How To Build Culture and Community When Your Staff is Seasonal
When your staff is seasonal, building culture and community can be a challenge. Work schedules are usually full, making it hard to find time to bring everyone together. It can also seem counterintuitive to devote time towards fostering a community of togetherness when you don’t know if your current staff will be back during the next season. Regardless, establishing a culture within your company is vital for its success, no matter how often your employees work. People thrive on genuine connections, both to the company and each other.
Here are eight ways you can build culture and community among seasonal staff:
1. Define Values and Mission
The first task you should prioritize to help you build a community is to define your company’s values and mission. Officially establishing the values your business places above all others, as well as a specific purpose, sets the tone for your employees. It ensures everyone operates under the same premise—towards a shared goal— as one functional unit.
2. Invest in Training
Don’t slack on training just because your staff is seasonal. The money you’ll save won’t be worth losing the community of support you can build among your employees—and you may hire the employee again next season. You should strive to position your company as one that cares about its employees and their success, similar to how you would operate with non-seasonal staff. Offering standard training opportunities is sure to boost employee motivation and morale; it also encourages employees to give their coworkers a helping hand when needed. A positive work culture starts at the top.
3. Use Communication Tools
If you want to foster more togetherness, you should consider using communication tools that can help each employee stay connected. Tools like Slack, Google Chat/Hangouts, and Gmail are all efficient at sending messages, depending on how many employees you have. You might also use a scheduling software that has communication tools, although most communication on this system would be about scheduling changes, conflicts, availability, etc. Being able to communicate with others in the company reminds employees they are a part of a team.
4. Give Feedback
Giving feedback is generally a must-do when it comes to permanent employees; however, it is also essential for seasonal workers. Both positive and negative feedback is essential if you want your staff to grow more than just in number. It gives them an opportunity to learn about their strengths and weaknesses as well as how they need to approach these areas in their current position. This is a good way for you to establish a growth-minded culture built on honesty, trust, and respect.
5. Request Feedback
Similar to how you give feedback, you should request it. Soliciting feedback from seasonal employees can make a huge difference in how they perceive your company. It shows that their opinions matter. You could consider having round-table discussions or group meetings to discuss potential solutions for ongoing issues. Employees usually find it easier to connect to companies that operate with an open mind and are willing to listen to what they have to say.
6. Build Long-term Relationships
An employee’s seasonality shouldn’t dictate the length of your relationship with them. Seasons come, go, and come back again. Take an interest in your seasonal employees (their work style, goals, likes, dislikes), and work to establish a positive long-term relationship with them. Stay connected during the offseason by sending birthday and holiday cards that you may have otherwise missed.
7. Host Fun Company-wide Events
In the middle of all the work, don’t forget to play. Consider hosting some fun company events regularly, and be sure the seasonal staff is invited. One event you could throw is a holiday party; it could be for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, and so on. By creating a culture of inclusion, you’ll be working to prevent some employees from feeling like they’ve been left out and/or are less important than more permanent staff.
8. Have Team-Building Activities
In addition to throwing company events, you should also consider committing to at least one team-building activity each season. This could be as simple as doing a group scavenger hunt to signing up for full-on paintball fights with the team divided into groups; escape rooms are also popular among work teams. This is good for creating a more relaxed atmosphere, especially at the beginning of a season when there are new team members on board.
It’s important to build community among your seasonal staff from the beginning. Do your best to establish trust and ensure they know that they are valuable members of the team.