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Managing your Seasonal Workforce

Anyone who works in the leisure and tourism industry knows the high levels of preparation involved, in keeping customers satisfied. Businesses and staff have to work flexibly to accommodate the unpredictable demands of the industry. Being prepared for any outcome is key, whether that’s recruiting or employing extra, temporary staff, responding to a sudden change in weather, or managing your customer’s expectations.

Managing your Seasonal Workforce

Research by Sheffield Hallam University shows the market for seasonal staff is growing year on year. Between 1998/2000 and 2006/2008 the number of staff employed seasonally rose by over 14,000. Peoplefirst.com found there are more than 140,000 working on seasonal or fixed-term contracts.

The main benefit of seasonal work for employees, is the flexibility it offers. Many recruits choose to work season to season, as it allows a varied lifestyle and the opportunity to explore other interests when a contract ends.

Businesses often employ seasonal workers to maintain the best service possible, even if extremely busy. It also avoids being overstaffed in the low season. Temporary recruits can also help resolve staffing issues caused by sickness, holiday, maternity leave, or even unexpected demand.

What you should know

Whenever you employ seasonal staff, you must make sure you have a contract in place. You must be extremely clear about what role is being offered, and include all conditions and stipulations. You will also have to make sure individual employees are aware of the notice specifications. This avoids any confusion and unnecessary hassle in the future.

What rights do seasonal workers have?

Seasonal or fixed-term contract workers are allotted the exact same working conditions and benefits as permanent staff. They’re entitled to the same working hours, pay, and holiday as other staff. You should make certain that all staff, including fixed-term workers, are aware of their rights and duties. They should also receive information relevant to permanent vacancies in your organisation, and what happens in the case of redundancy.

Select your recruits wisely

There’s only one, key element that you must remember when hiring temporary staff: select them carefully. Just because you’re hiring staff on a temporary basis, doesn’t mean you should hire anyone who applies for the job. Make certain they have the skills and attributes you would require from a full-time member of staff.

In order to prepare your business effectively, it’s often wise to perform interviews with possible candidates in advance of your busy season. Working in a high-pressured environment, such as the hospitality industry, doesn’t allow for a lot of spare time for interviews, so planning ahead helps. Doing so means trial-shifts can take place earlier and you can make a sound-assessment of the individual. You may regret leaving it until the last minute, and it could end up costing you more money, due to an unproductive workforce.

Engage your team

Ensure your permanent staff understand why temporary workers have been employed. Keeping everybody informed allows permanent employees to feel valued. To ensure seasonal staff remain motivated and productive you could think about offering:

  • Overtime payments
  • Productivity bonuses
  • Staff discounts
  • Staff excursions

Use these tools to build a positive environment and increase loyalty from staff.

Fixed-term workers are a fantastic resource, especially for filling in the gaps during peak times. There are multiple ways in which we can help to support you, if you decide to hire staff on a temporary basis. For example:

  • FSB Legal Protection Scheme offers legal advice 24/7. Our advisors can help you regulate your relationship with employees. Join us for peace of mind that you have round-the-clock access to legally sound, impartial advice. Our members also have automatic online access to a wide range of legal documents.
  • FSB Employment Advice offers you online legal advice and important information on UK employment legislation. Our members have on-demand legal advice, covering issues like dismissal or discrimination claims and employment tribunals.
  • FSB Health and Safety Advice will help you find out how health and safety laws affect you and your small business.
  • FSB Cash Advance can help if you find yourself suddenly needing to hire a few extra staff members. Our cash advance service is a risk-free way of raising finance quickly.
  • FSB Insurance provides Public, Employers' and Product Liability to protect you and your business against negligence claims from employees and members of the public. We also have Personal Accident and Assault cover, in case you or your staff are attacked.

FSB Employment Protection from FSB

A wealth of important information and advice, available online in-case you face dismissal or discrimination claims and employment tribunals.

Find out more