The Key to Having Your Temp Employees Return: Make Work Worth It!

Hiring for seasonal jobs picks up during the holiday season as retailers increase staffing to accommodate their seasonal sales growth. Perhaps you can’t afford to keep them on the payroll once holiday work demand ends, but you’d like some of them to come back next season. Perhaps you can even see a few of them becoming employees at your company.

How do you make sure that happens?

If your temporary workers have had a positive experience, the chances of them returning next season, or taking traditional jobs with you in the future, are much higher. In this final installment in my “Cool Opportunities in a Hot Job Market” series, I provide eight tips to keep star temps coming back next season, and maybe even convert to full-time:

1. Nurture employee morale. Holiday retail sales this November and December are expected to increase by as much as 4.2% over 2018, according to the National Retail Federation. That means a lot more consumers will be looking for goods and services, and that means more work for your temporary and traditional employees. The bottom line is important to any company, but don’t focus on profits at the expense of employee morale. Be sure you hire enough temp workers to cover the seasonal rush, that work duties are spread out evenly, and that you provide the proper training and tools to ensure a temp worker’s success. A frazzled and overworked temp worker isn’t likely to come calling again next season, nor is he or she likely to recommend your company to friends and colleagues.

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2. Take the time to train. Give them the skills that will help them thrive in your workplace. An employee who feels competent and productive is likely to enjoy his or her work and want to return. Onboarding takes time and patience, so provide both so that your temp workers grow comfortable with the company’s operations, know how to handle customers, and know how to communicate with managers.

3. Provide mentors. This not only helps the temp worker learn about the work and the workplace culture while also bonding with fellow employees, it also gives your permanent workers a chance to practice supervisory skills.

4. Provide feedback. Younger workers – and a lot of your temporary hires will be younger workers on college breaks – crave feedback from managers. Be sure to offer it regularly, ideally in person and at least every two weeks. Also, include suggestions on what your temp workers can do to improve or to strengthen their chances of returning next season.

5. Reward your standouts. Give your star performers more responsibility. Your best workers are those who are focused, get the job done, get it done on time, and ask for more work. Find more work for them to do; even give them minor supervisorial tasks if possible. This way, you’re training them not just for the job at hand, but you’re also equipping them with the skills they you may need should you have a more permanent job open after the temporary hiring season ends.

6. Show appreciation. Obviously, most temporary hires don’t enjoy the benefits that permanent workers have, like healthcare, paid time off, or retirement plans. But there are other ways you can make your workplace attractive to a temporary employee. For instance, showing you appreciate your temp workers can be as simple as publicly acknowledging their efforts during a weekly staff meeting. It might mean holding an event – a lunch, an outing – that focuses especially on your temp workers. If the budget allows, offer spot bonuses to your star temp workers. No matter how small, such bonuses send a clear message that a worker is valued.

7. Encourage them to return. Don’t assume that your temporary worker knows that he or she is welcome back during your next round of seasonal hiring. Tell your strong performers how much you valued their work and how much you’d like to consider them for future employment.

8. Follow up. Before your temp workers leave, collect their current contact information, give them yours, and encourage them to stay in touch. Stay in touch yourself, if only to drop a friendly note during the year to check in, but especially if you see a job on the horizon for which your former temporary worker might be suited.


Vincenza Caruso-Valente

Vincenza Caruso-Valente
Vincenza Caruso-Valente is general manager, retail and staffing, Sterling. Find her on LinkedIn.

Vincenza Caruso-Valente

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