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Tips on how to keep your seasonal employees coming back


Tips on how to keep your seasonal employees coming backAs a seasonal employer, you know how difficult it can be to find qualified, committed, and motivated employees who will work for a short period of time (winter or summer season). Imagine being able to keep the stars of your organization coming back year after year.

Here are some strategies on holding on to your most valuable seasonal staff:

Ask your employees
At the end of the season, specifically ask your employees whether they would come back; if they say no, ask them why. You may want to conduct a formal exit interview to see if you can gather intelligence about what you might do to increase the number of employees returning.
Keep in touch with your staff in the off-season
Keep an updated list of your seasonal employees and make them feel like part of the team year-round by keeping in touch with them during the off-season. Send them a note, a company newsletter or holiday greetings, and encourage them to keep you informed of their whereabouts. Don’t just contact last year’s employees; maybe there are some who would be willing to come back from a season or two ago.

Identify opposite seasonal businesses as recruiting sources
If their region presents the opportunity, some employers are doing summer/winter employee exchanges. Cross-training employees to do different tasks is well worth the investment if they can be employed year round by two or more employers. Help your community plan and grow more tourism businesses. (Also, share your success stories with go2, so we can spread the word about your effective procedures.)

Provide tangible incentives to return
Pay a higher salary, provide a returning bonus, create a loyalty program that gives incentives that increase each year an employee returns.

Surpass the appeal of your competitors
Yes, you have competitors for your seasonal employees. Use your business and product marketing savvy to brand yourself as an employer who is able to keep employees coming back, just as you do to get your customers to keep coming back. Employer branding is in.

Would you like to work for you?
Take an honest look at what you are like as an employer, and consider ways in which you can be a better leader, manager, mentor and coach. Create a positive culture at your business. Strive to become an employer of choice. Communicate well with your employees and let them have fun.

Value your employees like customers
Leading-edge companies believe that well-treated, well-respected, engaged employees will provide a much higher quality of service to your customers.

Provide as much training as you can
Someone once asked, “What if I train them and they leave?” Consider this: What if you don’t train them and they stay? Treat your employees as if you expect them to stay, not as if you expect them to leave.

Be flexible and accommodating
Can you offer flexibility in working conditions, such as hours of work, variety of tasks, breaks in monotony, etc., to mitigate some of the more mundane aspects of seasonal jobs? Can high-potential employees be offered more responsibilities?

Aim for a work-family balance
Consider the needs of your employees’ family life and how important it is for employees to have an employer who values a work-family balance. Can you provide employment for spouses? Can you assist spouses in finding employment? Can you assist your employees in finding child care, housing, transportation? Can you help your employee establish roots in your community to give them more incentive to stay?

Consider alternate sources of employees
There are many talent pools that are not tapped into as much as they could be. For example, consider looking at workers who are only interested in seasonal or part-time work, such as older workers or early retirees who would be attracted to working part of the year or part-time. Consider hiring Aboriginal Peoples, new immigrants, visible minorities, and people with disabilities. Find out about social and job placement programs that help people get off income assistance or EI. Think of hiring at-risk youth. Consider foreign-trained employees. Consider women for jobs traditionally perceived as “men’s” jobs, and vice versa.

Contact school and agencies
Consider co-op placements, work experience for career prep programs, summer employment for college and university students. Register your job vacancies with the educators and promote your employer brand.

Copyright © 2008 go2 Tourism HR Society. All Rights Reserved. Republished under license.

Related to employee retention
•    Temporary employees – maximizing the productivity of your temps
•    Employee retention ideas
•    Boosting employee morale
•    Recruitment strategies: try recruiting non-traditional employees



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