Whether it’s for the summer holidays or the Christmas rush, employing seasonal staff is a convenient way to flex your staff resources at short notice. However, like permanent full-time or part-time employees, they will need careful managing – and this is where problems can occur.
From their work ethic to language difficulties, training problems or personality clashes, there’s plenty that can go wrong. The resulting negative workplace atmosphere can impact on productivity, customer service and revenue.
Here are 5 tips to nip any seasonal staff problems in the bud before they have a chance to become a major issue.
1. Treat everyone equally
It goes without saying that it’s never a good idea to play favourites, and this cuts both ways. Seasonal workers should be treated with the same respect as your regular staff. After all, they’re expected to hit the ground running, doing the same job but with less training and during your busiest business times.
While casuals need all the support you can give them to integrate into the team, you must be careful not to neglect or antagonise your regular staff. It’s a fine balancing act that affects rates of pay and available hours, staff rotas, overtime and time off, training and day-to-day management.
2. Expect high standards of work
When recruiting for extra casual staff, you should apply the same high standards as you would for hiring permanent staff. It’s tempting to let levels of discernment slide in an effort to get more hands on deck for a short period of time, but this would be a mistake.
Anyone working for you should be willing and able to represent your company and brand to the highest standards, particularly during your busiest and most stressful periods of operation. It could take you many months to repair the damage to your customer relations and brand reputation inflicted by a low quality temporary employee. It’s a risk you cannot afford to take.
On the upside, an outstanding holiday worker may return time and again, and could even become a permanent member of staff in times to come.
3. Provide proper training
Anyone who is new to your company needs training – simples. You may be recruiting holiday staff with prior experience in, say, waitressing, telesales or till work, but they will still need to understand how your company does things. There are rules and procedures to follow that vary from one employer to the next. Proper onboarding is key.
In addition to formal instructions, consider a system of ‘on the job’ training where new hires work with regular staff to learn the job. The mentoring mentality this creates is also useful for encouraging positive team dynamics.
4. Early effective intervention
It’s always dangerous to see a bad habit forming and letting it slide. Things have a habit to get worse rather than self-correct and problems at work can have a devastating effect on staff morale, productivity and customer service. Whether there’s a problem with someone’s time keeping or a member of staff is being bullied, you need to take action fast.
Speak to the affected staff member to find out whether there is a legitimate concern and address it, providing direction to the whole team if necessary. As a manager or business owner, it is up to you to lead by example, so do whatever is necessary to be a positive role model with all the attributes you wish your staff to emulate.
5. Cut your losses
Sometimes, problems can’t be fixed. If one of your casual staff members is always late for work, doesn’t seem to be following instructions, is rude to customers or simply isn’t a match for the job, you need to deal with the situation.
What’s more, one ‘bad apple’ can spoil the whole bunch, as the saying goes. If a problem employee is affecting staff morale, or one person’s lax attitude or bad habit spreads to other team members, it is far better to cut your losses and take the decision to let the ‘bad apple’ go.