The US starts to prepare for the holiday season, as thousands of seasonal jobs open in Salem, Massachusetts, especially in the retail, hospitality, and entertainment sectors. (Indeed, 2022)
The city of Salem, once known for its witch trials in the late 1600s, is now a popular tourist destination that welcomes more than half a million visitors for parties, museums, walking tours, parades and special events. (Salemhauntedhappenings.org, 2022)
As a result, seasonal businesses here need to be prepared with adequate staffing levels to meet the customer demand and ensure that the disruptive job market doesn’t impact their growth.
Seasonal Hiring for Haunted Happenings in Salem
Salem’s Haunted Happenings is the largest month-long Halloween festival that entertains approximately 1.8 million visitors, annually. The event generates nearly $140 million for US tourism, besides supporting 1000 jobs seasonally. (Salem.org, 2021)
However, the changing employee needs and greater turnover rates post-pandemic have led recruiters to introduce greater workplace flexibility alongside other employee benefits. With more than half of US frontline employees thinking of leaving their jobs next month, it is eye-catching for recruiters to implement smart hiring and retention strategies to retain seasonal workers. (Fuller et al., 2022)
6 Lessons to Take from Seasonal Hiring in Salem
Seasonal hiring during the Halloween season can be a challenge, but Salem has figured out how to do it successfully. Here are some seasonal hiring tips from the city that can help your business find the best seasonal staff:
Post Positions Early to Stay Ahead
“Top candidates don’t stay in the market for long and are snapped up within 10 days of getting available.” (Samra, 2021)
Seasonal workers might start looking for jobs early due to greater unemployment rates across the US. (Published by Statista Research Department & 17, 2022) While the companies looking for seasonal workers in Salem and around, are actively competing to add seasonal staff; advertising for jobs early can help you get ahead of the competition.
Ensure Well-written Job Descriptions
“A well-written job description can get you a flurry of qualified applicants. Conversely, a poorly written job description can significantly expand the number of unqualified applicants.” (Schedulehead, 2020)
Recent socio-economic uncertainties have made employees extremely cautious while opting for new work, whether seasonal or non-seasonal. Hence, investing in well-written job descriptions is a sure way to catch the attention of the right candidates. A professionally written job description is not just about getting the right candidates but also serves as a selling point for the company.
Offer More Than Just a Paycheck
Just having a paycheck simply doesn’t cut it for employees anymore. Seasonal employees are often looking for perks that will make their job more enjoyable and worth their while.
Some benefits and perks that companies can offer seasonal employees include:
- Employee discounts: Many seasonal employees are also customers of the company they're working for. Offering a seasonal employee discount can help attract and retain good seasonal employees.
- Earned Wage Access: With earned wage access, seasonal employees can get paid for the hours they've worked as soon as they clock out, rather than having to wait until their next paycheck. This can be a great perk for employees who are working to make ends meet during the holidays.
- Flexible scheduling: Seasonal employees often have other commitments during the holiday season, so offering flexible scheduling can be a great way to attract and retain good seasonal employees.
Don’t Skip the Onboarding Process
Unfortunately, in the rush to get seasonal employees up and running, many businesses skip this crucial step. Doing so can lead to several problems down the road.
For starters, without a proper onboarding process, new hires are much more likely to make mistakes. This can cost the company money in terms of lost productivity and revenue. Additionally, it can create frustration among other employees who have to pick up the slack.
Skipping onboarding can also lead to high turnover rates, and that too, during the peak season of your business. New hires who don't feel welcome or don't have a clear understanding of their roles are more likely to leave the company. This can be extremely costly, as it takes time and money to find and train replacement employees.
Keep a Long-Term Retention Strategy
Salem has a retention strategy in place to keep seasonal employees coming back year after year. Some of the benefits of working in Salem during Halloween include free admission to Salem's museums, employee discounts at local stores, (Glassdoor, n.d.), and the opportunity to work with a fun and friendly team.
Seasonal Hiring -Summed Up!
The hunt for the seasonal workforce gets challenging for recruiters with every passing season. Changing socio-economic factors along with varying employee needs are surely contributing to this. However, there’s a lot we can learn from the recruitment strategies of businesses in Salem; especially Haunted Happenings as they mark their 40th anniversary this year.
So whether you are a retailer looking to seasonally recruit for Christmas or someone looking to hire for the busiest events, advertise the job post just like you’d do for a permanent position. Keep your job descriptions updated. Don’t hesitate to offer your seasonal workers incentives which could be as basic as early access to earned wages, or discounts at local stores.
Focus on building a rapport with your temporary staff and have a long-term retention strategy in mind that can help you to get back to the same seasonal workers at the same time, next year.