steps to hiring the gems out there:

Rehire last year’s standout stars

It’s obvious, but you’d be amazed at how often this is overlooked. Reach out to your inspired seasonal workers from last year and re-engage with them. Offer them a higher wage to return—and enjoy all the business advantages of hiring someone who already knows the lay of the land. They’ll bring value in knowing your workflows and clientele, and you’ll save significantly on training costs. As they prepare to leave at the end of the season, plant the idea in their minds to return next year. Then, through the year, nurture your extended community. Build a special email newsletter to re-engage with them with news and occasional events, perhaps inviting them to a holiday gathering; keep them feeling like they’re part of the family.

Start early

If you’re targeting younger recruits, high school or college students, you’re going to want to recruit the most organized, forward-thinking characters out there. So it goes without saying, that you need to act fast. Promote your openings a month or two before the high season hits. Foster good relationships with nearby schools and universities. Hang up a poster—and get on their social media networks (more on that below). Not only will this bring you the more organized workers, it’ll also allow you to train them early. If you’re bringing on board a large cohort of newbies all at once, think about organizing a big training day for everyone to onboard at once.

Embrace social media

As we all know, the new generation spends an inordinate amount of time on phones, and they are using apps like never before. According to the 2016 U.S. Mobile App Report, 87% of those over the age of 18 years spend the majority of their time online on their phones in apps. Only 13% spend spend most of their time on the Web itself. What does this mean? Social media accounts are drawing a huge amount of their time and attention, so if you’re looking to attract millennials, you’ll need to make sure your job ad is appearing on social sites like Facebook. While you’re at it, how does your website look? Is it mobile-friendly? If not, you could be losing potential hires at the mere flick of a thumb.

Create a referral program

Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth in all areas of your life. Would a referral program tap into a source of perfect, seasonal workers? If someone who currently works for you recommends the right talent (and that employee then stays for the required amount of time) consider offering the referrer a reward. It doesn’t need to be a cash payout, but perhaps it could be an extra day off. Bringing in someone loyal who fits perfectly into your work culture will reap tremendous benefits.

A key to hiring the right talent lies in seeing these people not just as temporary staff, but as a special cohort of seasonal workers, who help you ride out the busy waves–so treat them as an essential part of the company. By appearing in the digital news feeds where they’re looking for work, then building long-term relationships with them, you’ll tap into all the talent you need.

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