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7 Ways to Motivate Your Seasonal Staff

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Sleigh bells are ringing, snow is glistening, and the holidays are upon us once again. It’s time to prepare for the flood of customers rushing through your front door who will fight over the last flat screen TV or get frustrated at how long they have to wait for food in your packed restaurant.

By now you have probably hired your seasonal employees and hopefully prepped them for the horrors that come along with the holiday season, but what’s next? Hiring seasonal employees is not something to take lightly. If you hire the wrong people you can lose business, or if you hire the right people and treat them the wrong way, you can decrease employee morale which affects overall productivity.

You’ll want to focus on motivating seasonal employees just as much as permanent employees. Believe me, you will see a difference in your bottom line if you do. Interestingly enough, engaging seasonal employees is almost identical to engaging regular employees.

So here are some tips for you to keep your seasonal staff motivated:

1. Treat them right. Seasonal employees should never be viewed as a means to an end or a short-term fix. If you want them to engage they need to feel that the organization cares about them. They should also understand their positive impact on your business. Simply put, if you don’t care about them, they won’t care about your business.

2. Train them. Set aside a day for orientation and training so that employees are comfortable doing the job. Also have an open-door policy, so seasonal employees feel comfortable asking questions and seeking help. If they don’t know what they are doing and feel that there is no one to help them figure it out, they can hurt your business with mistakes.

3. Be an employer of choice. We all know companies like Google are doing something right. While they don’t hire seasonal employees, they are a great example of an organization with a killer brand. In the past 11 years, they have been number one on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For eight times, and because of that they attract and retain some of the top talent in the country.

Attracting the best pool of candidates can only benefit your organization, so focus on your employer brand. Seasonal employees are temporary, what they say online about you is forever.

4. Offer incentives. There are many, many ways that you can incentivize employees to perform well. Contests, for example, are a great way to motivate employees whether the goal is to have the best customer service record or highest sales.

Try announcing a contest at the beginning of the day and at day’s end, award the winner (and do it publicly). The more fun you have with it the better!

5. Offer long-term job potential. Some of the employees you hire seasonally could be major assets in the future. Take the time to discuss future opportunities for the people you hire this season – trust me they want grow, it’s human nature.
Make it clear that you consider hiring people that exemplify the values of the organization and show potential in their work. Remember to emphasize your vision, mission, and core values from the beginning (Hint: it should be included in your training!).

6. Stay in contact. The fact is that you can’t keep every single employee you hire during the holiday season. Even though people will have to leave, keep in contact with them so you can recruit them for next year. If you bring in people who already know your processes and products, they will reach full productivity much faster next year.

7. Give them the gift that keeps on giving. In the end, it all comes down to one thing – culture. Whether you are working to engage long-term or short-term employees, without a positive work environment nobody will thrive and neither will your business. It is important to sustain a culture where employees feel connected to the work they do, even if it’s just for the holidays.



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Catherine Mattice Zundel

About Catherine Mattice Zundel

Catherine Mattice Zundel, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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