‘Tis the season to hire seasonal employees…or is it?
Seasonal employees are defined as employees who are hired into a position for which the customary annual employment is six months or less, and to which the period of employment begins each calendar year around the same time of year (such as summer or winter or the holidays), according to the Affordable Care Act.
According to the Deloitte Forecast, retailers can expect retail holiday says to increase by 4-4.5% this year. Therefore, retailers must prepare their teams NOW (if they haven’t done so already) for the demand ahead of the rush. With that in mind, today we’ll discuss the top three reasons employers should consider seasonal staff and how to get started.
Why hire seasonal employees?
Hiring more full-time employees to handle seasonal demands is not the most cost-effective way to do business, as you likely won’t have the same needs once the holiday season is over. Rather than continue paying for full-time employees post-holiday, hiring seasonal workers can alleviate the demand without breaking the bank.
During peak holiday periods, you can easily adjust the size of your workforce to meet your specific holiday needs with seasonal staff. Seasonal employees typically don’t have the same expectations as your full-time staff and are often willing and able to step in as your full-time staff asks for time off.
3. Higher morale
Ask anyone who has survived a downturn in the economy and they’ll tell you that just because a firm lays people off, does not mean that business demands change. The same can be said of a full-time staff during the holiday season. Less staff does not equal less business. If anything, less staff often means an increase in business. Unless seasonal employees are hired to meet those increased needs, full-time employees must take on the extra workload. If not managed well, the demands of the busy holiday season can lead to overworked and burnt-out employees. Seasonal employees can support your existing employees by taking on that extra workload and increase morale.
How to Hire Seasonal Employees
Now that you know the top reasons you should hire seasonal employees, let’s talk about the steps that you need to take before hiring.
1. Know the difference between a seasonal employee and seasonal worker, and classify them as such
We’ve already established that a seasonal employee is hired into a position for six months or less around the same part of the calendar year. These might include additional cashiers or floor staff hired between November and December to handle the holiday rush.
On the other hand, a seasonal worker is someone who is employed less than four months, or 120 days of work, during the calendar year. This might include rotating cashiers hired during the summer months (Memorial Day to Labor Day) for a hot dog stand.
It’s important to know the difference because if you misclassify a seasonal worker as a seasonal employee, you could end up paying significant penalties that can be easily avoided.
2. Ensure compliance for salary and insurance
Much like a full-time employee, seasonal employees are entitled to workers’ compensation, which means they are provided medical care and payments for temporary and permanent disability. As such, this means your company must comply with your state’s workers’ compensation laws as well as coverage of injuries occurring in the workplace if you employ seasonal staff.
Additionally, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), seasonal employees must be paid minimum wage, are subject to the same tax withholding rules that apply to full-time employees, and need to fill out a W-4 form as you (as the employer) should still withhold federal income tax calculated based on the personal and financial information provided by that employee. They must be paid minimum wage, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
While meeting these compliance regulations can be time consuming, the benefits of hiring seasonal employees still far out weighs the aggrevation of a little paperwork.
3. Use an Applicant Tracking System
Much like any potential employee would apply for a job online, seasonal employees should also apply for jobs online. Applicant tracking systems provide a way to automate your entire recruiting process from sorting job applications to sending automated and customized emails letting applicants know where they are in the process. An ATS can streamline the recruiting process, making your job of hiring seasonal staff much more efficient.
Our free online applicant tracking system (ATS) is an amazing system that can help you become more effective, productive, and streamlined, without having to worry about the day-to-day hassle of keeping track of your recruits on a never-ending spreadsheet.
You can access our recruiting software for free with a basic membership. Recruiteze is our free online applicant tracking system that allows candidates to directly apply and be added to your database immediately. End users can access candidate resumes online and make changes as necessary. This feature allows candidates and customers to easily access information and creates a level of professionalism.
We offer free 15 day trials of any of our other memberships and paid packages start at only $10 per month with unlimited support, users, and more. Contact us for more information.
4. Onboard and Train Seasonal Employees
Once seasonal employees are hired, you should have an onboarding plan in place to bring those employees up to speed as quickly as possible. Provide your management team with a checklist of what they must do with regard to new hire forms and orientation.
Equally, if not more important, is to train your seasonal employees with the expectation that they should perform at the same level as your full-time employees. Give seasonal employees the knowledge they need to do a job well.
When it comes to hiring seasonal employees, get a head start as you’re not going to be the only one looking for seasonal employees.