Today, as businesses across the United States reopen, bar owners and managers may be scrambling to call workers back while determining how many employees they need to sustain operations—and how many they can afford to employ while revenue is down. This creates a massive uncertainty in hiring staff.
Seasonal and temporary workers have a number of benefits for a bar. There is often a shorter hiring process as you’re not necessarily looking for a long-time cultural fit, there are reduced long-term labor costs as you’re not providing a salaried position and, perhaps the most alluring, the position is extremely flexible, allowing you to better respond to changing market needs and demands.
Society Insurance, which specializes in coverage packages and risk control services for the bar industry as well as other trades, has four tips to help bar owners and managers be effective in hiring qualified seasonal workers.
1. Focus Efforts on Students or Retirees
College students with seasonal breaks, such as summers off or a winter break, are typically looking for short-term employment to make a little extra cash. Another viable seasonal employee pool includes retirees. Nearly 10,000 baby boomers retire every day; many of them have flexible schedules and may want something to occupy their time or supplemental income for hobbies and vacations.
If a student or retiree is a good employee, let them know they can come back next year. It’s far easier to retain a good employee than it is to find another.
2. Start Looking Well in Advance
As soon as you know temporary help will be needed, begin your candidate search. Many students look for jobs well in advance in order to coordinate with their busy schedules.
Advertise on local job boards, reach out to schools and leverage social media, including on your social media channels, in Facebook groups and on NextDoor. Exhaust your free resources before reaching out to a staffing agency unless you are pressed for time. Consider an employee referral program with a small incentive to get existing employees to refer people they know and trust.
Having a roster of temporary workers on-hand who you can contact to begin work immediately if you’re in a bind is smart business.
3. Set Clear Expectations with Every Job Candidate
Give as many details as possible about the position in the job description and throughout the interview process. Be clear on the duration of the job, and set your expectations of the skills and experience required – and stick with it.
To lessen the need of continually hiring workers throughout a season due to workers quitting halfway through, some businesses offer an “end of season bonus,” which can be beneficial to a company that is looking for staff to end on a very specific date.
4. Know Seasonal Employment Liabilities
Employing seasonal workers can be tricky. Be sure to confirm with your legal counsel on your specific state’s regulations of seasonal workers. For example, mis-classifying a worker as an “independent contractor” can open the business up to potential liabilities.
Acknowledge employment duration in interviews and in writing and ask the employee to sign a formal offer letter prior to the start date. Additionally, read up on your state labor laws to see if overtime exemptions and workers’ compensation apply to your business.
Seasonal employees can be a smart business investment. By following these four tips, the hiring process can be more efficient and beneficial for your bar.
To learn more about staffing and other issues in the bar industry, visit Society Insurance’s blog.
By Becca Freiberg, Human Resources Generalist for Society Insurance. Becca has worked in Human Resources for 5 years and has experience in benefits, wellness, recruitment, employee engagement and development. Becca joined Society Insurance in 2019.