Onboarding Seasonal Workers

Holidays, summer, and temporary seasonal workers. It may be vacation time for some, but for many businesses, it means peak season, fast-paced and busy times, and dealing with fewer regular workers. Often your seasonal workers become the face of your company, meeting customers and helping you keep your business afloat. 

We can probably agree that they provide great value to your business. And because of that it is just as important to give them a great onboarding as it is for your regular workers. That said, the onboarding does need to be adapted as time is usually scarce here.

So, how can you make your seasonal workers get up to speed quickly, make them feel included, and support your business in the best way possible in the limited time you’ve got them for?

Let's go through it step by step. Keep reading and discover how to successfully onboard seasonal workers. 👇

1. Define Purpose & Expectations

If you don’t know where you are going, you might end up where you don't want to be. That's why it's crucial to kick off by defining the purpose, needs, and roles of your seasonal workers. 

By defining the purpose, it will be easier for you to set clear expectations for what your workers’ responsibilities and scope of work will be. It will also help you provide meaning to your seasonal workers by showing them how their work contributes to the overall success of the business.

Once you've nailed down the purpose, it's time to get specific about job duties, and performance expectations. This also means explaining the company's culture and what is expected of the workers in general in terms of dress code, communication, teamwork, etc.

This is the foundation to help your new seasonal workers understand what is required of them and to avoid any surprises. And don't forget to communicate these expectations to all your workers - regular and temporary - to prevent any mix-ups and foster a supportive team environment!

2. Prioritize Essential Information

Forget the 90-day onboarding marathon for your seasonal workers. They need a quick, energizing power bar, not the full five-course spread. Focus on essentials, ditch the CEO's favorite color, and just teach them the company's secret sauce.

Build training around peak season demands and real-life scenarios: Can they handle the cash register? Do they know your most important products? Pick the most relevant things for what they will face in their specific role, enough to wow customers (or at least not anger them😉).

If possible, leave complex tasks to the veterans. It's the key tasks and safety protocols that are crucial for your seasonal workers in order for them to contribute and become independent quickly.

3. Digital Pre- and Onboarding & On-site Orientation

Despite having prioritized and cut things from your regular pre- and onboarding process, it often still leaves a lot of information for your new seasonal workers to digest. And this is where digital preboarding and onboarding through a digital platform will be a real great support.  

See how the Catering Company, Gaudium, has streamlined and saves time using digital pre- and onboarding for their workers.👇

The digital aspect enables you to break down essential information into microlearning modules and allows the new workers to take in information little by little. Microlearning can be a great asset that will reduce the risk of overwhelming your new workers and allow your workers to easily find the right information in the digital platform when needed.

But of course, you also need to give them an on-site orientation. This might include a tour of the facilities, introductions to key team members, and a rundown of daily operations. 

4. Buddy Program & Hands-on Training

To help seasonal workers integrate into the team and quickly learn their job responsibilities, consider implementing a buddy program. Pairing them with an experienced worker who can provide guidance and support can greatly enhance their onboarding experience. The buddy can answer any questions, show them the ropes, and help them navigate their new role.

In addition to the buddy program, hands-on training is essential for seasonal workers to gain practical skills and knowledge. This can involve shadowing experienced workers, participating in role-playing exercises, and receiving direct feedback on their performance.

By blending digital and on-site training, seasonal workers can enjoy a comprehensive onboarding experience and quickly gain the confidence needed. 

5. Check-ins, Appreciation & Patience

Even seasonal workers perform better when they are happy. And just like any regular worker, they help spread the word about you and your business. Although seasonal workers may be meant to be just short-term, some might be good to keep in contact with.

You always wish to leave a good impression and to be able to get in touch again at a later stage. Seasonal workers may not have the same level of experience as permanent ones but remember to be patient and understanding of their learning curve.

Help the new hires learn, grow and provide positive feedback and encouragement when possible, as it will favor everyone. Schedule check-ins once in a while to address any questions, concerns, or roadblocks that they may encounter, give appreciation,  and perhaps also see what their goals are. 

If they are happy and doing a good job your seasonal workers might return for another season, as temps during the low seasons, or who knows, perhaps they’ll become your next loyal long-term employee.

Pro Tip: Making sure your seasonal workers have a great welcome can save you time in recruitment and training in the future by converting temporary seasonal workers to long-term employees or returning seasonal workers.

Working in retail? Check out the Retail Guide here.