After you’ve successfully recruited seasonal employees for the 2021 holiday season, how do you make sure they’re quickly onboarded and trained? Here’s your ultimate guide to employee onboarding and training…and possibly retain seasonal employees for the long-term too!
The 2021 holiday season will be the most challenging yet, thanks to the competition for seasonal workers amid the “Great Resignation”.
Since most businesses are critically understaffed, getting your employee onboarding right from the get-go is even more important than ever…both in the sense that it could get your holiday season off to the right start, but also in that it could mean some of your seasonal hires stick around for the long-term.
Here’s your ultimate guide to employee training and onboarding, for a truly celebratory (and well-staffed) holiday season!
Employee Onboarding: Are Your Employees Truly On Board?
When it comes to employee onboarding, you need to ask yourself whether they’re truly “on-board”. Sure, every employee can check off items on an onboarding checklist, but how can you really tell that they have taken your company culture and values to heart, and continue to demonstrate them day in and day out?
Any employee training your seasonal employees undergo reflects an inherent tension: you need them, and they need this job, but the unspoken question hangs in the air: how much time and energy are you going to invest in their training? Employee onboarding doesn’t come cheap, and that cost is amplified with every new, temporary hire. Add to those extra work incentives for seasonal hires, and you could find yourself investing heavily in hires that don’t make the cut.
All of this begs the question: how effective is your current employee onboarding process and does it give both employees and their managers the knowledge and positive experience that it should?
Does your current employee training provide the right professional knowledge, but also keep them motivated and productive? If there’s even a shadow of a doubt, then your current employee training program might need to be tweaked.
An Employee for Life, Not Just the Holidays
Seasonal employees, as well as their managers, typically want to keep a good thing going if it suits both sides.
Seasonal employment can be a dress rehearsal for a more permanent job, and as such, any employee onboarding that takes place should consider:
- How to make seasonal employees feel connected – to their workplace and to their coworkers, both permanent and temporary staff
- How to motivate seasonal employees to potentially consider staying on for a permanent position
- How to reward and appreciate seasonal workers, who may be navigating a lot of new information, people and environments all at the same time!
And that’s where a solid employee onboarding program fills in the gaps.
Your All-In-One Solution for Employee Onboarding: Connecteam
Because your new seasonal employees usually enter your organization just as the holiday season is ramping up, they can be the first to feel the pressure, as well as the confusion of finding themselves in a brand new environment. This employee training period is crucial to ensure they feel supported, happy and engaged, and can perform their job to the best of their ability.
Yet, managers across the board often just don’t have the time (especially not during the holiday season!) to give new employees – especially ones that might not be in it for the long-term – the dedication and, well, in-depth, nurturing and supportive employee training that’s really needed.
The best onboarding tip we can give you: you need outside support. Connecteam is the all-in-one app that is designed exclusively for managers looking to support and train employees, even in the case of high-staff turnover.
From in-depth, interactive self-guided employee onboarding (via the app’s courses and forms), to a range of cross-organizational communication tools (such as one to one private chats, and all-staff updates), Connecteam is the best way to get all of your employee training needs off to the best start possible: standardized each and every time, no matter who joins, when and to which department.
But, more on that later: all of this begs the question: what concrete steps can you take to help your employee training go off without a hitch, and be truly effective?
Like this. Here’s our quick employee onboarding checklist:
1. Digitize your employee onboarding
Not only is this a more efficient way to ensure every new employee is on the same page (whether they’re seasonal, full-time, part-time or even flexi-working), but taking things digital massively reduces your admin costs and potential for human error.
Just some of the ways that digitizing your employee training can reduce your admin tasks include:
- Filling out all personal information (such as contact information, emergency contacts, allergy information, tax forms etc)
- Automate the process and management for any absence request, shift-swapping and more
- Easily keep up to date with employer personal detail changes, such as change of address, contacts entails etc.
