Work that doesn’t occur all year-round is referred to as seasonal work, and companies will hire additional staff in line with seasonal fluctuations. These times of year can be very stressful, especially if you fail to anticipate staffing needs and cash flow, or don’t understand your obligations when hiring temporary staff. With this in mind, here are some tips for hiring with seasonal fluctuations.

1. Hire ahead of time

Not having enough staff available to cover busy periods is one of the most difficult situations an employer must deal with. Given this, make sure you always have enough ‘spare hours’ to allocate in the event that your staffing needs increase unexpectedly during seasonal fluctuations.

Often this involves hiring ahead of time – sometimes even months in advance. For busy times like the Christmas holiday period, you may need to begin the hiring process as early as October.

This provides plenty of extra time for training, as well as the ability to reassess any staff that you hired but turn out to be unsuitable.

2. Understand your obligations as an employer

Australia’s employment system is complex and highly regulated. Most of the time this is a good thing, as there are a number of protections built into the system that benefit both employers and employees. However, it can be quite easy to accidentally fail to uphold your obligations as an employer when hiring temporary workers.

Thankfully there are a number of useful resources that will help you as an employer to fulfil your obligations and avoid legal headaches. The best of these is the Fair Work Ombudsman which provides all the necessary information on Australia’s casual employment system.

3. Take cash flow into account

Seasonal fluctuations in your business will lead to variable cash flow, and this can make predicting your ability to meet expenses over time difficult, especially for new and growing businesses. Given this, it’s important that you develop an accurate cash-flow forecast. This will give you the ability to carefully target your expenditure, and this can be used to determine when you’re able to afford new hires and when you may need to let temporary workers off.

If you use Ability Options to find employees to support your staffing needs during seasonal fluctuations, you can have costs such as recruitment and training partially covered by the wage subsidy scheme. This can assist you in covering the expenses associated with temporary hires and reduce your cash flow concerns.

4. Take advantage of labour hire and contract staff

Hospitality businesses are often subject to massive fluctuations in staffing needs due to sporting events, holidays or other events. So if you’re in an industry like this, it may be more economical to use labour hire or contract agencies to cover your staffing needs, rather than hiring new staff yourself. Using labour hire and contract staff is a great way to quickly get temporary staff, and without the added costs and hassle associated with hiring new staff.

5. Don’t under-staff

While it may be tempting to keep your staffing levels low at all times of year to cut costs, this can quickly become problematic during seasonal fluctuations. Be sure to maintain the appropriate level of staffing at all times of year, particularly during busy periods. If you fail to adequately staff during busy periods, you may find that customers will be less satisfied with your service and you’ll have high turnover from overworked staff.

6. Think about the long term

One of the best things about hiring staff to cover seasonal variations is the ability to identify promising candidates for long-term roles. Often, the stressful nature of busy trading periods proves to be an excellent opportunity for staff to demonstrate their skills and value. As an employer, take careful note of outstanding work.

7. Take training into account

One of the most difficult aspects of managing new hires is the process of getting them up to speed. Training may be quick or take a long time depending on the procedures you have in place, safety and accreditation needs, and the industry you’re in.

In order to get the most out of your new hires, it’s worthwhile to use staff trainers and develop a training manual. This will not only improve the quality of new staff members, but also provide an insight into the total time you can expect it to take to train new staff members for future reference.

8. Think about your business needs

There are often a number of factors you need to consider in your business, such as the different roles you have to hire for and varying levels of demand. But ultimately, the decision to hire for seasonal fluctuations and the processes you implement is based on the needs of your business, so don’t be afraid to experiment and try new rosters or strategies. At the end of the day, the best hiring strategy is the one that works for your business.

Managing your staffing needs

With over 40 years experience Ability Options supports people looking for work through a number of different programs to find a job that’s right for them. Contact us for more details on why you should consider using our no cost recruitment services to satisfy your staff hiring needs during seasonal fluctuations.

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