By Taylor Tuomie
Most green industry businesses are seasonal. Other than a few parts of the country, they can only really operate during a few months of the year. Because of that, there is no way that companies can afford to keep all of their employees on full time. If any, smaller to medium sized green industry businesses only pay a year round salary for one or two employees.
Seasonal employees are a must. But they don’t always feel like or seem like they’re part of your team. That can cause issues. You might have uninterested, lackadaisical seasonal employees who cut corners and just don’t care about your customers since they’ll only be around for the season. How can you get past this and create a culture that enables and empowers even your seasonal green industry employees? Here are four tips to make them feel part of your team.
Communication is one of the keys to building a successful team in general. With your seasonal employees, it is even more important. Since they are only going to be working for you for a limited time, you need to ensure that all of your expectations are clearly stated and that all of their expectations are understood.
Don’t lead seasonal employees on. If they’re needed for a two month duration, don’t lead them on and say that there is a possibility for full-time after their seasonal work is done if that isn’t the case. Before you hire any seasonal workers, make your needs clear and ensure that those needs align with their expectations.
Once they are hired, you need to make a conscious effort to communicate effectively. If you have your seasonal employees on different crews, make sure that your crew leaders know this, too.
In order to make your seasonal green industry employees part of your team, you need to include them in company meetings, events and training. The last of the three is the most important. Your seasonal workers should be trained on your particular processes and on your equipment.
In our 2016 Green Industry Benchmark Report, we saw a correlation between training and business growth. The companies that trained their employees grow at a faster rate.
Understand their motivations
It is important to understand what motivates your seasonal employees. Most likely, it will be compensation. However, they might be more motivated if they have the prospect of being hired on full time, or if they have the chance to be hired on again in the future.
Hold weekly check in meetings with your seasonal employees. Get to know what they’re expecting to get out of the job. Having weekly check in meetings will also give you a good idea of whether or not you need to be training your guys more, too.
Keep in touch
After the season is over, keep in touch with your seasonal workers. It is a good way of keeping a pool of qualified candidates for a full-time position if that ever does come up. Also, keeping in touch with seasonal employees will help you find out if you’ll need to find other seasonal workers when it comes time to expand the team again.
Check in with them in the off season. I worked as a tennis court resurfacer for 3 summers and in Minnesota, that is very much so a seasonal gig. But every winter our boss would get all the guys together for a holiday party, we just went out to eat and talked. It was a good way for him to gauge if we were happy with the position and get to learn if we had something else coming up.