Monday, December 5, 2011

Onboarding Strategies for Getting Seasonal Workers Up to Speed

Republished from Kyle Lagunas, HR Analyst at Software Advice
During peak periods - around the holidays, tax season or over the summer - it’s critical that businesses can easily manage the addition of temporary employees and quickly get them up to speed. And from recruiting and training to offboarding, seasonal employees can put your human resources software and processes to the test. Not only do you have to find and hire the right people, you have a very short time to train them and get them connected to your organization.

An effective, streamlined process for hiring and onboarding employees is essential to any organization’s success - especially those that rely on seasonal help. Here, I’ve outlined a few ways to go above and beyond your normal onboarding process to get seasonal employees geared up and ready to go.

Employee Integration: The Heart of Onboarding
According to Forbes Woman columnist and onboarding expert Emily Bennington, every employee in an organization should be integrated into the company on several levels - regardless of the length of employment. But because of the time constraints associated with onboarding seasonal workers, you’re going to need a concentrated game plan. How familiar with your products do they need to be to handle the register? Take a look at your existing onboarding process, and then adjust and condense it so you can achieve your optimal level of integration.

5 Key Factors of a Strong Seasonal Workforce
Some people may assume I’m focused on training when I say “onboarding,” but the fact is that the employee experience starts in the recruiting stage. With this in mind, here are a few key strategies to help you throughout every phase of the process:
Tailor your recruiting strategies. Your recruiting efforts should be tailored to meet the specific needs of a seasonal workforce. It’s important to make the details of the opportunity clear from the get-go. I would also be wary of how you communicate potential for further employment, as you don’t want folks making assumptions.
Perform due diligence. Don’t skimp on due diligence in collecting legal papers and monitoring employees’ schedules. “A lot of people short-circuit processes like verifying work eligibility or tracking hours correctly. It should go without saying, but you really need to be sure you’re following the law,” says John Rossheim, a senior contributing writer at
Provide proper training. According to Bennington, onboarding should focus on integrating new employees in three areas:
Technical Skills: To what depth of expertise do seasonal employees need to be trained to perform their jobs?
Company Culture: How thoroughly do seasonal hires need to understand company policies and values?
Social Integration: In what ways can you connect seasonal employees to your organization so they feel like they are part of the team?
Furthermore, Rossheim suggests designing your seasonal workforce “to accomplish the task at hand, rather than haphazardly training everyone to do everything they may possibly have to do. Specialize rather than throwing everyone into the same bucket.”
Know your capacity upfront. Whether you have a general human resources management system or a hodgepodge of spreadsheets and checklists - it’s important to know your capacity. Can your back-office system efficiently handle an increased volume in applicants and new hires?
Make them part of the team. Seasonal employees can easily feel isolated if an onboarding program doesn’t successfully connect them to the organization. According to Eddie Baeb of Target Corportate Communications, Target is focused on engaging seasonal employees and making them feel just as valued as anyone else from day one. With nearly 40 percent (about 35,800) of seasonal team members joining as permanent employees last year after the holidays, they’ve got this down.
Offboarding Offers an Opportunity for Improvement
You may have discovered a few star performers you’d like to bring onto your team permanently. For the rest, though, Bennington says “there’s definitely an opportunity to establish brand ambassadors.” Offboarding provides a chance to make a lasting positive impression, while gaining insight into the worker’s experience.
Standard offboarding practices include surveying workers on their experience. Bennington suggests going beyond surveying, and having one-on-one exit interviews with select employees to get more candid responses.
Kyle Lagunas is the HR Analyst at Software Advice. On the surface, it's his job to contribute to the ongoing conversation on all things HR. Beyond that, he makes sure his audience is keeping up with important trends and hot topics in the industry. Focused on offering a fresh take on points of interest in his market, he's not your typical HR guy.

No comments: