Summer is an especially hectic time for many industries. Restaurants and shops frequently extend their hours of operation to accommodate increased foot traffic from students who are out of school for the season. Outdoor-based businesses take advantage of good weather and longer daylight hours to get in as much work as they can. This upswing in business means that companies in these industries often hire temporary help to handle the increased workload.
Smaller businesses that are just starting out may get inundated right at the beginning of the season, before they realize they need a few extra employees. Established companies usually know they'll require extra hands on deck months in advance, but might still find themselves a bit short-staffed as the summer rush picks up. No matter what stage of growth you're in, here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for short-term workers.
Decide if you need an employee or a contractor
Worker classification is an incredibly important part of taking on any hired help. Depending on the type of business you run, you may have a choice between bringing in a regular employee and an independent contractor.
"Whether it's long- or short-term, judge your demand and decide which [type of worker] you need," said Steve DelVecchia, founder of online staffing platform Adaptive Professional Solutions.
A worker's status is usually dictated by the level of control the employer has over the individual's daily tasks, as well as the worker's overall contributions to the business. The key difference is that employees are listed on payroll and covered by a company's benefits and insurance, whereas contractors are not. This can make a huge difference in the time and money you spend bringing a particular worker into your business. Alternatively, DelVecchia suggested using a staffing firm for temporary help to avoid the hassle of payroll and HR paperwork. [MORE: Labor Laws That All Business Owners Should Understand]
Recruit with social media
Companies increasingly use social media to find the best and brightest full-time talent. C.J. Reuter, senior director of global client success at social recruiting solution Work4, said that social media can also be a great recruiting tool for employers who need seasonal help.
"Leverage what your marketing team has already done to market yourself as an employer on social media," Reuter told Business News Daily. "Social media shows [candidates] what it's like to be there. You can publish photos on social networks showing the behind-the-scenes, day-to-day culture. It's more believable, especially to the younger generation."
Since seasonal hiring tends to be very geo-specific, you can use social media to find qualified candidates in your local area and reach out to them throughout the year, Reuter said. This will put your company on local workers' radar when they're looking for a part-time seasonal job or internship.
Don't forget about insurance coverage
Since seasonal hires are frequently part-time and will only spend a few months with you, it's easy to forget what this means for your insurance policy. Don't make the mistake of assuming all of your workers are automatically covered.
"It's important to look out for all workers, regardless of employment status," said Steve Carlson, vice president of select worker's compensation for Travelers Insurance's small commercial department. "Think about what insurance coverage you need and don't need, and what the cost will be [if you don't have it]."
Carlson advised speaking with your insurance agent about the types of employees you're taking on — part-time, full-time, paid interns, volunteers, etc. — and finding out what that means in terms of your local labor laws. Depending on their status, employees may not be covered by your worker's compensation policy, so you'll need to research the proper steps to take should they be injured on the job.
Treat them like your regular employees
Although they will only work with you temporarily, you and your seasonal hires should get the most out of that time. Once you've hired the right people for the position, train them efficiently and well so they can do the best job possible while they're there.
"Bringing someone new on is about training them and making sure they understand what's involved in the job," said Scott Humphrey, director of technical services at Travelers' risk control department. "Summer hires are usually college kids who are somewhat new to the workforce. They're eager to do a good job and get something done as quickly as possible, but as an employer, you want them to take their time and do it right. Supervise them and give them feedback about what to do and not do — the same way you would treat any employee."
Originally published on Business News Daily.