5 Ways to Engage Seasonal Employees 

Seasonal employees are popular where the employment duration is six months or fewer, and where the time of employment begins each calendar year in almost the same season, such as summer or winter. Seasonal work is common in service industries such as retail and hospitality, where demand surges at certain times of the year.

Whether you need more cashiers, servers, or drivers during the summer months or the holidays, you will have to find ways to engage the seasonal workers. These workers are emotionally and genuinely involved with the employers and their roles are always more productive. You will find that they provide better customer service, get involved in a smaller number of accidents, and would be willing to return to your work the next year. Here are some ways to motivate and engage seasonal workers.

Proper Training

Many times, the seasonal workers are considered to be a necessity yet not worth investing in. Since these employees are employed for a short period, many employers might believe that they will not take the job seriously or that they lack the training needed for the job. It is expensive to hire, onboard, and train the employees and it is also time-consuming. So in applying this logic, the seasonal workers may not be on top of your list. However, if you train the seasonal workers, it means you have a highly-skilled workforce that will lead to greater customer satisfaction and service. Never overload them with info on their first day at work. It is counterproductive and results in undue stress. According to ELMO’s 2020 HR Industry Benchmark Report, which polled over 1,500 HR professionals in Australia and New Zealand, “too much information available” was a top problem for one-quarter of respondents. Training is critical for reducing workplace accidents as well. You can get help from existing employees for training and onboarding the new staff. Employees prefer to learn or train on the job 68 percent of the time.

Showing Appreciation

The seasonal employee might not be working for you long-term like your full-time workers, but that doesn’t mean they are not contributing to the bottom line. Take time to acknowledge their accomplishments and efforts personally. It is important to realise how this recognition, even if in a basic form, can have a really positive effect. Employee engagement rises when they are recognised and appreciated, which leads to a better company culture. You may remember something about them or call them by their names. If you recognise them as human beings and as people with feelings, thoughts, fears, and aspirations it allows you to make a connection to build respect and trust. You can even get them a gift card for a coffee shop or openly praise their efforts on public forums such as social media.

Choosing your seasonal workers

If you have to bring back seasonal workers during the next season never bring them all back. If you ignore performance and bring back everyone then you are telling the good employees who work hard that all their efforts are worthless. If anybody and everybody are getting a call back no one will be productive, engaged, and motivated for a great performance. You can get help from the best PEO services by outsourcing some of the work. Your seasonal worker must have a good work ethic. They must be willing to come back for a permanent spot in the organisation.

targets and career advancements

Employees are looking for ways to further their careers in 76 percent of cases. Enquire about the seasonal employee’s goals and work with them to make these goals happen. As you are encouraging greater employee retention, there is also an encouragement for a career path that works out for both of you. The seasonal employees may start as some of the members of staff. But the next year they could be in contention for being a supervisor and a team lead. Employees that feel that they are not getting more responsibilities, tend to lose their motivation to succeed in their roles. So offer them meaningful work with opportunities to do well in their careers.

good communication

Most managers are used to the seasonal workers having more queries than the full-time workers. This is understandable because the seasonal workers are not available day in and day out. But using phone calls and emails is time-consuming and not an effective method for better communication with seasonal staff. Apart from that, the team should not have to wait for hours for an answer. It could be about an incident or working a register, they deserve a chance to communicate with you in real-time. You can use a chat app for this. It allows the worker to reach you at any point in time. Better communication means better engagement and more productive and happier employees.


It is necessary and important for any business that its employees are properly trained, well appreciated, looked after, and effectively communicated with. This would lead to fewer on-the-job accidents, improved motivation among employees, and greater retention of employees.

Author: Disi Tesfaye – Freelance Business Development Consultant

Photo credit: Louis Hansel on Unsplash

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