While everything you are reading about the current “employment market” is probably true – that it will be relatively easy to find the number of temporary workers you need for your upcoming busy season – there is still good reason to do things now to ensure your season’s success. Particularly if your peak season is the same as other companies in your industry, or you are pulling workers from labor pools that are already tapped out (ex. Aerospace), it’s always smart to plan early to get a step up on your competition.
Here are ten things to consider as you make your plans for what lies ahead…
1) Develop a Relationship With Your Staffing Supplier Before You Need Them. The staffing supplier you select to provide you with workers during your busy season can make or break your operational performance. Don’t wait until the last minute to either select or develop a relationship with the right staffing partner. Make sure you check other seasonal client references carefully, and wherever possible audition a short list of suppliers so that you make sure the supplier you select is a good fit for you.
2) Select Fewer Rather than More Suppliers. Staffing companies will make the investments necessary to supply you with the workers you need during your busy season to the degree they believe they will earn a financial pay off. Despite what you believe about the value of generating competition amongst your staffing agencies, what actually happens is that if you engage multiple agencies to work on your seasonal staffing needs, no one agency will make the investments needed to deliver quality outcomes.
If you invite too many agencies to work on the same requests for staff, no one agency will be motivated to make a strategic investment in delivering quality services to your company. The work it takes to work with multiple agencies, keeping track of who they have referred and who you have selected, will complicate the staffing process and increase your internal costs. Most importantly, it is likely to result in compromised worker quality.
The better option is to pick one high quality staffing company and partner with them to help you achieve your busy season goals.
3) Focus on Cost, Not Price. How a staffing company delivers their service, the attention they give to employee quality, their willingness to provide onsite management of their temporary workforce, can make a big difference in your overall workforce COSTS. Excessive turnover, issues with worker quality, missed training cycles are factors that can impact operational COSTS at a level that will trump any advantages gained from selecting the lowest PRICED supplier.
4) Insist on a Back Up Plan. As part of your selection process make sure the staffing company you select has a proven plan for backing themselves up IF (and some say when) you reach a point in your season’s staffing cycle when they do not have either the quality or quantity of workers you need. If your staffing supplier doesn’t have a well thought out plan to back up their own recruiting efforts when the going gets tough, that last minute scrambling for resources and workers is likely going to fall on your shoulders. Who wants that?
At PACE we have developed what we think is a bullet proof back up plan for our busy season clients which we call ONE STOP. One Stop automatically engages a large network of staffing suppliers (in addition to PACE) at the beginning of your seasonal staffing project, so that they remain motivated to provide staff throughout a project’s life cycle, not just when there is a crisis. Check out ONE STOP on the PACE website.
5) Make Sure You Get Dedicated Attention. Pay attention when a staffing company boasts of multiple customers, all looking for the same type of employee, at the same time. While an impressive resume filled with similar clients might look and sound good at the time, it can also put you in a place where you are competing with their other customers for the best talent. A better option is to find a staffing partner who can guarantee dedicated, if not exclusive, recruiting support throughout your busy season.
6) Plan for Turnover. Seasonal workers often have higher levels of turnover than do other types of interim workers. Workers who accept seasonal assignments because they are in between jobs are likely to leave their assignment if/when other more permanent work comes available. Others will quit because they have satisfied their personal goals for short term income. Still others will leave because they were either unable or unwilling to do the work you are requesting of them – they aren’t good fits.
While at PACE we do our best to screen candidates in ways that avoids turnover, we encourage our clients to be prepared for what might happen by over hiring at certain key places in your busy season cycle. We work with our clients cyclical needs to help them design a seasonal staffing plan that includes the optimal allowance for turnover while still containing overall costs.
7) Plan and Partner! Once you have selected the right staffing partner, engage them in your planning activities BEFORE they’re called into action. Most staffing companies perform at their best when they work in partnership with their clients, and inviting your agency to participate in your planning meetings is a great way to invite that partnership.
8) Keep Recruiting. We believe it’s a good business practice to continue recruiting throughout the busy season not just in those time periods leading up to its peak. With our seasonal clients we do that as a matter of routine so that we are always prepared with back up candidates in the event of changes in need or higher than expected levels of turnover. In some cases we put workers through any required onboarding or pre assignment training ourselves, so they are ready to begin work and be productive quickly in the event of unexpected turnover or change. Busy seasons, by their nature, are all about being prepared for the unexpected.
9) Use Last Year’s Seasonal Workers. You might be surprised how many workers plan their working lives around working for certain clients on a seasonal basis. Whenever we start a seasonal project for a client, the first thing we do is invite back previous high performing employees. We also ask for their referrals – people they know who would be “good fits” for the work that lies ahead.
The benefit our clients get from “returnees” is that they know the job and can assist in the process of bringing new workers up to speed. They are also highly motivated to refer the “right” new workers because they know what happens when there are issues in performance with their team members.
10) Treat your Seasonal Workers Well. Employers who develop a reputation for treating their seasonal temps well are often employers of choice when it comes time to hire staff directly. Many of the candidates we interview will tell us exactly which employers they will or will not work for in a busy season – all based on how they or their friends were treated when they worked there. At PACE over 40% of the candidates we place during any busy season, come to us a results of their past working relationship with us or as a result of referrals we get from employees we have placed in the past, reducing our costs and the time it takes to develop a “ready to perform” seasonal workforce.
This article was written by Jeanne Knutzen, Founder and CEO of the PACE Staffing Network.
For more information on recruiting seasonal temporary workers contact email@example.com