Summer is here, so we’ve explored ways to help seasonal businesses ensure the roster runs smoothly and efficiently. The holiday season is one of contrasts for business owners. Many sprint towards the finish of the year so they can flop down and relax. For others, this period of trading determines the year’s success. Either way, getting your seasonal staffing right can be a challenge!
Start early to reduce the stress
If you give yourself time to make careful decisions, and welcome new hires, you’ll be more likely to have a stable and productive team when things get really busy. If you’re struggling to get the right candidates, encourage referrals from your most responsible team members. In tight labour markets, some companies even offer a cash incentive.
Make training efficient
Seasonal staffing requires extra effort to ensure you keep consistency in quality and service. The more systems you can develop, the better you’ll be set up to get new staff up to speed. Business Mentors has useful resources that explore how you can put processes in place to help. Similarly, AI technology means it’s easier than ever to summarise knowledge and produce quick references for your team.
When you’re setting up your approach to staff training, a mentor can bring unrivalled insight into where to spend your time. They’ll have experience to offer and seen a range of approaches working – and not working. You can save time and effort by learning about both!
Streamline your onboarding process so that you can get stuff underway quickly. You should have employment contracts, tax forms, and safety plans ready to go. Assign experienced employees or managers to guide new hires during their first weeks.
You can bring resilience to your roster by cross training your team. If you ensure each person is exposed to other roles, it means they can step into any gaps if needed. It's also a great way to keep your employees engaged and prepared for a variety of tasks.
Reap the rewards of a good roster and system
Many businesses still operate their seasonal staff on a shared digital worksheet or even an old-fashioned calendar. However, these limit your ability to retain control, forecast and make easy, well-communicated changes. Moving to a more sophisticated roster system doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Many systems have this already included. Your mentor will have ideas as well.
The roster itself can play a game-changing role in how your busy season runs. Depending on your industry, some approaches may work better than others. For example, fixed shifts allow employees to work the same hours and days each week. This approach provides consistency but can be inflexible.
Rotating shifts give employees an opportunity to move through a schedule of different shifts (e.g., morning, afternoon, night). This can help distribute less desirable shifts fairly among staff.
Many employees may opt for flexitime where they can choose their shifts from those available and within certain guidelines. To keep you sane, this needs to be managed carefully with collaboration and without last minute changes.
Finally, considering a ‘four-day work week’ at quiet times may also be an option – meaning your staff benefit from lighter hours in quieter months.
Wrap it all up for a rewarding busy season!
Seasonal staffing means being honest about when the busy period will end. This doesn’t have to be a disadvantage for employees – or you. You’ll find students and others who are keen to earn without needing to make a long-term commitment. However, if you foster the right culture you may find you have loyal seasonal staff who want to come back year after year, and won’t require retraining.
Seasonal staff usually miss out on team building events, so it’s worth looking out for opportunities to bring them together. A ‘Secret Santa’, regular staff awards etc can be a low-cost way to do this. making them feel valued and part of the team. Ensuring that they are included in internal communications, such as newsletters or team updates, also helps in keeping them informed and engaged.
Business owners can find themselves under a lot of pressure as the year comes to a close. If your industry is one that ramps up over summer then give yourself the gift of peace of mind about your rostering and staffing. It doesn’t need to be something you battle through alone – a Business Mentor is ready to have your back, and they know from experience what you’re facing. You can find your match here.