Suzanne Lucas

Asking Seasonal Workers to Stay for the Long Term

When you hire seasonal workers, they take the gig expecting it to end on a specific date — typically after the holidays or summer season. They know this job will not guarantee continued employment. For some of your seasonal workers, that’s a bonus, but many would love to receive a full-time offer.

So, how do you transition a standout seasonal worker into a full-time, year-round employee? If you are considering extending an offer of full-time employment, here’s what you need to know.

What Business Factors Should You Consider?

Your business is swamped with work during your busy season, but are you sure that you have enough work to support an additional full-time employee the rest of the year? Remember, a regular full-time employee is eligible for benefits, including health insurance. You want to be sure you will have enough work for the person to do, as well as enough income to pay the employee and provide benefits.

Who Deserves a Full-Time Job Offer?

Often, managers pick the person they think is the best fit from among the staff, whether because of personality, work ethic or another good reason. But that may not be the best method. Instead, let your seasonal employees know that you have a certain number of regular positions opening up at the end of the season and allow them to apply. (It’s important not to use the term “permanent position” because that may indicate an implied contract, and you don’t want to do that.)

When you open up applications, you find out which employees have an interest in a regular job — and it may not be the list you thought. People you thought would be happy with a regular job may not apply, while people you thought were going back to school or back home with the kids may be the first to sign up.

Conduct casual interviews and speak with their direct supervisors (if that’s not you). The discussions can be somewhat casual, since you already know they are capable of doing the work. From there, pick the best candidates and make an offer, just as you would a job candidate off the street.

How Do You Make the Offer?

Give the employee a formal written offer that details their salary, benefits and start date as a year-round employee, as compared to their current status of a seasonal worker. Identify a definite end date for their seasonal work and a clear start date for them as a year-round employee.

If there will be differences in the two jobs, indicate those when you make the job offer. For instance, seasonal work can often be heavily focused on client contact, while off-season work might be more focused on planning and process. Make sure that everyone understands any new responsibilities they may have.

If your seasonal worker is employed through a staffing agency, clear the hire with the agency before making the formal offer. Otherwise, you could end up violating the terms of your contract.

Why Tapping Seasonal Staff Is a Good Recruitment Solution

Finding the right people is often the most challenging part of running a business. Hiring full-time staff from your seasonal workers allows you to start recruiting with a lot more information about the candidates than you usually have. You don’t need to ask them how they would handle a demanding customer, because you’ve seen them do it.

If your business has seasonal hires, this is an excellent way to grow your year-round staff. You know what you’re getting when you make the offer, and that’s more than you can do with a traditional resume and interview.

Stay up to date on the latest health care regulations and trends for your small business: Subscribe to our monthly newsletter.