Summer is almost here, which means employers are looking for seasonal workers in many cases. Using a learning management system can help employers maximize the time seasonal workers are on the job, and below is an overview of some things to keep in mind when it comes to hiring and training seasonal employees.
For some businesses, the holidays are the time when they’re most likely to hire seasonal employees, but in other companies, it’s the summer when new employees come onboard. Seasonal employees can be valuable for an organization as they manage their peak times, but they come with a unique set of challenges and considerations with regard to training and management.
Some businesses fail to train seasonal employees at all, or if they do, they do so minimally. There may be struggles in how to best manage seasonal employees to maximize their value and productivity.
The following are some things to keep in mind when it comes to training and managing seasonal employees this summer.
Hiring Seasonal Employees
Before you need to worry about training seasonal employees, you’ll first have to hire them. This summer is likely to pose a challenge when it comes to hiring new seasonal employees because unemployment is low and demand for workers is high.
It’s important to be proactive with seasonal hiring and your strategy. You need to give yourself not only enough time to hire people, but also to train them, so starting as soon as possible is essential.
You’ll also have to think about some regulatory and legal compliance issues. For example, are you going to be hiring an employee or a contractor?
If you want seasonal employees, you’re going to have to put the word out, and social media is a good way to do that. Seasonal summer workers tend to be younger, such as high school or college students, and they’re most likely to be on social media sites looking for summer job opportunities.
Training Seasonal Workers
Training seasonal workers is essential. Too often businesses make the mistake of thinking they don’t need or want to invest the time or money into training seasonal workers, and that backfires. Just because theoretically seasonal employees will be leaving at the end of the summer doesn’t mean that the employee and organization won’t benefit from thorough training.
First, it’s much better to go ahead and train seasonal workers on important things such as customer service and on-the-job safety rather than having to pay the price that can come from a lack of training.
One negative interaction with a customer can tarnish your business reputation, but thoroughly training seasonal employees can help prevent that. One safety incident in your workplace can be a huge financial burden, so avoid that with training as well.
You also have to think that if you invest in training a seasonal employee, there might eventually be an opportunity for them to become a regular, year-round employee. You could be investing in talent that might stay with your business for years to come if the situation is right.
The following are some specific tips to keep in mind when training seasonal workers:
- Use eLearning and a learning management system. A lot of employers don’t train seasonal employees because they don’t want to invest time-wise and financially in training temporary employees. The rise of eLearning and the use of learning management systems make it much more realistic and feasible to thoroughly train seasonal employees. Employees can go through training at their own speed, and it doesn’t necessitate the resources of in-person, classroom-style instruction. The value of a learning management system to train seasonal employees also lies in the fact that it’s something employees can manage on their own. They have the autonomy to complete training as they see fit and in the way that’s going to best resonate with their learning style. All of these factors can make training seasonal employees more effective and more efficient.
- When you’re training seasonal employees, emphasize the things that are going to matter most in their job. You’re not going to train seasonal employees on every single aspect of your business, but you do need to think about the places where a lack of training could be most detrimental. For example, maybe your training should focus primarily on OSHA regulations and standards. You’re not likely to put a huge emphasis on things that are more suited to longer-term employees, such as the development of soft skills. It should be more about not only safety but also the technical skills a seasonal employee is going to use the most every day on the job.
- When you’re training seasonal employees, there is a tendency to want to do all the training at one time, and it’s hard to learn this way. For example, a lot of employers who hire seasonal employees will have one day where the new employee is expected to learn everything.
- This isn’t the most effective training format for most people. This is where the value of a learning management system comes into the equation again—it lets employees move through things in smaller, self-paced sections. It’s typically a more pleasant and engaging experience for seasonal employees.
- Don’t forget about onboarding seasonal employees. A lot of seasonal employees don’t perform at their best level because they feel like they’re temporary. Of course, they may be, but that doesn’t mean they have to feel that way. To maximize the productivity and engagement of seasonal employees, employers should try to make them feel like they are part of the team. Any training delivered through a learning management system should have onboarding as well. This means not only are employees trained on technicalities, but they’re also provided with information about the business itself. And how things operate day-to-day so that they feel more like a valued part of the team and less like a seasonal, temporary worker.
Finally, when you’re using a learning management system to train seasonal employees, you might want to pair them with a mentor or “buddy” at the same time. This can link the training they’re receiving through the learning management system with more on-the-job training and interaction. Employees are more likely to feel like they’re part of the team when they’re paired with a mentor or buddy. And this is an important component of overall onboarding as well.