How to successfully onboard shift & seasonal workers using internal comms

By Aimee Happ
July 15, 2021
5 min read
Seasonal and shift worker onboarding

By now, you know that an engaged and connected team is crucial to creating a strong, thriving and successful work environment. But studies show that one particular group of employees is at greater risk of being excluded, both from important communications and at times, from your team as a whole: seasonal and shift workers. 

Hiring seasonal and shift workers is nothing new, but as the pandemic ebbs and businesses explore virtual onboarding options alongside implementing a hybrid model, there’s a lot to consider in regards to internal comms.

With this in mind, how can you ensure the onboarding process is seamless and engaging? Is the virtual onboarding model still worth using? And how can you improve your temporary employee experience?

Read on to learn more! 

Make sure your seasonal workers have everything they need to get started

Research conducted by Glassdoor found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. You want your virtual (or hybrid!) onboarding process to be as strong and seamless as your pre-pandemic, in-person one. 

At the height of the pandemic, we handled virtual onboarding by ensuring new remote hires had everything they needed to work and learn from home, from intranet access to the necessary tech accessories. We may be easing into a hybrid model that combines virtual and in-person onboarding, but this still applies. 

Your shift or seasonal employees might be temporary, but they are still valued members of your team, and you want them to be comfortable and prepared to do their jobs. That means having all their tools, logins, onboarding checklists, and more available and on-hand from their very first day.

Consider what can still be done as effectively in a virtual environment, and what’s better suited to an in-person meeting. For example, onboarding checklists can likely be kept to a virtual environment, whereas it might be a good idea to bring back certain in-person gatherings where your seasonal employees can meet their new colleagues for the first time.

Don’t overload your seasonal employees on day one

According to the Harvard Business Review, seasonal staff “often feel like they are being thrown into the fire on day one”, which can trigger a “decrease in self-efficacy—a belief that they lack the tools to do their jobs well”. 

Many seasonal hires are either bombarded with too much training all at once or not enough. But when employees don’t feel properly trained, this can lead to disengagement and unhappiness at work. 

Make space for psychological safety and ensure your new hires are well trained and feel comfortable asking questions. This will make all the difference, not only in their mental health and wellbeing but also in their job performance. 

Click here to learn how to bring calm to the chaos of internal comms. 

Make your seasonal & shift employees feel appreciated and welcome

This goes without saying, but when a new employee joins, make sure they feel welcome! Even if they will only be working at your organization for a few months, create opportunities for them to feel appreciated and excited to work with all of you.

Assign “buddies” to new hires, even if that’s another new hire. We’re all craving connection and interaction more than ever, and your seasonal hires will feel instantly included if they don’t have to learn the ropes all on their own. Host some fun welcome activities, be it a virtual or in-person social gathering. 

Alternatively, why not feature new seasonal employee profiles on your intranet home page? If you don’t have a widget on your intranet home page for this purpose, consider adding one! This feature can highlight your new hires to your permanent staff and also to other recent hires—it’s a simple yet effective way to make new hires feel appreciated.

How to onboard shift and seasonal workers with good internal comms

Create a positive employee experience throughout their term

Creating a positive employee experience for seasonal and temporary workers is extremely important. Think of it this way: a great employee experience equals repeat employees! 

To inspire your temporary workers, you need to motivate them just as you would for your permanent workers, and foster a sense of belonging and collaboration between ALL your employees. 

One way to accomplish this is by leveraging messaging tools and channels to help teams across departments stay connected. This can also help prevent a silo mentality from taking place, something that temporary workers are more vulnerable to.

Learn how internal comms can help you create an excellent employee experience. 

Encourage feedback & two-way communication throughout the onboarding process

Obtaining feedback is an important step in the employee onboarding process, both before (during your hiring process), during, and after. Whether it’s right when the seasonal employee’s contract begins, or sometime during their employment term, ask for feedback on how their onboarding experience was and use this info to improve for next time. 

Better yet, ask your seasonal or shift employees how they would prefer to submit their feedback, whether it’s via your intranet, in person, or through an employee survey. Little gestures like these leave a positive impression on your business, which is exactly what you want to entice new potential hires.

Discover more ways to measure employee feedback (while avoiding survey fatigue) here.

Onboarding shift and seasonal workers

There you have it! Want to improve your seasonal workforce communications in 60 days? Join our exclusive Resort Communications Training Program, where you’ll gain access to our expert training and our intranet software wtith multi-channel messaging capabilities.

You’ll have the choice between both in-person or online sessions, and by the end of 60 days, you’ll walk away with: 

  • An improved employee pre-onboarding process 
  • An urgent messaging comms plan 
  • An improved employee offboarding and engagement strategy
  • Customized sessions tailored to your organization’s specific needs
  • ….and more!

Click here to sign up!

By Aimee Happ

Aimee Happ is proud to lead the marketing team at IC and enjoys working with the dynamic and diverse team that surrounds her. She is inspired on a daily basis by the company's mission of empowering internal communicators. Aimee holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Calgary and loves to travel.