If you’re bringing on seasonal employees to get your business through a temporary busy season like the Christmas holiday shopping rush, don’t forget about the training that these employees will need to not only do their jobs successfully but to work well within your business culture. It can be so easy to just give these temporary employees the bare bones of job related training that will make them functional for the short period of time that they will be on your payroll. But overlooking other aspects of employee training and not providing them will a well thought out and complete training program can be a source of frustration throughout their employment.
So while you may not need to invest the time to put a seasonal employee through your entire training program, it is a smart idea to have a modified, shorter and more targeted training just for seasonal employees. Ideally this training program would include the skills needed for them to perform the job at a basic level and give them enough organizational knowledge to play well in the sandbox during their employment. While the components of any training program will depend on your business and the expectations you have for employees, incorporating these five topics will serve as a great place to start.
Maintaining a safe work environment is a priority, especially if you want to keep your Worker’s Compensation premiums from skyrocketing. And the last thing you want is to be left with a Worker’s Compensation claim for an employee that only worked with you for less than three months. So don’t just cross your fingers and hope for the best. Every employee on your payroll whether permanent or otherwise should have some sort of basic safety training.
Being clear about acceptable and unacceptable behavior is critical with seasonal employees. They may come in with the attitude that they will only be around for a few weeks, so anything goes. Or they may feel that since he or she is only a seasonal employee they don’t have the right to complain to managers if they are harassed. They also may not know how, if they are not provided with any training. Seasonal employees should be required to complete your sexual harassment training program so they understand that sexual harassment is not tolerated, what behaviors constitute sexual harassment and what to do if they are sexually harassed. If you don’t have an existing sexual harassment training you can sign your employees up for an online training program here.
Time and Attendance
Seasonal employees aren’t doing you any good if they are late or don’t show up for work. Set the expectation upfront that yes, this is a seasonal job but it is expected that they follow your attendance policies and show up for work on time. At a minimum you can review the existing policy that’s in your employee handbook. But some special considerations for seasonal workers include if and when they are allowed to take time off and what the consequences will be for being late or missed shifts since. Since they will only be employed for a short period of time, these rules may be different for seasonal employees.
Your customers aren’t going to care that the employee is only seasonal when they have a questions or problems. All they want is an answer to their questions, not the seasonal employee running to find someone who knows. So while you can’t possibly train a seasonal employee on every single aspect of your product or service in such a short period of time, what you can do is equip them. Work with your existing employees to come up with things that customers frequently ask about your products or services and train your seasonal staff on these topics. You may also want to put together reference material for them in an easy to scan format. This way when they are presented with a question or problem, they are equipped to know how to handle the situation.
Seasonal or not, there are consequences for not meeting performance guidelines and behavior expectations. Seasonal employees need to be aware of what these consequences are so they aren't blindsided with a disciplinary action. This training can be as simple as reviewing the relevant pages of the employee handbook with seasonal employees.
Adequate training of seasonal employees can help your business have a successful busy season and prevent many challenges that can occur with seasonal staff. When employees are properly trained it also increases the likelihood that they will return to work for your again next season, or may even make the transition to becoming a permanent member of your team.
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