‘Tis the Season to Hire!

Whether you are in the market for part-time help in the evenings or on the weekends or starting to plan for increased staffing over the holidays, managing part-time and seasonal workers offers unique challenges. While these temporary additions to your staff can support you during busy or off-hours, they do not always integrate seamlessly with your full-time staff or organizational culture. Ranging from the high school or college student looking to earn a few bucks for gas money to the more seasoned worker looking to supplement income, these part-time and seasonal workers can take many forms. If your goal is to keep your workplace Happy for the Holidays, consider a few of these tips to avoid potential personnel problems.

Avoid WBS. What’s WBS you ask? Warm Body Syndrome. “But we just need a body! Hire anyone.” This is one of the most dangerous hiring philosophies known to mankind. We all know that one person can cause a lot of damage in a very short period of time. Hire for the same qualities as you would with a major hire. The added benefit – this person might just turn into a long-term hire somewhere down the road.

Structure and feedback does not equate to micro-managing. Many business owners and supervisors are accustomed to providing a long leash to our full-time, more senior employees. Most part-time and temporary workers need more structure, feedback, and instruction. Taking the time to train, provide support for and engage in regular check-ins will help prevent problems that require more of your time later.

They’re there to work … Don’t short change the time you spend setting expectations about workplace standards.  Every employee, long-term or seasonal, needs a good orientation overviewing the workplace standards everyone is held accountable to. And avoid the corollary of this tip by expecting people to walk in with “common sense.” We all know that there is no such thing. More and more, employers are reporting to MSEC that they are needing to communicate fundamental expectations (e.g. arrive on time, appropriate workplace communication, etc.) to many of their younger employees. This is not a criticism of the Millennials. For many Millennials, that part-time or seasonal job is their first employment experience. Clearly outlining job expectations will avoid headaches for everyone later.

…  and it’s not their full-time gig. Remember, this is a part-time or temporary job. While this does not negate the earlier advice of setting clear expectations and managing performance, for most, there is a shortterm goal associated with their employment. Many young employees fill their lives with diverse activities and time spent with family and friends. Many of those more seasoned workers are likely balancing family requirements and another job. Do what you can to manage a balance between the competing personal and business needs. Finally, try to keep everything equitable. Long-term employees can feel slighted, even angry, when seasonal hires receive more hours, or vice versa. Do what you can to send the message of “whether you’ve been here four days or four years, we are all in this together.” Make sure the same standards, expectations, support, and encouragement are being equally applied. Have questions? Call us at 800.884.1328.