It can be difficult to find and retain quality employees, especially for seasonal positions. It can be even more difficult to keep a consistent level of employment when the majority of employees work around an academic calendar. A recent discussion among program managers provided some good tips and strategies for attracting and hiring employees.
- Use social media. Keep your Facebook page, Twitter account, and blog active and attractive.
- Don’t underestimate local contacts. Hiring quality seasonal staff isn’t something that should be a priority only a few months a year. Instead, throughout the year time should be spent networking with local schools, workforce centers, and job placement agencies. It is very helpful to have a direct contact within agencies and schools who will promote your available positions and who will be able to refer quality applicants directly to you.
- Use the training course as the first interview. The longer you spend with an employee candidate, the more you get to see his/her skills, and the easier it is to know if the candidate has the maturity and fit you are looking for.
- Ensure your wages are competitive. You get what you pay for.
- Provide incentives to continue working through the season. Seasonal work can be extremely challenging at the end of the season. The staff pool tends to thin out and managers are left to fill in for the missing employees. Gift cards and bonuses are popular incentives to encourage employees to stay for the entire season.
- Plant seeds through your workplace culture. Remember to encourage your staff and foster an enjoyable work environment. A positive work atmosphere is contagious and attracts positive employees.
- Think outside the box. Don't be afraid to hire someone outside the norm. A program manager noted that her facility has had great success with employing empty-nesters to teach swim lessons. These somewhat untraditional hires have been very reliable, enthusiastic, and flexible. Additionally, their schedules are not dependent on an academic schedule.
- Document what works and what doesn’t. Seasonal staffing can be extremely hectic and it is easy to forget from one season to the next what worked and what didn't. Keep record of your strengths and weaknesses in hiring so that they can be modified and improved in seasons to come.