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cartwheel - borderAs the school year wraps up and businesses kick into summer gear, many organizations are looking to add temporary employees or summer students to their team. But engaging and retaining seasonal employees comes with a unique set of challengers for employers. How do you ensure the employment relationship is a mutually beneficial one, when you know there’s an expiry date?

We all know the costs associated with disengaged workers—rapid turnover, low retention, little discretionary effort, and low morale—and seasonal staff are no exception. On the flip side, seasonal staff who enjoy working for you are going to be more productive, more invested, and are much more likely to return to work for you in subsequent years.

Here are some important “Dos” to maximize your temporary employees’ engagement quotient:

1. Invest in their skills. We often think of seasonal employees as necessary, but not worth investing in. After all, hiring, onboarding, and training temporary workers is expensive enough already! But training your seasonal employees well means you’re helping to create a highly skilled future workforce, and investing in up-skilling your community. Learning opportunities also give young or temporary employees something to look forward to and focus on. For more ways to foster learning on your team, click here.

2. Highlight the possibilities. Ask seasonal employees what their goals are, and find a way to support them in reaching those goals. Encourage retention by helping them visualize their career path with you. Maybe this year they’re a summer student, but maybe next year they could be a team lead, and the year after that a supervisor. Give them meaningful work. Give them opportunities. It will pay off! They’re going to want to accept responsibility, excel, and will be more invested in helping the organization meet its goals.

Treat your seasonal staff as part of the team – invest in them, include them, and give them opportunities!Twitter_logo_blue

3. Give them the perks. Wherever possible, treat your temporary employees the same way you do your permanent staff. Treat them as part of the team—include them in staff lunches and parties, and make them eligible for discounts and incentive programs.

4. Recognize them. Just because they’re not in their “forever” jobs doesn’t mean that seasonal employees aren’t making important contributions to your team. Take the time to acknowledge their accomplishments and efforts. Cultivate a personalized approach, learn what their languages of appreciation are, and recognize them for the awesome things they’re doing!

5. Stay in touch. Keep in contact with temporary employees after their contracts finish. Retention isn’t just about keeping permanent employees happy, it’s also about keeping seasonal employees happy to come back next year. And even if they move on employment-wise, they’ll likely refer friends or business your way if they have a positive experience.

For more employee retention strategies, click here.

Your Engaged HR Assignment:

Instead of waving good bye to your seasonal employees at the end of their contract, have a plan in place before they start to keep them involved and connected with your organization after they leave. Set calendar reminders to check in with them, invite them to your seasonal open house or company picnic, and keep them in the loop with what’s going on! By staying in touch after they leave, you’re nurturing a connection that will leave a positive impression, and keep them coming back.

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