3 ways to engage your seasonal frontline employees

With the holiday season comes a hiring wave, particularly in the hospitality industry – and that’s a lot of responsibility for HR. For instance, how do you ensure employee motivation and engagement among frontline employees who have only committed to your business or brand for the short term? 

How do you go about fast onboarding and giving an employee experience that’ll resonate and motivate? And the biggest question of all, how do you use a beneficial employee engagement strategy when it’s clear that there’s an expiry date?

Seasonal frontline employees – is engagement important?

It’s no secret that disengaged frontline employees are costly. And low retention, little effort, and low morale are also common among seasonal employees. Even when they start off as engaged, it’s common for the hot summer days and demanding customers to take a toll on engagement levels as early as mid-season. Now imagine this: a productive, invested workforce, that is generally happy to be part of your work culture. There’s a higher chance that those seasonal employees will return to work for your company in the following years and possibly become top performers, motivating others along with them. Recurring frontline employees also means that you have less staff to onboard, and more staff that know the ropes – that’s the dream.
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So, how do you go about employee engagement with seasonal frontline workers when their job may only last a few months? You desperately want to retain them, especially if your business is understaffed. We get it. Here are three ways to engage your seasonal frontline employees:

1. Focus on onboarding

By putting in the time to train your seasonal employees and properly onboard them, you’re actually investing in your potential future workforce and up-skilling your frontline employees. It’s crucial to engage your frontliners with onboarding programs both for employee well-being and employee motivation.

  • Give learning opportunities. By giving them learning opportunities and something to focus on, you’re investing in their return and increased business. Still, as employee engagement expert Matt Heller said, it’s not entirely realistic that your new employees may be as excited about the company’s mission as their full-time colleagues.
  • Make proper introductions. Take the time to help seasonal employees orient themselves to their teams as well as to the company’s mission or vision. By doing that you’re giving them purpose beyond their task and as a result, making the job less transactional and more engaging. Help them understand why they do what they do.
  • Don’t overwhelm. Remember to break down onboarding into parts to give seasonal employees time to digest the information and ask any questions they may have.
  • Share growth opportunities. If it’s the case, let frontline employees know that there is a chance to become full-time employees down the line. It’ll motivate them further and possibly encourage a stronger connection to the company’s mission.

2. Use an employee hub

Your seasonal frontline employees are onboarded (hooray!), but where do they ask questions, read guidelines, check vacation days, receive payment slips, message their colleagues, see company news or check their schedules, for example? That’s why you invest in an employee hub – one app that starts and ends your frontline employees’ day. It’s essentially their 9 to 5, a place where they can find anything from the tap of a button on their very own mobile device be it on the store’s floor or on the go.

An employee hub is also a great way to recognize good work and celebrate achievements, reaching the entire company no matter where they are. Let seasonal employees know that they’re doing a good job and make them feel valued.

You may even use the employee hub to invite frontline employees to company events and gatherings. It’s bound to help them better connect with their teams and let them experience the company culture – increasing employee motivation. Other perks you can include are discounts and incentive programs for instance that you can share with them directly from the app.

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3. Employee engagement beyond the season

Why wave goodbye to your seasonal frontline employees at the end of the season, when you could stay in touch, leave a positive impression, and encourage them to return? Make an effort to stay in touch and try to keep them involved and connected with your company. One way to do it is to set a calendar reminder that ensures regular contact, invite them to large events or simply add them to a mailing list and keep them in the loop.

Another method to encourage employee engagement and productivity from seasonal employees is to introduce a referral program, even after they’ve left so that you continue to have hard-working and dedicated frontline employees. An example of a referral program could be a gift card to any employee who refers a new hire. That way you’ve secured hard workers for the following season, and generally encouraged positivity in your company culture.

How Hotel Okura manages Employee Engagement