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How to effectively onboard seasonal workers in 2023


October 31, 2023



How to effectively onboard seasonal workers in 2023

During certain times of the year, many companies experience a surge in demand and require extra help to deal with flooding customers. To keep up with this demand, companies often bring in seasonal workers.

Just like any other regular employee, short-term employees need proper onboarding. To become excellent workers, they have to know the ins and outs of the company, including its products, customer service expectations, and more.

In this article, we’ll talk about seasonal workers and their onboarding process. We’ll also explore the benefits and common challenges that come with onboarding seasonal employees, as well as the best ways to work around them.

What is meant by seasonal workers?

Seasonal workers are employees hired by businesses to work during a specific time frame when there’s a peak in demand for their products or services. That way, they can handle increased workloads without the need for permanent staff throughout the year.

Seasonal workers - Definition

Seasonal jobs are diverse and can include roles in retail, hospitality, agriculture, tourism, and event management.

During the holiday season, retail stores often hire extra staff to handle the surge in customer traffic and manage inventory. Resorts and hotels, on the other hand, tend to employ seasonal workers to cater to the influx of tourists during peak vacation periods. While in agriculture, they play an important role in activities like planting, harvesting, and crop maintenance.

The unique aspect of seasonal work is its temporary nature. In the seasonal job examples mentioned above, seasonal workers bring flexibility that allows businesses to respond efficiently to market demands even during hectic periods.

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How long are seasonal jobs?

Seasonal workers are typically hired for short-term employment that can range from a few weeks to a few months, depending on factors, such as:

  • The nature of the industry
  • Specific needs of the business
  • Duration of peak season
  • Workload and demand fluctuations
  • Availability of talent pool

Their length of employment, though, doesn’t mean they don’t get to experience common employment processes, such as onboarding. In fact, it’s essential to welcome a seasonal employee just like you would with permanent staff.

What is seasonal onboarding?

The process of integrating and orienting temporary workers into a company or organization is called seasonal onboarding.

Seasonal workers - Definition of seasonal onboarding

Here, the goal is to equip these workers with the necessary training, information, and resources so they can quickly adjust to their roles and perform their job responsibilities confidently and effectively. It’s a great way for businesses to create a positive and supportive environment, where temporary workers feel valued and part of the team, despite the shorter-term basis.

Important parts of seasonal onboarding

To make sure your seasonal employees are able to smoothly integrate into your workforce, you’ll need a structured process in place.

Here’s a quick overview of employee onboarding examples and key components that you should consider when designing your seasonal onboarding plan.

1. Orientation

Create a warm welcome and deliver a comprehensive orientation as a way to introduce them to your company’s mission, values, and workplace culture. This will help them understand your expectations and set the tone for their experience.

2. Job-specific training

Develop the skills and knowledge they’ll need during the busy season by offering detailed training according to their roles and responsibilities. This could include hands-on instruction, shadowing experienced staff, or using digital resources like elearning training courses.

3. Company policies and procedures

Clearly communicate your company’s policies, procedures, and guidelines. Cover topics such as work hours, dress code, break schedules, safety protocols, and any other relevant information.

4. Team integration

Introduce your seasonal workers to their supervisors and colleagues they’ll be working with.

5. Performance expectations

Clearly highlight performance expectations and offer feedback mechanisms. Set goals and schedule regular check-ins to track progress and address occurring issues.

6. Offboarding

Plan for a smooth offboarding process as their seasonal assignment comes to an end. You can gather feedback through exit interviews, thank them for their contributions, and give any necessary documentation or information about their final pay and benefits.

Why is seasonal onboarding important?

Let’s dive into some of the reasons a structured onboarding process matters, both for your company and your temporary employees.

Seasonal workers - Importance of seasonal onboarding

1. Effective onboarding boosts productivity.

Investing in proper onboarding allows your seasonal workers to quickly understand their roles, responsibilities, and expectations. When they’re confident and well-prepared, they’re better positioned to meet customer demands, handle increased workloads, and maintain overall efficiency.

2. Temporary employees can perform their tasks effectively.

Having the right knowledge and skills paves the way for higher-quality work. Equipping them with what they need means they’re less likely to make mistakes on the job. Instead, they’ll be able to deliver better customer service and keep consistent standards throughout the busy season.

3. You can increase employee engagement.

With a good onboarding plan, you can develop an engaged seasonal workforce. This should positively impact their motivation, job satisfaction, and commitment to your organization. This also reduces turnover rates, saving you time and resources in the long run.

4. You can promote safety and compliance.

Onboarding gives you an opportunity to communicate essential safety protocols with your seasonal staff. They’ll be aware of the company policies and industry-specific regulations, which can reduce the risk of accidents during their tenure.

