Here’s how and why to show temporary employees that you appreciate them — and lay the groundwork for them to return.
Here's what you need to know:
- If seasonal employees feel appreciated, chances are they’ll keep coming back
- Include seasonal employees in company events and training
- Offer benefits and perks to temporary employees and pair them with mentors on staff
- Keep in touch with seasonal employees during the off-season and invite them back with a raise
Summer is here! For some, summer is by far the busiest season for their business. Whether you offer summer jobs to college students or hire seasonal summer workers, temporary employees play a key role in your business’s success.
Yet, many employers overlook seasonal employees when it comes to employee appreciation. Seasonal workers can be seen by some as replaceable. With that attitude, it’s easy to see why a seasonal worker might not return — and a self-fulfilling prophecy becomes the result.
Employee appreciation for seasonal employees can be small things that go a long way. If they feel appreciated and included, chances are they’ll keep coming back. Then, you’ll have dedicated, trained, and loyal seasonal employees as a result. Ready to get started? Here’s how.
Include seasonal employees in company events and training
Showing appreciation for seasonal employees can be as simple as including them in company events during the summer. Have a company picnic scheduled? Invite your summer employees.
If your company hosts professional development opportunities, make sure that your seasonal employees know about them and are invited to participate. Just because someone is doing temporary work doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about a career.
On the training front, it can be tempting to save time with abbreviated onboarding and training for seasonal employees. They don’t need to know anything beyond what it takes to do their summer job anyway, right? Wrong.
First, seasonal employees are a great way to identify and fill a talent pipeline. So preparing them for success from the start is key.
Seasonal employees are a great way to identify and fill a talent pipeline.
Of course, they need to be trained into their seasonal job. But making sure they have what they need to succeed at your company as a whole is important too. This is especially true if you’d like to transition seasonal employees to full-time roles eventually.
Offer benefits and perks to temporary employees
While seasonal employees might not qualify for traditional benefits like healthcare plans, this doesn’t mean you can’t give them other perks. If you offer an employee discount, consider making seasonal employees’ discounts a bit higher.
Offer commuter benefits such as subsidies for their parking or commuting. Treat them to lunch on occasion or consider offering a bonus at the end of the season.
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Pair seasonal employees with mentors on staff
Ensuring that seasonal employees have someone at the company who they can connect with can help make their experience a positive one. This happens on many levels.
Seasonal employees can be interested in careers, too. Especially if your seasonal summer job is someone’s first job, they’re likely looking ahead to the future. By pairing a seasonal employee with a mentor on staff, you’re accomplishing a few things.
First, you’re giving them a resource — someone they can go to with questions or confusion who isn’t their manager. Second, you’re giving them a glimpse into what a full-time career at your company could look like. It might inspire them! Third, you’re offering professional growth opportunities in a simple, low-cost, and effective way.
Keep in touch with seasonal employees during the off-season
Make sure your seasonal employees know that you haven’t forgotten about them in the off-season. Send them an email or a card on their birthday or over the holidays. Keep them on the company mailing list so that they can stay up to date with what’s happening with your business.
We mentioned inviting seasonal employees to company events during the summer, but that isn’t the only time they can be included. Invite your summer employees to holiday parties, too. These might seem like small things, but chances are you’ll be going far above and beyond what the competition offers. When it comes time for them to think about a summer job again, you’re increasing the chance that they’ll go to you.
Invite temporary employees back — with a raise
Seasonal employees can bring expertise and institutional knowledge, too. At the end of the season, offer them their spot next year but with a bit more money.
Retention doesn’t just save money when it comes to full-time and part-time employees. Getting the same seasonal employees back year over year reduces recruiting and training costs, too.
It can be tricky to figure out what exactly will make your specific seasonal employees feel appreciated. After all, there’s not a ton of information out there on the topic. It might feel like a bit of a guessing game at first, but that’s OK. Sometimes it can be as simple as asking your seasonal employees what they want out of the job.
It can feel daunting to wait almost a whole year to see if any of your strategies have paid off in the form of returning seasonal employees. One way to get a better sense sooner is to conduct exit interviews or at least survey your outgoing seasonal employees. That way you can learn and figure out how you can improve your seasonal employee appreciation next year!