5 Ways to Engage Seasonal Employees

‘Tis the season of temporary hires and extra store hours. Shoppers are thrilled to be able to shop in-store after two years of a pandemic, but the current climate across the United States has some store owners concerned: Employment is down, the Great Resignation is upon us, and you have hours to fill to keep customers happy during the holiday season. So what do you do? How do you motivate seasonal employees and keep them engaged until the New Year? We’ve got a few ideas in mind to do just that.

  • Create A Sense Of Community.

When you hire a seasonal worker, the entire process is transactional. In exchange for various duties, including folding, stocking shelves, sorting, and customer engagement, your temporary hires collect a paycheck that helps them make ends meet or buy some extra presents over the holiday season. It’s a win-win, right? Well, it can be if you find the perfect employee, but the reality is that it can also be limiting. 

If you’re looking to really motivate your seasonal hire, don’t just teach them the tasks you want them to do, teach them about your staff, your brand, your customers. Teach them about what made you start working at this store, and most of all, teach them about the good they’re doing as a representative of your brand. 

Whether you have two employees or thirty on the schedule, you have a small community of people all working to the same goal. Don’t be afraid to celebrate that by making sure even the most part-time workers feel a connection every time they walk in the door.

  • Pay A Fair Seasonal Wage.

We mentioned the Great Resignation, and there’s good reason for it. While not every industry is seeing the effects of it, people can’t make ends meet on minimum wage. Because of this, workers are resigning from their jobs or not picking up new ones. Stores are struggling to staff an appropriate number of people, and they’re being forced to close early or not open at all. 

Your bottom line is important, and we’re not suggesting you don’t make a profit this holiday season, but paying the right people a fair wage is better than paying a handful of people minimum wage. Evaluate what gets potential hires excited and start near that hourly wage. Happy employees will talk with their friends and family, and with a fair wage, it should be much easier for you to hire additional staff when you’re ready.

  • Communicate That Jobs Are Available After The Holiday Season.

For many businesses right now, staff aren’t just needed for the season, they’re needed for whole year. When you hire, ensure that your seasonal workers know you have shifts available in the new year. You can communicate this through conversation, posters in the breakroom, or notes at the register. Have a star employee? Send them a card in the mail. Make sure that you communicate your need, and that you’re willing to shuffle schedules to make the right seasonal workers full-time and permanent.

While not every worker will jump at the opportunity (especially if they have a full-time job and this is just a side gig for them), many workers will see this as an opportunity to prove themselves. Now, not only do you have the chance to hire a talented staff member, you also can see an increase in productivity as they prove themselves to be worth the full-time position.

  • Reward Great Work. 

There are very few people that make it to owning a business that haven’t spent time in the proverbial trenches. We know what it’s like to work for a bad boss. We know what it’s like to work thanklessly. So in short, don’t be that boss. Reward employees that are working hard, filling in shifts, or staying late and coming in early. This could be something as simple as purchasing coffee for a morning shift or a late lunch for the afternoon shift. And it could be as big as a gift card or a choice of gifts within a certain price range.

In addition to gifts, it’s important to make sure you say “thank you.” Recognizing hard work can sometimes feel just as important as receiving a monetary or gift reward of some kind. And it takes very, very little effort.

One note on gifts: Gifting store credit can be an awesome way to reward your employees without breaking your own bank, but make sure that the employees can use what’s in your store. It’s great to give store credit to someone and just assume they’ll use it to by a gift for a loved one instead of themselves, but it doesn’t really feel like a reward for all their hard work. Be intentional about your rewards.

  • Stay Flexible.

Want to really keep employees engaged? Stay flexible. Shift schedules are a pain to do, and when someone has to change a shift for a doctor’s appointment or a holiday gig, it can feel really frustrating. Creating work/life balance, though, can be the difference between a seasonal employee that goes full-time and a great hire that looks elsewhere. People have lives, sh*t happens, and it’s important to be flexible the best you can without detriment to your business to keep employees engaged and motivated.

Are you a business owner looking to engage and retain seasonal hires?

Download these thank you cards to print and share with your best hires.


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