Businesses in the hospitality industry have to contend with a seasonal demand for their services. Seasonal demand presents two key options for hospitality employers. The first option entails increasing the workload of existing staff and/or extending shift hours. This option is fraught with real risks, including the likelihood for plummeting performance, high levels of stress, absenteeism and potentially losing staff to competitors. Hiring seasonal employees is the second option available to travel and leisure employers.
Seasonal employment is when you hire an employee for a period of time, typically 6 months or less. These employees enable your hotel/restaurant business to provide a critical cushion during busier periods, such as winter or summer. If executed well, seasonal hospitality jobs can prove a better alternative to burdening your regular hotel employees with additional workloads.
If you are looking to hire temporary staff this winter, this article is for you. We will cover how to overcome the challenges of seasonal hiring, and how seasonal hiring differs from regular hiring practices. This article concludes with a FREE 10-step guide to winter recruitment, which you can download and save for future reference.
What Is Seasonal Hiring?
Seasonal hiring refers to a practice where a business hires additional temporary employees to enhance service-delivery during busy seasons. This strategy is useful to different industries, more so in the hospitality sector, where customer numbers can surge during the holiday season, overwhelming permanent hotel staff. Hospitality employers can hire seasonal workforce on a full-time, part-time or contract basis. Whichever the arrangement, seasonal hiring can be highly beneficial to hotels looking to avoid the rigours of hiring long-term employees.
What’s the Difference Between Hiring Seasonal Staff and Regular Employment?
The key difference between seasonal and regular employment is that the latter is a full or part-time role maintained throughout the year. Seasonal employment is prone to the seasonal highs and lows of customer demand. While regular employment typically fills available vacancies for the long-term, seasonal employment is less about open vacancies, but more about giving a helping hand to existing employees during peak business times. Some temporary employees may become full time employees later on, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
The Problem with Hiring Seasonal Employees
Seasonal hiring may lead to compliance issues, and lead to unstable and less motivated workers. Because they only work for your company temporarily, seasonal job seekers might not take their roles as seriously as regular employees. You can address this setback early on by articulating performance expectations, rehiring dependable workers from past seasons, and cultivating a pleasant work environment.
Additionally, many seasonal workers are not as loyal to their employers as those who hold permanent employment status. Nothing prevents seasonal employees from shifting to a position with better wages, employee benefits, and flexibility. You may have no control over a seasonal employee's commitment to your company. Offering a competitive salary or flexible hours can, however, prevent seasonal employees from leaving.
Hiring seasonal staff may also lead to poor training and rushed onboarding. These employees may start their jobs while being unprepared, and therefore may be unable to meet performance expectations. In the hospitality industry, where customer service and human touch are key, client satisfaction may suffer. Customers to your hotel/resort will not care whether a seasonal hire or regular employee has rendered poor service. It's critical to ensure these temporary hires get proper training before they start working.
How Can Hospitality Businesses Prepare for the Winter Hiring Season?
Finding quality seasonal labour has become increasingly difficult. Some concerns you may face include how to go about the entire hiring process, what temporary workers are entitled to, what their training needs are, and how you can best support them. The good news is that you can resolve most of these difficulties with preparation and planning.
10-Step Guide to Accelerating Winter Recruitment
Ready to launch a winter recruitment campaign for your hotel, resort or restaurant? Here are the first 5 points of the guide:
1. Track Your Business Data
To determine which dates you'll require your seasonal staff to work, you must first analyse your hotel, resort or restaurant's busiest period. Analyse the year-over-year point of sale (POS) data for that time period to determine when exactly business increases in the winter? You might notice an increase in takeaway orders, for example. To meet this demand, you might need to bring on more kitchen and delivery staff. View your analytics and traffic from the most recent busy season. Use this data to put together a recruitment plan to guarantee that you make the right decisions.
2. Start the Hiring Process
Once you are aware of your company’s hiring needs, you can start the hiring process. You’ll need to advertise your vacancies on platforms or in places where job candidates are looking. Since getting the right seasonal employee can be a little more complicated than hiring a full-time employee, you need to be creative. For instance, you can contact local universities to use their job boards, or use your hotel's social media channel to attract an early career talent pool. You can also ask your permanent staff to refer potential candidates from their social and family circle by offering them a referral bonus.
Did you know that Hosco can help you get the right seasonal hires for your hospitality business through tailored recruitment events? These events give you access to a wider pool of candidates who may be considering seasonal employment. We also offer pre-selected candidates for large-scale hiring, apart from a platform where you can post your hotel's seasonal openings much in advance. Book a demo now!
3. Adhere to Standard Procedures
You could be tempted to cut costs by omitting some procedures when hiring seasonal workers. This can lead to a variety of issues, such as hiring the wrong individuals or breaking labour regulations. Follow all of your standard hiring procedures, even if there are tight deadlines. Standard procedures you need to follow when hiring seasonal staff include ensuring applicants’ personal data is safe, and performing background screening. You must also interview the candidates, just like you do when hiring regular employees. The key is to start hiring for seasonal work two to three months before your hotel's busiest time of year. This time frame enables you to adhere to your hiring procedures and select qualified hires without rushing.
4. Allocate Sufficient Resources
When it comes to getting seasonal hires, you may need to invest more time, manpower and money. Consider allocating more resources to your HR/hiring team, so they can succeed at their seasonal hiring efforts. Hiring managers may become overburdened juggling between managing routine HR tasks and sourcing seasonal hires. You can solve this problem, for instance, by adding more staff to assist in the hiring process. You can also divide the hiring and other HR processes to make it more manageable for everyone.
5. Provide Focused Training
Hotel staff training should always be focused and tailored, but this is particularly relevant for seasonal staff. One of the most prevalent missteps is deploying seasonal recruits with little to no training. Giving seasonal workers the sink-or-swim option could adversely affect your business’ customer satisfaction metrics and bottom line. A temporary employee does not need to be completely familiar with every aspect of your business. Training them for what they specifically need to know to perform their roles, such as health & safety and customer service, is non-negotiable. Make sure your regular employees understand that seasonal employees aren't skilled in everything, and they will need to fill in where required. This helps build accountability.
We hope that our winter recruitment guide helps you fulfil your seasonal hiring needs and cater to rising demand!
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