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Tips for Seasonal Employment Hiring

‘Tis the season of love, family, and friends, but recruiters might not be so jolly. It is also the time of the year again where you need to hire a team of hourly employees to fill your seasonal hiring needs. With the U.S. economic growth strong and unemployment at a low, retailers are expected to employ around 700,000 seasonal workers for the holidays. Keep in mind that during this time of the year, you are competing for top talent with organizations across the spectrum. Finding qualified candidates interested in seasonal work can be challenging. While hiring students on school break or people looking for second income is a typical approach, there are other tactics, including: 

Looking Internally, Hiring your customers.

Who best to hire than the people who already know and love you? Enticing your current clients to become employees for your company is a fantastic way of finding seasonal help. Your current clients will most likely have some knowledge of the products you sell and what your brand means. Looking internally for your seasonal employees is a natural audience to reach since you can openly advertise in your establishment, and you can speak directly to them. An effective strategy for enticing your current clients could be to promote your employee discount policy, which is especially attractive to job seekers during the holiday season.

Attracting retirees

Retirees are becoming a more appealing option for seasonal work as the baby boomer generation continues to enter retirement from their full-time employment. Retirees offer a diverse candidate pool with extensive work experience. With retiree health allowing, retirees often return for more than one season, which may not be the case for many college students who will likely move on once they graduate.

Start before others. 

Preparing yourself for the storm is always a mission. You need to have your strategy clearly outlined and ready to start the process of hiring; the best time would be as early as three months in advance of your seasonal needs. Preparing yourself in advance will only help you stay more organized, build a more extensive pipeline of candidates, and will ensure that you contact qualified candidates before other organizations. Employers and managers who believe that they do not have to start the process early will inevitably find themselves scrambling to hire, which will ultimately affect the quality of employee that they employ. 

Managing Expectations

Being clear and concise with your intentions is essential. You want to hire seasonal staff, so be clear about that. Giving employees false hope that they’ll be kept for longer than what they’re contracted to can become a messy situation. In order to be transparent, communicating clearly in your advertising, website, job description, and throughout the recruitment and onboarding processes, what the job hours, pay, duties, and length of employment. A motivated team who understands their role in the organization = a happy and productive team. 

Make hiring easy for store managers

When it comes to seasonal hiring, retail stores are often the ones who play the most significant hand with seasonal employees. For most retail locations, recruitment is decentralized and taken care of through the store itself, with store managers responsible for the staffing process. With store managers having to deal with the entire store functions, they are often very busy people. So, by adding more to their plates with obstinate processes won’t endear you to them! Keeping your recruitment process straightforward and as accessible as possible is ideal for busy managers. When considering purchasing recruiting software, check out what functionality it has for managers. Does it allow a mobile-friendly application overview? Can they receive notification when new applications come in? Can interviews be scheduled with a click of a button?

Let’s face it; even if you’re recruiting seasonal staff, they’ll still want to know the employee culture you’re fostering and want to be able to enjoy the experience your offering. Be sure to keep track of where the best (and worst) candidates have come from. These days, it’s essential you’re data-driven and strategic in your hiring practices.

With the holiday season being the most wonderful time of the year,

Abiding by your state’s legislation and regulation around employment hours, overtime, minimum wage, health insurance, and rules governing the work for minors is still crucial. Avoiding legal pitfalls can not only save your business from costly consequences; it can also save your company’s reputation. In order to save yourself this holiday season, remember the following: 

1.  Assess Whether to Classify The Worker As An “Independent Contractor”

Often, businesses often misclassify their employees as independent contractors and, in the process, open themselves up to significant potential liability. Although it can be especially tempting to classify your seasonal employees as such. You should always avoid designating a seasonal worker as an independent contractor without first determining that the circumstances legally justify such a classification.

2.  Clarify Expectations Regarding the Duration of Employment

 Although seasonal employees often are aware, they have been hired as a temporary employee; you should always make sure to specify the limited duration of employment both verbally and in writing. With getting this acknowledgment in writing, it ensures that the employee understands that they are being hired for a limited duration as and “at-will” employee – meaning you have a legal right to terminate the employee, with or without cause, at any time.

3.  All the Usual Rules Apply

 Most employment laws, except the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), apply to seasonal employees. Unless employment continues beyond the holidays, seasonal employees are ineligible for FMLA leave because they will not fulfill the required 1,250 hours of work in a 12-month period. However, all other employment laws – such as those dealing with employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation apply with equal force to seasonal employees as they would with regular employees. Before the holiday rush begins, you should schedule a meeting with all managers so that everyone understands that these rules apply to seasonal employees with equal force. In addition, management should be trained on how to adequately address reports of harassment and discrimination, and how to respond to any requests for accommodation

4.  Watch the Clock

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state laws, employers are required to pay seasonal employees one-and-a-half times their regular pay rate for any additional hours worked over the standard 40-hour workweek. However, specific individuals are exempt from overtime requirements under both federal and state law. It’s essential that you review your seasonal employees’ status under federal and state law to determine whether overtime exemptions apply.

5.  Develop Telecommuting Policies and Procedures

Hiring remote workers for customer service and similar positions is a very common practice that has been seen to help improve productivity and efficiency. With the added feature of telecommuting, it raises unique legal issues that must be addressed in your companies’ policies and procedures before they become a liability.

For example, although these employees may be working from home, workers’ compensation laws still apply to telecommuters. In order to address these issues, you can require your telecommuters have a designated workspace that has been inspected and approved by your company to help ensure any workplace safety obligations. 

6. Review Your Benefits Policies

Federal law does not require your business to provide seasonal workers with the same benefits as you for regular employees. However, under the Affordable Care Act, you may be required to offer health insurance to any seasonal employee who works more than 30 hours per week for a period exceeding 120 days. Being proactive and reviewing your benefits policies and health plan documents to determine whether seasonal workers are eligible for these types of benefits would be a wise move. Failure to provide eligible employees with required benefits can possibly lead to expensive consequences.

 Hiring seasonal employees is a challenging feat and can be time-consuming. However, you can make your life and the lives of your existing staff much easier by simply being prepared. Just like any marketing and sales strategies, planning your approach to recruitment is essential for staying ahead of your competitors!

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Disclaimer: The information and resources provided herein are not a substitute for experienced legal counsel and does not constitute legal advice or attempt to address the numerous factual issues that inevitably arise in any employment-related dispute. Although this information attempts to cover some major recent developments, it is not all-inclusive, and any recommendations are based upon HR best practices and procedures. We recommend you consult an attorney for legal guidance.

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