The experience a new employee has when joining an organization, has a significant impact on how long they remain an employee. When it comes to onboarding new employees, the popular focus tends to be on the onboarding process as a strategic lever, with investment directly increasing long-term retention and driving down cost.

This is all very well if you’re recruiting permanent staff, but what about businesses that rely on influxes of seasonal workers? To what extent is it worth investing in onboarding these employees?

Increasingly we are accepting that onboarding does not end at the close of an employee’s first day, because it’s not just about paperwork and orientation. It’s actually about feeling and learning objectives too. You can’t get a real feel for the culture and learn everything that you need to know, all on your first day – if only because we can’t retain that much information at once.

Different organizations roll out onboarding programmes that last a week, a month, 3 months and, in a few cases, as long as a year. The point is that learning doesn’t stop when you exit the gate at the end of your first day.

But for a business that relies heavily on seasonal workers, such as the hospitality and retail industries, extended learning programs are often not an option. So, what aspects of this thinking can be applied to onboarding seasonal workers and are they even relevant?

Why Is It A Good Idea to Invest in Onboarding Temporary Staff Well?

Recruiting a seasonal workforce takes time, planning and money. Whether we like it or not, the way we onboard can be subject to externalities that are beyond our control. If there is something that Coronavirus has taught businesses, it is the importance of flexibility, adaptability, and being able to move fast when you need to. An agile onboarding process, allows you to respond to these externalities

TusenFryd is Norway’s largest theme park, with 450,000 visitors a season. The park has just 35 permanent staff and employs up to 750 seasonal workers in peak periods. Most of these candidates are young, with little or no working experience. This year, the uncertainty created by Coronavirus as to whether the theme park would open at all, resulted in the TusenFryd team having to train their new recruits and open the park in just 6 weeks. In that time, members of staff created and deployed 8,000 moties (training modules).

4 Reasons to Invest in First-Class Onboarding for Temporary Staff

1. To the customer, temporary needs are just as important as long-term needs. Better onboarding means more preparation, which leads to better performance and satisfied customers.

2. If anything, the fact that a proportion of your workforce is made up of temporary staff means that you have to work hard to get your onboarding right in a shorter space of time. With careful planning and the right technology and tools, a short-term hire can have a long-term impact on customer experience, brand-building, and as an example to other staff.

3. Your temporary staff can be a long-term asset. If you’re recruiting a high number of people every peak season, onboarding becomes an important opportunity for brand building. These temporary employees may become brand ambassadors, helping you to attract future hires. So, give them a good experience. And they may themselves come back again next season. Long-term, this strategy can save you time and money.

4. Just because a hire is short-term, it doesn’t mean you won’t feel their loss if they leave before the season is over. According to BCG, there is a direct correlation between talent management, performance management, and revenue growth. Unproductive candidates who regret taking on their roles have a direct impact on turnover.

10 Things to Consider When Onboarding Seasonal Employees

1. STANDARDIZATION AND AUTOMATION: From an HR perspective, the efficiency of digital onboarding is a dream, facilitating standardisation and a level of automation is shown to increase response rates from candidates and smooth the onboarding process. Highlighted by the Harvard Business Review is the fact that organizations with a standardized onboarding process experience 62% greater new hire productivity, along with 50% greater new hire retention.

2. RELATIONSHIP BUILDING: For hiring managers, it means people can, to some extent, hit the ground running. It gives them an opportunity to set the tone, communicate culture, and start building a relationship. The social aspect of onboarding is also important, buddying up new hires with each other or with existing employees is a good idea and this can be done digitally.

3. COMMUNICATION: It’s important to set expectations from the start, communicating mission and making sure goal-related messaging is clear.

4. CULTURE: Set the tone with your onboarding programme. Culture is communicated top-down, so having leaders review onboarding materials periodically can be a good idea. Sharing resources that communicate culture is a helpful way of gaining buy-in. You might use a recording of the Founder or archive material talking about founding of the organization.

5. PRE-LEARNING: The value of pre-learning should not be discounted. This can help speed up the path to productivity. It is, however, important to be aware that time committed to pre-learning is time spent working and you may need to renumerate candidates for the time they spend learning before their first physical day on the job.

6. JUST-IN-TIME LEARNING: On average, we retain up to 70% of the information with which we are presented at any one time. It may seem like a luxury in a case such as Tusenfryd, where the focus is on opening the park under significant time constraints, but continuous learning helps staff retain knowledge over time. Once those park gates open to the public, new recruits are still very new. On-demand training capability means employees can access the information they need wherever they are, applying it to the task at hand. It’s the difference between someone doing an average job, and a great job.

7. THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY: Just-in-time learning requires the right technology to ensure that you are rolling out the same training capability to everyone. This is worth thinking about if you are operating across multiple sites with different configurations and conditions. In such scenarios, mobile-based applications are often the most flexible.

8. PERSONALISATION: Time is a precious resource and not to be wasted on training that is not relevant. Prioritising delivery of relevant learning for individual candidates helps them focus their time on the knowledge and skills relevant to them.

9. SCALABILITY: If you are recruiting seasonal staff across multiple sites it’s important to think about scalability, making sure the information is applicable, and that the tech is available and con|

10. CONFIDENCE BUILDING: Just like learning to read, a good beginning is the foundation for future success. But you need to be told that you are doing well to believe it and you need examples to follow. At TusenFryd, they use confidence building modules, awarding titles such as “best with the guests” and “happiness champions” to quickly help employees achieve their best and become examples of excellence to others.

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about delivering a high-class, mobile-based onboarding programme to your seasonal workforce, talk to the experts. We’ve got lots of insights and guidance that we can share with you. To find out more, make an appointment with one of our specialists now.