How to Find Seasonal Employees For Your Small Business When Unemployment is Low

Sep 28

Target, Macy’s and other retailers are already gearing up for the upcoming holiday season and the accompanying shopping madness. Insiders are anticipating a good season, thanks to consumer optimism and low unemployment. But can retailers find enough seasonal workers to fill their needs?

Target is aiming to hire 120,000 seasonal employees while Macy’s plans to bring onboard 80,000. The Gap is reportedly looking for around 65,000 part-time workers. Meanwhile, delivery carriers are also looking for more workers in anticipation of the upcoming surge in online shopping. FedEx is hoping to sign up 55,000 extra hands while UPS will have room for 100,000 employees.

Unfortunately for retailers, finding extra employees won’t be easy. The US job market is very worker-friendly at the moment, thanks to the record low unemployment rate. Job seekers now have more options and can afford to be picky about who they want to work for.

Image result for us unemployment statistic 2018

[Image source: TalkMarkets]

Because of this, a lot of businesses have implemented some strategies in the hopes of seducing seasonal employees. For instance, some retailers are offering customized incentives or hiring HR contractors. Others businesses are opting to give better training to their existing workers instead of hiring additional ones.

As a small business owner, you’ll also need seasonal employees. However, the hiring strategies used by their large enterprises might not be effective for you. But that doesn’t mean they can’t compete. If your small business needs more workers for the holidays, here are a few strategies to help you fill your roster.

How to Get Seasonal Employees Interested

1. Tap Into Your Team’s Network

One of the best sources of temporary employees is through your current staff members. Tap into your team’s network and ask for their help in looking for new teammates. The holiday season can be brutal and most small businesses won’t have the luxury of replacing unreliable workers at this time of year. You’ll have to hire trustworthy people and the best way of doing that is via personal referrals.

Implement an employee referral system for your small business. This will give you a consistent pipeline of candidates while keeping current staff happy with their referral incentives. Plus, employee retention tends to be higher with referred applicants.

2. Be Flexible With Schedules and Incentives

Monetary incentives are often not enough to get a worker interested, especially in today’s labor market. However, customizing your job offer and the perks that come with it can get you a nibble in the job pool.

Seasonal workers have a different motivation for taking on the job. They might need extra income for school, the position could be an internship they need, or maybe they have family commitments to meet. This also means a conventional schedule or payday might not cut if for them. Your new hires might ask to be paid daily or want the option to give you their preferred weekly schedule. Being flexible with your worker’s schedule or incentive structure will go a long way in helping you to fill your job openings in time for the holidays.

3. Check College Campuses

College and university campuses are a great hiring ground for seasonal workers. Many students don’t return home for the holidays and the majority look forward to earning money and getting some work experience during this time.

Businesses are also ensured of employees that are energetic, enthusiastic and well-educated. The holiday season is also an ideal time for students to work part-time or as interns as their position comes with a definite end date. It’s a win-win situation. Boost your odds by advertising on campuses and posting on college job recruitment websites.

4. Host a Job Fair

A job fair is one of the most efficient ways of sourcing contract workers. However, an event like this takes time to plan and organize. But when executed properly, you can connect with numerous candidates in a short period of time.

Join annual job fairs several months ahead of the season you want to hire for. This will give you enough time to select the best candidates and train them. Spread the word by advertising at local colleges, newspapers, and news stations. Make sure you also post your requirements on your website and through online job boards.

5. Look at a Different Job Pool

Don’t limit yourself to conventional job pools or postings. There are numerous organizations or programs that you can reach out to for job placements. For instance, why not get in touch with organizations that work with ex-cons or the handicap?

A temporary HR contractor can also help fill your job openings. Recruiting is time-consuming and most many small businesses aren’t able to outsource, interview and process applicants. An HR contractor can manage your staffing requirements so you’ll have more time to focus on other critical tasks. What’s more, an HR company knows how to select the best candidates for the job. And if you’re lucky, your seasonal hire could become a permanent asset to your company.

Businesses hire millions of seasonal employees every year. While it’s more challenging for small businesses to catch the attention of these workers, you can still do it. You’ll just have to think outside the box and come up with creative tactics. Asking for employee referrals, being flexible with incentives and tapping college students are just some ways to secure hires and be productive during the holiday season.

[Featured image via Pexels]

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