Recruiting and Retaining Employees in a Seasonal Environment

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  • Topic: Temporary work, Employment agency, Labour market flexibility
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  • Published : April 25, 2012
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RECRUITING AND RETAINING EMPLOYEES IN A SEASONAL ENVIRONMENT November 1, 2011

Many organizations do not have the luxury of having a constant demand in their businesses. Some companies face a large increase in business for the holiday season, summer vacation, or for a major event throughout the year. These predictable trends allow many businesses to hire additional employees to help with the demand. The organizations are then forced to lay several employees off when the demand returns to a normal level.

This paper focuses on where organizations with a large increase in seasonal demand can recruit new employees and what programs they can create to help increase employee retention. Solutions include working with temporary staffing agencies, creating a counter-seasonal employee exchange program, and developing incentives to motivate employees to return for multiple seasons.

Seasonal Trends
Many businesses do not have a flat demand curve throughout the year. Some businesses have an increase in demand during specific holidays, weather, economic, or other factors. When demand increases, businesses need to meet that demand by either increasing hours worked by current employees or by adding temporary employees for the duration of the spike in demand. It is the job of the manager or owner to know the effects of seasonality and to have an effective plan in place to counter the demands. Temporary employees are an essential part to the overall success of any business that has an abnormally large workload due to seasonality. Following trends in specific industries, weather, and through news channels can help any hiring manager develop a clear picture of what to expect in the future. Having the right employees in the right places at the right time dramatically increases the competitive advantage of a firm.

Temporary Staffing Agencies
Many seasonal workers can be found through various online websites and agencies. Strategies vary depending on what type of industry or seasonal factor. For example, a local retail outlet will have a different strategy than a ski resort. Differences also exist in the specific company size and scope of each project.

The company HireMeNow.com “combines a self-service online temporary staffing firm with a professional and secure place for job candidates to post personal profiles, including VINTROs (i.e., video introduction or video resume) (About Us., n.d.). The company provides a platform for businesses and job seekers that have a do-it-yourself attitude. A company can open an account for free and then search for a candidate for a one-time $49.00 fee. Temporary workers can sign up and post a resume for free. The job seeker states the required minimum wage, travel restrictions, availability, and qualifications in the profile. The profile makes it very easy and clear for a company seeking temporary workers. Typically there is no debate, negotiations, or surprises. Fees are charged by the hour at a 45 percent markup from the wage the temporary works at. The fees are relatively low compared to industry standard of 25 percent to 100 percent of the employee’s salary (Huebsch, n.d.).

For those companies that want to deal with a local company and work face to face with a specialist, many companies turn to temporary staffing agencies. Express Employment Professionals is a staffing franchise with over 550 staffing agencies in the United States, Canada, South Africa, and Australia (About Express, n.d.). Many companies benefit from the expertise and reliability of a staffing agency by filling employers needs on an individual basis. Mary Seeley (Personal Communication, October 23, 2011) was a Staffing Coordinator at Express for several years. At that time, Express was charging only 14 percent of an employee’s salary at the time. Companies tend to use staffing agencies to help with an increase in seasonal demand and to help lower costs associated with employee turnover. Mrs....
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