By Barry Sloane
By taking time to prepare wisely and finding the right kind of hire, small businesses can experience significant growth in revenues and operations from summer employees—without a lot of hassle and aggravation.
Before you hire
Planning is key. Small businesses shouldn’t bring on new staffers just because you think they might be useful when things get busy. Small business owners need to put together a job description for the temporary job, just as they would for any other position in the business.
Identifying precisely what you want a summer employee to be doing will help you mobilize the new hire. If the temporary job is likely to entail a variety of responsibilities, small business owners should include those responsibilities with as much detail as possible in the written job description.
From there, small businesses should determine how many hours per week they’ll probably need the employees. If there’s any doubt about the number of hours needed, consider hiring a part-time employee and adding hours to his or her schedule as the need arises.
It’s important to be aware of the minimum wage in your area. Pay rates can vary by state, city or region. News that you’re offering less than a competitive wage for temporary workers could spread among job-seekers and the qualified candidate pool will quickly dry up.
Focus your recruitment effort
Envision the type of worker you want as a summer employee. Plenty of young people are looking for temporary work, and that’s always a good place to start. One option is to contact high school guidance counselors and campus career centers. Once there, you should be able to describe the open position and the kinds of skills you’re looking for and ask the counselors to share this information with their most reliable and talented students.
Older and retired workers are another source of potentially ideal summer employees. Many men and women over 55 are among today’s long-term unemployed, so even those with considerable skill and experience could be interested in a short-term position in your business.
Young or old, the best workers are ones with longer-term potential. When deliberating over possible candidates, small businesses should focus on those qualities that might translate into a full-time hire once the summer is over. Unlike someone brought on for the first time, a summer employee who transitions to full-time status has already demonstrated his or her value and is familiar with your business.
In recruitment materials, small businesses should emphasize the best qualities of the workplace environment. Temporary employees are drawn to a business where it’s fun to work, just as as any full-time candidate would be.
On the job
Once a new hire comes on board, small businesses need to take care of the necessary paperwork. When the season’s over, most temporary employees move on and become difficult to track down. Finding them for additional tax forms can be difficult if necessary at the end of the fiscal year. Getting this paperwork out of the way eliminates an unwelcome nuisance later on.
Small businesses should also be prepared to set aside a reasonable amount of time for training and orientation. Even the best new hires need some help to hit the ground running. Briefing new employees on policies and procedures is necessary, but it’s particularly essential on all aspects of the business that affect customer service. One misstep by an uninformed or poorly trained temporary employee can impact the bottom line. On the other hand, a dedicated and reliable summer employee will help keep your business thriving during the long summer months.
Barry Sloane is the President and CEO of Newtek Business Services. Prior to joining Newtek Business Services, he was a Managing Director of Smith Barney, where he directed the Commercial and Residential Real Estate Securitization Unit; prior to that, he was the national sales manager for institutional mortgage and asset backed securities sales. Sloane was the founder and President of Aegis Capital Markets, a consumer loan origination and securitization business; a Senior Vice President of Donaldson, Lufkin, and Jenrette; and a senior mortgage security salesperson and trader for Bear Stearns, L.F. Rothschild, E.F. Hutton, and Paine Webber.