When it comes to your employee onboarding, the entire process can even be self-guided by employees, no matter if they’re mobile, on-the-go, based across locations or anywhere beyond a desk: using an app for employee training means your employees can guide themselves through tasks and processes like:
- Reading a formal, personalized letter welcoming them to the company
- Seeing and working through a personalized onboarding checklist
- Filling out their personal details (as outlined above)
- Signing a confidentiality agreement
- Completing their criminal record background checks
- Sending a copy of their ID, or any other needed documents or images
- Completing important policy trainings, such as health and safety, sexual harrassment prevention and so on.
- Signing in and out for their uniform, equipment, badges and anything that needs to be monitored.
…then for you as an employer, you can receive regular notifications of when certain actions or items have been completed, or even export all employee onboarding processes currently in progress to a centralized report to allow you to swiftly keep track of everyone and everything.
2. Speedy employee training, no compromises
The quickest way to drain and demotivate your employee is to have them undergo the “wrong” kind of employee training. That is, a more school-style approach, where employees have to spend valuable time sitting, actively listening and likely taking notes instead of experiencing things for themselves and guiding their own remote onboarding.
Putting your employee training literally into their hands via their smartphone turns employee training a much more fun and interactive experience, not to mention, a more effective way to transfer all of the necessary information they might need to know. Not only is the information accessible at all times, but it gives employees a sense of ownership and allows them to go at their own pace.
Designing a remote onboarding for employees could include:
- A range of interactive courses and quizzes, based around the information they‘ve been given elsewhere
- A multi-format way to provide training materials, including over video, links, pdfs, making everything much more fun and engaging, not to mention, suitable for every type of learner!
- You as a manager can have a 360-overview of the entire progress and performance of the entire remote onboarding process.
3. Keep employees engaged, connected and communicative
Your seasonal employees are likely coming into an environment where they’re surrounded by more longer-term team members (not to mention, across various types of shifts, locations, or even far-flung or isolated environments beyond the reach of any seasoned staffer), and might feel a little excluded or disconnected to start with. The fact that retail is already an industry with one of the highest average staff turnovers at 13% only further shows that your staff need to feel supported and included right from the get-go.
Even if both sides know that this is a temporary solution, it’s no secret that motivated and happy employees perform better (not to mention, could end up working for the company for the long-term).
So, with all that said, how do you get off on the right foot with your seasonal employees, helping them both through their employee training and also making them feel warmly welcomed, no matter where they’re based?
The short answer is, by having your remote onboarding thoroughly infused at every step with your company culture, and having access to an employee communication app.
The longer answer is, by creating a whole other type of onboarding checklist that reflects your company culture, which could include:
- New employee announcements, welcoming each new starter to the company
- Public recognition or celebration when an employee going above and beyond
- Sending rewards – either digital or offline
- Providing employees with an easily accessible directory, allowing them to reach out to other employees, as well as management, simply and easily.
- Create different “channels”, such as specific chat groups or meetings, to allow easier and more direct communication, such as a channel just for shift updates or swaps, or a channel just related to COVID safety.
4. Keep employees safe and compliant
Especially in this day and age, no one – not management, not seasonal or permanent staff – take safety and compliance for granted. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more important to stay up to date and to be in near-constant communication with staff, in order to get an overview on the latest regulations…not to mention, knowing who is available to work or not.
And, COVID-aside, all staff need to know and feel that they are in a safe place to work, however for seasonal staff, understanding all of the potential workplace hazards and safety protocols will likely take more time than for longer-term staff. Keeping staff safe and compliant serves both sides, as your business also needs to protect itself from potential lawsuits.
Yet, with all of the extra stress and increase in activity during the holiday season, how do you as a business ensure that your seasonal staff are both kept safe and compliant?
The answer? Keeping all documentation related to safety and compliance available in one, digital and easily accessible knowledge base.
Your safety and compliance onboarding checklist could include:
- Having all your safety protocols and documentation available in an online knowledge base
- Having a digital way to post updates to all employees, with tracking to ensure that every person has seen them
- Have a range of safety documentation (such as incident report forms) available instantly and online, to be submitted online at the click of a button
5. Make sure to get (and give) feedback
Who doesn’t love feedback? We all like to know when we’re doing something right, and that goes for both sides of the seasonal employment market.
