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The Small Business Guide to Hiring Summer Help

summer help.

It's hardly a closely-kept secret that talented workers are an essential component in business success. Great workers drive innovation, increase productivity and ultimately create a distinct competitive advantage.

It's a real challenge, however, to identify, hire and retain good people — and this is especially true with seasonal staffing. Small businesses don't always have the time to give seasonal workers the kind of rigorous vetting typically given to full-time, permanent employees.

With some smart preparation and nimble maneuvering small businesses can find the skilled workers they need for the summer season.

How to handle summer hiring

Seasonal hiring often requires acting on an accelerated schedule. One way to expedite the process is by relying on digital tools. Instead of using paper applications, for example, businesses can use software that digitizes and streamlines the application process. Recruiting, background checks and other functions can also be done online.

Another helpful tactic is to start the hiring process earlier than usual. If you're seeking summer help, don't wait until spring to start gathering candidates. Acting early also helps businesses have access to a broader pool of candidates, as fewer will have dropped out of the hiring market after accepting another offer of employment.

Organizations that do not have the resources to evaluate candidates for seasonal work should also consider partnering with an outside staffing agency. These firms typically have deep rosters of talent that can be called upon to fill vacancies quickly. Staffing agencies can also offer added flexibility, as they can supply labor on demand.

Other considerations

A period of temporary employment is a great audition for future roles, and the most talented seasonal workers should be identified and considered for later work.

It's also important to be aware of the challenges seasonal workers face. Most of them aren't familiar with your operation, and they may lack experience which could lead to errors. This means that training is important, and shouldn't be minimized simply because these are temporary workers. Remember, the public doesn't necessarily know a worker's status. A poorly-trained staff member is usually a bad reflection on your business, whether permanent or full-time.

Finally, businesses should make sure seasonal employees are classified correctly, and that all paperwork and documentation is in order. This will prevent future tax or regulatory headaches from developing. The seasonal classification can also affect your company's federal health care obligations, so it's important to ensure you know the law. A visit to the U.S. Department of Labor's seasonal employment webpage is a good place to start your research, and the Small Business Administration has also published useful information concerning issues such as tax withholding, unemployment benefits and worker's compensation for seasonal staff.

The bottom line

Hiring seasonal workers isn't simply a case of finding enough warm bodies to fill roles. Smart organizations start planning early and use all the tools available to ensure access to qualified and skilled workers.


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