A Business Owner’s Guide to Hiring Seasonal Workers

How to Create a Plan for Hiring Seasonal Workers.


It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for breaking sales records. As consumers prepare for the holiday shopping season, so are retail giants. Target is projected to hire 130,000 seasonal workers for the 2019 holiday season, while UPS is looking to hire about 100,000. Amazon has already hired a substantial portion of their seasonal team but is still looking to add an additional 30,000. You don’t have to be a top retail corporation to consider hiring seasonal workers. Whether you’re looking to build a seasonal team of 12 or 1,200 temporary employees, you need to have a seasonal hiring plan. Here are some seasonal hiring strategies to consider.


Plan Ahead

The time to think about seasonal hiring is months before you need to hire your first employee. Consider your needs well in advance of the upcoming season to be most prepared. Start by figuring out how many additional employees you’ll need to handle an influx in business. Compare sales data or other metrics from previous years to help generate an estimate.


How many hours do you plan on offering each seasonal employee? What types of benefits will your budget allow you to offer? Most seasonal workers don’t qualify for health insurance, but you can offer voluntary benefits, product discounts, or lunch allowances. Don’t be afraid to provide unique benefits. For example, offer free holiday desserts if you own a bakery. Full transparency is essential throughout the hiring process to prevent turnover issues.


Diversify your reach when recruiting. Start by asking current full-time employees for references and, if applicable, reach out to former seasonal workers. You can also take advantage of staffing agencies or reach out to local high schools or colleges for young employees with flexible schedules. When posting to job sites, make sure the content of your job post is informative and appealing. You’ll want to stick out from the competition.



When it’s time to hire seasonal employees, you’ll want the process to be as streamlined and efficient as possible. Consider using an applicant tracking system to help narrow down your options and reach out to the right candidates.


Before your newly hired seasonal employees show up for their first day, make sure you have enough training supplies and resources available. Consider training all seasonal employees on the same date for efficiency. You should also train your fulltime team on how to support seasonal employees and adjust to any temporary changes the new hires bring.


Hiring seasonal employees is about more than just filling the schedule. It’s in your best interest to do everything you can to set them up for success.


Finish Strong

Once the busy season is in full swing, how do you keep everything running smoothly? Start by focusing on team engagement, and not just from your seasonal employees. Only 21% of employees consider themselves very engaged. Having a team that’s fully present can create a variety of benefits and an exceptional customer experience.


Treat all employees equally. Every employee is holding the same weight when they’re on the clock, whether they’re seasonal or fulltime. You should also consider a simple feedback system for the busy season. You may not have time for sit-down sessions with seasonal employees, but a few words of encouragement in a morning “huddle” or via email can help guide team members.


Finally, for a smooth finish to the season, consider offering an end of season bonus to encourage temporary employees to stick around to the end. If possible, offer your top seasonal performers full-time positions. If that isn’t an option or they’re not interested in a full-time position, make sure to leave the door open for next year’s season.


Will you be hiring seasonal workers this year? Put together a plan, look for professionalism in candidates instead of perfectionism, and support your temporary employees throughout the entire season. Your busy season can have more excitement than stress with the right team.


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