Managing your Seasonal Workforce

Anyone in business soon realises that in order to keep customers satisfied staff have to work flexibly to accommodate the unpredictable demands of their industry or sector. Planning for any foreseeable eventuality and even allowing for the odd unforeseen event is key, whether that’s recruiting or employing extra, temporary staff, responding to a sudden change in weather, or managing your customer’s expectations.

There has been a large rise in the employment of seasonal or temporary staff on fixed term contracts in recent years and this number increases year on year. For employees, the main benefit of seasonal work is the flexibility it offers. Many people choose to work season to season as it allows a varied lifestyle and the opportunity to explore other interests or pursuits when their current contract ends.

For Employers the advantage is the ability to use seasonal workers to maintain the best service or productivity possible while avoiding being overstaffed if things slacken off, as well as mitigating staffing problems caused by sickness, holiday, maternity leave, or even unexpected demand.

In order to effectively manage a seasonal workforce, employers need to be aware of best practice.

Whenever you employ seasonal staff, you must make sure you have a clear contract in place regarding the role on offer and remember to include all necessary conditions and stipulations. Individual employees must be made aware of the notice specifications.

Seasonal or fixed-term contract workers have the exact same working conditions and benefits as any permanent staff. They are entitled to the same working hours, pay, and holiday as full time staff. You should make certain that all employees, including fixed-term workers, are made aware of their rights and expected duties.

They should also receive information relevant to permanent vacancies in your organisation, and what happens in the case of redundancy.

When hiring temporary staff, select carefully from amongst the applicants, just as you would for a permanent position; make certain they have the skills and attributes you would require from a full-time member of staff.

It’s always best to interview candidates well in advance of your busy season, plan ahead. This gives you the opportunity to train them and allow you to make an assessment of the individual. You may regret leaving it until the last minute, and it could end up costing you more money, due to an unproductive workforce.