I’ve been on a blog hiatus for awhile. I’ll explain why later, along with some changes I plan to make. But I’ve been juggling while I’ve been gone. Business coaching projects, with keeping a commitment I made, and an intense speaking schedule added to the mix.
The speaking part has allowed me to present at multiple conferences. And since much of my audiences included business owners and managers of seasonal businesses, I thought it might help if I answered a common question.
[pullquote]How do I find the best employees when I only need them for part of the year?[/pullquote]
Here’s what my research coupled with personal experience, have taught me about hiring the cream of the crop, when you can’t afford to pay them year-round.
1. Don’t put it off. Start early, and get commitments when you can. I suggest starting the hunt at least four months in advance. There are people who like the diversity of working different kinds of jobs during different times of year. For instance, tax season is a perfect contrast to summer recreation businesses. Temporary jobs for the holiday season like retail, parcel delivery, and warehouse shipping are other polar opposite positions between winter and summer. Bored easily, they thrive under pressure, and in fast climates.
But the best of these folks line up new jobs early. So target them on places like Craigslist, placement agencies like Kelly Services, your state jobs program like the Missouri Career Center for my home state, job fairs, social media job hunting groups, along with colleges and high schools, by placing a profile of your company, and the kinds of positions you’ll want to fill, and when.
2. Tell everyone you see. We never know who might know someone who knows someone, who might fit well in your organization during your peak season.
3. Make personality assessments part of your job-fit analysis. I’m a huge believer that you can set a good person up to fail if you place them in the wrong position. In most states it’s illegal to use personality as a reason for not hiring someone, but the wise employer uses them as one of the components for placing the right person in the right job. It can save you oodles of time, energy, resources, money, and even customers. (If you want more information on this, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
4. Hire them earlier than you think necessary. The throw them in the water to determine if they’ll sink or swim training process is a near guaranteed fail. Do not set the new employee, yourself, and especially your customers up by tossing a new hire into the mix without sufficient time for them to grow confidence, and get trained. Well. (Besides, if it turns out they aren’t a good fit for your company, you get to find out sooner, rather than when you’re stressed to the max in your peak period.)
5. Don’t skimp on training. Studies have proven it will actually cost you money if you expect new hires to get your processes by osmosis, or a few barked orders thrown over your shoulder. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see employers make. Trying to save money by short-cutting training. You can’t get mad, or blame someone for not knowing what they don’t know. And as a leader, it’s your responsiblity to ensure they know how to do things the way you want them done.
6. Ask your best employees for referrals. Like flocks to like, and we become most like the people we spend the most time around. So if you ask your current star employees if they have any friends with similar work ethics, you’ll probably be surprised at the opportunities within your grasp. My best hiring successes have come through asking my best for recommendations. Remember, they have a lot riding on referring well — their own reputation is at risk.
7. Offer sign-on and full season bonuses. My partner at the Zenith Zone, offers a $100.00 sign-on bonus for return employees who he’d like to have back, as well as a Ben Franklin for those who start before his formal opening weekend, and stay to the end of his peak season. If for any reason they part ways during his season, the hundred bucks is off the table.
I helped another resort owner create a tiered bonus program. Giving more control to base reward on job performance merit. For those who work his full season, at the end, he multiplies anywhere from five cents per hour to a dollar an hour for every one worked in season, depending on how they performed in areas of productivity, attitude, and reliability. This provides incentive for employees to do better work, show up on time and work full shifts, and be there for the duration they are needed.
8. Do your own homework. I’m a proponent of turning things upside down to get fresh ideas. So if I wanted to know how to attract great seasonal or temporary employees, I’d Google terms such as, why you should take a temporary job. You’ll get all kinds of good ideas for ways to speak a language your target group will understand. Here’s an example of a good one I found on money.usnews.com.
9. Treat your employees well. A solid reputation as an employer who gives respect, encourages growth, and who acts with integrity will make many want to work for you. We get what we give is one of my favorite sayings. But it also puts you in the power position of having more good applicants to choose from. A good reputation is more precious than gold, so ask yourself, “Based on my behavior, would I want to work for me?”
10. Create reward systems that work. I won’t re-write what I’ve written on before, so here are three past posts on employee reward systems. They work, if you do them right. You can always email me if you have more questions. Employee Rewards that Work. Rewards that Work on the Job and at Home. Rewards that Work.
Like everything else in life, the success formula for hiring well, permanently or temporarily, is: One part planning, one part preparing, (yes, they are different things), one part doing, one part faith, all encompassed in a whole sum of consistency. Here’s to a good season.
What’s your success secret for hiring great employees?
Anita Fresh Faith
Proverbs 19:22 (NLT)
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business and Inspirational Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Expert, Certified Training Facilitator, Communications Specialist, and national speaker. Anita is also the author of, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market. Now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Lifeway, Christianbook.com, select Walmart’s, plus many fine stores, Christian and otherwise.
She’s a partner in The Zenith Zone, a business coaching firm. Member of the Christian Writer’s Guild, Toastmasters, and a client of WordServe Literary Group. A graduate of CLASSeminars for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries.
Anita is passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith. Her favorite past time is lounging by a river or lake in Missouri, laughing with with her husband of thirty years, Ricky.