5. You can enhance your company’s reputation.

A well-structured onboarding process sets the tone for a positive work culture. When seasonal workers feel respected even during the initial onboarding process, they’re more likely to speak positively about their experience with your organization. This can potentially attract top talent and make your company an employer of choice for future seasonal hires.

Common challenges in seasonal onboarding and how to overcome them

Like any other workplace procedure, seasonal onboarding comes with its own set of challenges. To successfully onboard your seasonal workers, you need to be aware of the common challenges that you may encounter during the process.

Seasonal workers - Seasonal onboarding challenges and solutions

Here are some of these obstacles, with best practices and insights for navigating and addressing them effectively. In particular, we’ll talk about how a learning management system (LMS) can help onboard new employees.

Seasonal onboarding challenge #1: Limited time

Since time is limited during seasonal employment, it becomes more difficult to provide comprehensive onboarding. The onboarding process may fall short and the staff may not receive complete training with the holiday rush.

Solution: Mobile-friendly microlearning approach

Seasonal workers are expected to learn plenty of information when they start their jobs, but it can be overwhelming if large amounts of information are given all at once. The key? Microlearning.

Seasonal workers onboarding tool - SC Training (formerly EdApp) Microlearning

With a microlearning approach, you can break down the information into short and easy-to-digest lessons that only take three to five minutes to complete. To help you deliver microlessons, it’s wise to invest in a robust onboarding LMS.

Most LMS providers let learners access their resources conveniently through smartphones. That way, your staff can learn whenever and wherever they prefer. You can even include interactive elements, graphics, and videos so they can remember what they’ve read better.

Seasonal onboarding challenge #2: Skills gap

While some seasonal workers have a handful of experience, others may lack the specific skills or experience required for their roles. It can be challenging to make sure everyone’s on the same page while catering to their different skill levels.

Solution: Tailored content and learning paths

Using a learning management system can help you build effective learning pathways and bridge the skills gap through targeted training.

You can design and deliver customized training content to educate seasonal employees on specific skills. And, develop structured learning paths to guide them through the modules in a logical sequence or systematic approach.

Seasonal onboarding challenge #3: Limited familiarity with company culture

Due to their temporary status, seasonal workers might struggle to adapt to your organization’s culture, values, and norms. It can be a bit challenging to integrate them into their team and align their behavior with your company’s expectations.

Solution: Culture-focused modules

Develop specific courses or lessons within your LMS that are dedicated to introducing and familiarizing your seasonal employees with your company culture. These modules can include interactive content and real-life examples.

Seasonal workers onboarding tool - SC Training (formerly EdApp) Creator Tool

You can even use training video software to create a comprehensive video-based welcome course that highlights your organization’s values, mission, and work environment.

Seasonal onboarding challenge #4: Inconsistent engagement

Maintaining consistent engagement levels throughout the onboarding process can be challenging, especially if your training sessions are monotonous or lacking in interactive elements.

Solution: Gamification and rewards system

Implement a gamification system within your LMS that includes badges, achievements, and rewards. It’s a good way to incentivize and inspire your seasonal workers to actively participate in the training activities.

Seasonal workers onboarding tool - Gamification

Also, create engaging and interactive training content to make their learning experience more enjoyable and immersive. You can rely on onboarding gamification tools to help you with incorporating gamified elements, such as games, quizzes, and individual and team-based challenges.

Seasonal onboarding challenge #5: Limited budget and resources

Limited budget and resources might restrict the variety and depth of your training programs.

Solution: Cost-effective LMS solutions

Consider free LMS solutions that align with your organization’s budget and requirements. It’s best to look for cloud-based or subscription-based platforms that offer essential features and scalability without excessive costs.

Seasonal workers onboarding tool - SC Training (formerly EdApp) Course Library

There’s also plenty of free or open-source training content available online. You can use them as supplements or foundational material within your LMS. Make sure these LMSs offer templates to standardize HR workflows, but if they don’t, you can also go to a third party to seek out these documents.

Onboard your seasonal workers with SC Training (formerly EdApp)

What new hires think about your organization matters a lot—and it doesn’t matter if they’re temporary or seasonal employees. It all starts with having a good onboarding experience.

SC Training (formerly EdApp) is a free (up to 10 users) LMS with the best tools to improve your onboarding process. It offers streamlined and up-to-date onboarding and training methods that fit well with the modern employee’s learning and development needs. That includes microlearning, gamification, group training, and more.

Save resources and money while effectively onboarding your seasonal workers! Sign up with SC Training (formerly EdApp) for free.


Ella Mar

Ella is a content writer for SC Training (formerly EdApp), an award-winning e-learning management system designed to help companies deliver high-quality workplace training. In her free time, she enjoys painting, reading, or playing with her cat.

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