Working in the leisure and tourism industry can be an exciting and rewarding journey. From perfecting new menus, sourcing new local partnerships, to checking-in your first guest of the season, there’s a lot of preparation involved. But what happens if your proposition is more popular than you dared to dream and you underestimate the influx of eager customers? The nature of the industry means demand is variable and sometimes unpredictable so you need to be clued up on how to deal with the need of hiring staff on a temporary basis as well as how to protect yourself and your these employees .
It seems the market for seasonal staff is growing. A study undertaken by Sheffield Hallam University last year found that coastal tourism, which is often associated with seasonal employment, had driven an increase of 14,000 seasonal employees between 1998/2000 and 2006/8.
The good news is, finding recruits who want to work on a temporary basis seems to be getting easier as many now choose to be seasonal workers due to varied lifestyle style choices and a desire to pursue other interests once their temporary contract has ended. In fact, according to recent figures by People1st.com, there are more than 142,000 people in the sector employed on seasonal, temporary or fixed-term contracts.
Taking on temporary staff during the busy summer period can be an effective way to ensure your business continues to provide a great service while bookings are at their peak but equally you’re not over-staffed when the season ends. Temporary recruits can be quickly deployed to cope with unforeseen demands, cover sickness, holiday absence and maternity leave. However, there are a few things you need to be aware of before you start recruiting staff.
So, what do you need to know?
The first, and most important step when recruiting seasonal staff, is to make sure you have a contract in place. You need to be absolutely clear about what role is being offered, including all conditions and stipulations as well as outlining the relevant notice specifications. If you ensure everything is clear-cut from the beginning, you’re less likely to run into problems later down the line.
What rights do fixed-term workers have?
Did you know that workers on a fixed-term contract are entitled to the same working conditions and benefits as your permanent employees? This means they are entitled to exactly the same working hours, holidays and pay as everyone else. So make sure all casual staff are aware of their rights as well as their duties, hours and expected length of their employment. They should also receive information about permanent vacancies in the organisation and protection against redundancy.
Are they the right recruit, even on a temporary basis?
Another important element you need to consider is the suitability of your temporary staff. Just because they are only there for the summer period, doesn’t mean that any Tom, Dick and Harry would make a good waiter!
High pressured environments, short timeframes and minimal support can mean you struggle to engage in hiring staff. To ensure you create the most productive and effective working environment – and more importantly hire the right people – it’s worth planning ahead and interviewing potential candidates in advance of your peak season. This will allow you to make a sound assessment and carry out trial shifts to make sure you make the right hire. The last thing you want to do is leave it until the last minute and end up making hasty decisions that could end up costing you more money due to an unproductive workforce.
Keep your team engaged
Make sure your permanent employees are kept in the loop with any additions to the team and explain why they are there. This ensures your full team feels valued and understands the situation. Keeping your seasonal workers motivated and productive over a very busy period can be a challenge but good temporary staff can play a vital role in helping your business profit during these peak trading periods. It’s worth exploring the use of incentives such as overtime payments, productivity bonuses and staff discounts to keep morale up and build loyalty to your business.
A temporary workforce could be a real winner
Ultimately, when hired and embedded into your existing team effectively, temporary staff are a great resource for your business who will lend support and fill a resource gap at your busiest times. They can be a great way to keep workflow stabilised and your business ticking over during peak periods. But it’s important to establish ground rules and ensure both you and your temporary employee are clear on the contractual terms to avoid any confusion and upset when the season comes to an end.
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