Employees, especially seasonal employees who are brought into the company at the most frenzied time of the year, want to be praised and recognized. For you as a representative of the company, you want to ensure they are doing their job to the best of their ability. In both cases, feedback is absolutely essential to keeping both sides happy, as well as a motivated and productive employee.
Feedback is a tricky beast at the best of times, and the best place to start implementing a culture of feedback is right from the beginning of your employee onboarding.
Having a digital, remote onboarding solution can make giving and receiving feedback a much more streamlined process, for example:
- Gathering as much information as possible, understanding how your employees feel about their onboarding process and are responding to it, analyzing the information presented and then using it to make further employee onboarding decisions.
- Asking your seasonal employees for regular feedback, to allow them to share their opinions (which are especially valuable as these employees have a fresh outlook on your business). You can use an anonymous online suggestion box to do this.
- Make sure you act on the feedback received, if it’s legitimate. Demonstrate that you’ve taken their suggestions and understanding and make the changes to the best of your ability. You can then digitally update the rest of the team about these changes, therefore promoting a culture of feedback!
6. Set a clear and streamlined schedule
Employee scheduling is tough at the best of times, especially when a new group of seasonal employees swell the ranks of your usual scheduling system!
It’s even tougher if you’re relying on manual pen and paper schedules, which will cause delays, countless errors (hey, you’re only human!) as well as inadvertently have to be redone again and again as things change in real-time. That means, every Excel sheet will have to be updated near-constantly as your staff’s ability changes, not to mention, resent to each team member with every new update!
But…if you digitally delegate your employee scheduling to an online solution, employees will be able to update their own availability and unavailability, for you to work around them, that and, will even be able to claim cancel or swap a shift with another employee, all without you having to be a part of the process.
A clear schedule works wonders for both employees and management, including –
- One-click templates, quick actions and otherwise, to allow you to streamline every employee’s shift assignments, meaning no more double-bookings or no-shows! Everyone is aligned, all the time.
- Push notifications to keep your employees informed every time they’re assigned or removed from a shift, or a new shift is available for them to claim!
- In case of scheduling conflicts or sudden emergencies, employees can communicate with you via the scheduling’s chat feature, allowing you to easily resolve any issue (and even find a replacement quickly, thanks to other employees listing their availability!)
7. Model the career potential
Once you’ve gone to all the effort of completing your employee onboarding you might find that there are some true standouts, who you could see continuing with your company for the future.
It’s therefore more important than ever to make your employees understand that they have the potential to continue with our company for the long-term, and to even begin training them into new roles. Some ways you could encourage seasonal staff to look towards the long-term include:
- Advertising new job openings via the online knowledge base, as well as making internal applications a streamlined process
- Provide a range of knowledge management tools in your online library, allowing employees to read more about job openings, as well as a knowledge base regarding specific roles’ professional needs and capabilities
- A 1:1 chat directory to allow employees to communicate with other employees regarding hiring, job roles, or otherwise.
The Bottom Line: Connecteam – Your All-in-One Employee Training and Retention Solution
Employee onboarding and training is never easy, and especially not when there are so many other priorities to take care of (hiring! Preparing for the busy season! COVID!).
Yet, get your employee training right and you could be looking at retaining several seasonal employees for the long term. Get it wrong, and you might have to start looking for more seasonal employees sooner rather than later.
Employee training doesn’t have to be a laborious task: you can easily delegate it to a remote onboarding process, thanks to an effective, easy to use and deploy employee training app: Connecteam.
For 20,000+ businesses worldwide, Connecteam has helped businesses with mobile workforces with their business needs, including remote onboarding, retention and scaling, year in, year out. You as a business get to effectively communicate with your seasonal staff, easily create schedules around their needs and provide them with all of the information they need to know about, in just a few clicks.
Get your busiest season and seasonal staff off to the right start with Connecteam: book a free product demo to see how Connecteam can make your busy season the busiest and best it has ever been.
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