What are Seasonal Skills?
At times in the life of every successful SME (small and medium-sized businesses), changing needs, growth and expansion call for varying worker skills on a short or medium-term basis.
Seasonal skills describe the employment of qualified, professional employees on a flexible part-time basis to adequately fill this need. The expense, time and bureaucracy of finding and hiring permanent employees are thus effectively avoided.
The benefits to SME’s are multi-faceted. Regardless of the title you choose for seasonal skills (short-term, temps, freelancers, work-from-home, consultants) businesses worldwide are embracing this cost-efficient and highly effective way of hiring people.
As a modern forward-thinking business with increasing innovation and competition, the utilisation of reduced-hour part-time staff enables you to quickly implement strategic goals by hiring seasonal skills. In a crisis, highly trained part-time staff can be deployed with their professional expertise to fill a vacuum and meet the current resource needs. This averts the urgency of hiring a full-time employee, along with the heavy costs, time and the hassle endemic to taking on permanent staff.
Seasonal skills are cost-effective
They are not given benefits and are paid per project or on an hourly basis. Thus, holiday leave, public holidays, bonuses, sick leave… no worries! Your part-timer is there on a ‘need-to-have’ basis only. And we’re not talking entry-level skills here. On the contrary, there is a huge variety of highly skilled professionals who are seeking part-time work as a result of family commitments.
Seasonal skills are motivated to perform their tasks professionally, timeously and effectively, often working from home. Research shows that more often than not, temporary employees are more productive than full-time staff, requiring very little management. They are highly experienced, self-motivated and task-oriented.
The benefits of part-time employment to seasonal staff are attractive too.
They are not constrained by company politics and policies. To operate flexibly within their skills framework whilst learning and expanding their experience is exciting and stimulating, as is working in different environments and practices.
How to get the best from Seasonal Skills
The first step is setting up a trusted relationship with a recruitment partner, who will find the available highly skilled short-term employee/s. You will then interview, brief and manage the best person for the job.
In any interview, expectations must be discussed and formalised. Honesty is critical to the success of the project. Communication, whether face-to-face or virtual – if the employee is working from home – should be consistent to ensure a successful outcome. Even the most highly-skilled people need a clear and precise brief about what is expected of them, and when they should deliver it. Outcomes need to be agreed upon to measure productivity.
To avoid any misunderstandings or misconceptions, a concisely worded communications plan is a vital tool to keep all parties on track.
As with most employees, seasonal workers need encouragement. A well-deserved compliment is very much appreciated as is constructive criticism and an honest evaluation. They like to feel as if they are part of the bigger picture and appreciate being informed about the company and its goals.
Importantly, in the interests of a good result and a mutually beneficial working relationship, the organisation should undertake to pay seasonal workers on time. They rely on fast payment turnaround times to survive, and it is demotivating and disheartening when organisations have lengthy and unreliable payment processes.
Seasonal workers don’t hang around chatting at the water dispenser. They are not interested in gossiping. They don’t job-hop. They require very little management. They don’t use your time to Facebook or Tweet. It is in their interests to get the job done efficiently, professionally and timeously.
AND if they work from home, they drink their own coffee and the clumsy ones chip their own coffee mugs.