market Jun 15, 2019

Seasonal staff need seasonal training if they are to improve your customer experience.  Seasonal staff are thrown in at the busiest time of the year and expected to perform at the highest level.   They’re also very aware that they’re only temporary and maybe not really part of the team.  Yet you rely on them to get your business through the height of the season and to do a great job in looking after your visitors. 

If you wish to ensure that your seasonal staff reach high performance and become effective early in the season, then invest in a seasonal training programme:

4 Benefits of an effective seasonal training programme:

  1. A better work environment

If seasonal staff aren’t adequately trained, they will be unprepared, stressed, or perhaps not able to keep up with the workload.  This means your regular staff have to make up the shortfall.  The danger is that this would have a significant knock-on effect on the whole team and may in fact lead to a faster and higher turnover of staff. 

  1. Motivation

Training your seasonal employees makes them feel included.  It shows them and other team members that they are vitally important to the running of your business.  It also sets the same expectations for both seasonal and year-round staff.  Remember your visitors can never be happier than your employees so looking after their motivation levels is vitally important. 

  1. Employer Reputation

At a recent HOSCO conference, study results showed that 49% of hospitality workers received zero to a max of 2 days training per year.  Yet 72% said career development is important to them.  If you have a reputation for providing staff benefits such as training, you will become more attractive as an employer in general. 

  1. Future Recruitment

A sizeable proportion of seasonal staff get retained as year-round staff or return again in the following season.  If you’re looking for more permanent staff, then train them so they get the best chance of showing you what they can do.  Besides that, even if they don’t return themselves, they may refer a sibling or friend. 

To achieve these benefits, here are a few tips on setting up and running a seasonal training programme.

6 tips for an effective seasonal training programme:

  1. Have a pre-start onboarding element.

Somewhere between offering the position and your seasonal team member actually starting, share some video or online content about your business that lets the new starter know what to expect. Or else, invite them to visit your business as a guest and have a no-pressure look around. 

  1. Induction training

Make sure you give adequate depth of content but not too much that it overwhelms the staff member.  Be careful not to cut it too short either and assume that your trainee knows nothing at all about the business.  Concentrate on the things they need to know well just to get up to speed and be effective in the first week. 

  1. Keep the training going and spread it out.

A common tendency is to do the induction training and then mark that training job as done.  However, it’s far better to train at regular intervals focusing on bite-sized nuggets each time. The season is long and demanding and regular training keeps motivation higher.  Content that is accessible online is ideal for this.

  1. Set up a buddy system.

Pair seasonal employees with regular staff members to facilitate more effective on-the-job training.  Treat on-the-job learning as a formal training strategy and make sure both the new starter and their buddy is aware of its importance to you. 

  1. Incentivize the learning

Depending how critically important or complicated the topic you’re trying to teach is, you may consider offering rewards or incentives for participating in training and for executing what was trained – think discounts, vouchers, free product, bring a friend along to events.

  1. Include seasonal staff in team meetings.

They will learn a lot about the business.  They will also be a source of training for year-round staff – there’s nothing quite like a fresh pair of eyes!

That certainly does seem like a lot of angles.  Not all of these areas will be relevant to all businesses so identify those that are most important to your’s and concentrate on those.  Value your seasonal staff by providing seasonal training and, in this way, you are sure to improve your visitor experience.

Beir bua!


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