Did we know that hourly workers, mostly in retail and restaurants, are called frontline workers before the pandemic? Probably, but it’s been a wild three years and the origin of “frontline” matters less than finding them when we have open roles (and even when we don’t).
Depending on your industry, you might be accustomed to ramping up your seasonal hiring efforts a few months ahead of the summer, or the holidays, or spring break. Frontline employees, as many of us in hospitality or retail already know, can be the difference between a good customer experience and a bad one. Relying only on seasonal recruiting during specific times of the year can cause 99 problems, most related to limited candidate pools, rushed hiring decisions and inadequate training.
Seasonal Hiring Starts When?
Seasonal hiring for summer started weeks (years, really) ago. It’s ongoing because treating seasonal recruiting as a year-round process allows you to build a candidate pipeline. By continuously searching for qualified candidates throughout the year, you can create a pool of people who are interested in working for your business and have the necessary skills and experience. This will make it easier and quicker to fill positions when peak season hits, saving time (and money) in the long run.
Another benefit of year-round seasonal recruiting is that it allows you to train new hires well in advance of peak season. When you have a steady stream of candidates coming in throughout the year, you can take the time to properly onboard and train them, ensuring they are prepared for the busy season. This can lead to better job performance and better customer service (and ultimately, higher revenue for your business).
Related: Recruiting Millennial and Gen Z Candidates
When you scramble to find staff just before peak season, you are more likely to make rushed hiring decisions, which usually leads to less qualified hires and potential problems down the road. By having a continuous recruiting process, you can take the time to assess and select candidates, leading to better long-term outcomes for your business.
And (AND!) seasonal recruiting is good for your company’s reputation and your employer brand. When you take the time to recruit, train, and develop your staff, they are more likely to feel valued and invested in your business. This can lead to higher employee morale and job satisfaction – and seasonal employees that return to you (for spring break and then summer and then the holidays and then they graduate and you hire them to run things while you’re on vacation…). It’s a win-win, really.
So Now That You’re Recruiting Seasonal Frontline Workers Always…
Time to hire must be rapid. No matter what we call them – customer service associates, stock clerks, baggers, sales assistants, food servers, line cooks, masters of your appointment booking system – there are plenty of the same jobs out there: entry-level seasonal, part-time, hourly, customer-facing, service jobs. If you’re seeking talent locally, you’re not the only one in your industry, so join the club. A single roadblock, awkward interview, or delayed response and your candidate just moves on down the street…or literally anywhere else.
Have something to offer. What appeals to entry-level, part-time frontline workers (right after how much you are willing to pay them)? Don’t undersell benefits like flexible scheduling or free shift meals. Ask your current best employees why they show up every day. If the answer is “paycheck,” ask what the second reason is. Promote your benefits on your career site, social media, job descriptions, etc. A lot of times, good benefits can make up for a lower pay rate.
Think outside of the traditional channels. Instead of placing job ads where you usually do, consider something different. Maybe you don’t need a text ad. Maybe you need a really cool video for TikTok (with a little spend behind it) that your current happy employees get together to make (on the clock, please) so it captures the attention of a 2 a.m. scroller whose parents just told them that they really (really) need to get a job and that jobs aren’t supposed to be fun. Because! Jobs! Can! Be! Fun!
Mobile, baby. Forget desktop or laptop computers. Get with the times…your ideal seasonal employee is going to 1) find you on their phone and 2) apply for your job on their phone. We could give you percentages but have you been around actual young people recently? Everything happens on their phones and if your mobile apply process is broken, you’re never going to have the chance to tell them that they can’t look at their phone while they’re helping customers. Period.
Think about it like this: A long-term strategy for seasonal roles is better than standing in front of your store location in a ridiculous clown suit spinning a help wanted sign shaped like a giant arrow. Trust us.
Recruiting frontline workers and employer brand strategy is a big part of what we do at Talentcare and we’re ready to help. Drop us a line or slide into our DMs.