Many of us have held a seasonal job at some point, particularly as high school or college students working during the summer months. However, seasonal work isn’t reserved for students.
Some people take on temporary positions to supplement their income, while some work seasonal jobs as a lifestyle choice. Others take on a variety of seasonal contracts in order to try different things.
Whether you’re a manager who wants to ensure a great employee returns next year or a student who wants to obtain a reference, it’s important to end the season on a good note. To that end, here are some tips for employers and employees to wrap things up properly.
What is Seasonal Work?
Businesses hire seasonal workers when they only operate during certain months of the year (think of snow removal or summer day camps). By necessity, the contract ends with the season. Meanwhile, year-round businesses might add to their team during busy periods such as the holiday shopping season.
Some typical seasonal jobs include:
- Retail jobs during the holiday shopping season
- Outdoor work, such as construction, landscaping, and snow removal
- Recreation jobs at a summer camp, outdoor pool, national park, or ski resort
- Internships or co-op positions
Tips for Employers
If you want to acknowledge a worker’s contributions and leave the door open for them to return next season, follow these tips.
Review the Employment Contract
It’s important to know how to properly terminate your seasonal workers, which is usually described in the Employment Contract. Some seasonal contracts end on a set date, but others only end upon notice. If that’s the case with your company, ensure you give your employees sufficient notice (usually two weeks) that their contract is ending.
Acknowledge Their Good Work
As with any employee, it’s a good idea to conduct performance evaluations to ensure your workers know that their hard work is recognized and appreciated, particularly if you’d like them to come back next year. Seasonal workers who know they’re valued may be more likely to return.
Remember that good feedback is clear, specific, and fair (for example, don’t fixate on a small error made on their first day). When it comes to giving constructive feedback to an employee, you should clarify the standards expected and provide concrete steps they can take to improve.
Provide an Opportunity for Feedback
Giving your workers the chance to provide feedback in an exit interview can go a long way to improving retention. The opportunity to have their say can improve employee morale and help them feel valued, in addition to building a mutually supportive work environment. Employee feedback also provides you with valuable insights on what you’re doing well as a manager and where your business or leadership needs to improve.
To capture accurate feedback, it’s important to make the employee feel comfortable and discuss the purpose of the exit interview (to gather insights and make improvements). If you think your employees may feel too restricted in a face-to-face meeting, you can have them fill out a survey.
Would They Like to Return?
Share your hiring projections for next year (e.g. how many individuals you plan to hire, and whether you will be promoting experienced workers) and ask your valuable workers if they’d like to return. Do this sooner rather than later so they don’t start job hunting elsewhere.
Tips for Employees
Whether you enjoyed working for the company and want to return next year, or simply want to part with a good reference, here is how to leave a great impression at the end of the season.
Keep Working Hard
You’ve hammered away all summer at your construction job, and probably deserve a break, but it’s important to continue working hard. Slacking off now may influence your performance evaluation and hurt your chances of returning next year.
Thank your Coworkers
Reach out to supervisors or seasoned coworkers who trained or mentored you, and thank them in person or with a handwritten note (a casual email may not appear as sincere).
Acknowledging the team not only is considerate and kind but also may improve your chances of being rehired. When considering candidates next year, your boss may look to the permanent staff for advice, or ask veteran seasonal employees who they’d like to work with again.
Sit Down with Your Boss
First, make sure your boss knows your last day is approaching, to ensure they get your paperwork in order and that you don’t leave a scheduling gap. Chances are your boss will set up an exit interview and/or performance evaluation, but if they don’t, it’s a good idea to request a meeting.
When you sit down with your boss, be sure to thank them for the opportunity, discuss what you’ve learned, and outline where you want to grow. If you’re a student or recent graduate who is building their resume, this is also a good time to ask whether your boss is willing to act as a reference or write you a recommendation letter.
Voice Your Interest in Future Opportunities
If you’d like to return next year, make sure your boss knows. You can show you’re serious by asking about opportunities to move up and ways you can develop your skill set during the off-season.
Similarly, if you’d like to turn your seasonal job into a permanent position, express your interest as soon as possible. Ask your boss whether full-time opportunities presently exist. How have others built their career with the company? What skills and training are necessary to be hired on permanently? Bear in mind that your performance during the season will likely affect whether you’ll be kept on.
Keep in Touch
You can maintain the relationship you built with your boss and the company in a few different ways. Most easily, follow the company on social media and interact every so often by liking posts or congratulating them for achieving milestones.
Another way to keep in touch is by sending the occasional email to your supervisor or mentor. Mention the news you read about the company, request advice or input related to your experience there, or, if you haven’t yet expressed interest in returning, inquire about future opportunities. The main goal of this email is to maintain the relationship and keep yourself front of mind for opportunities that arise.
Leaving the Door Open
Whether you’re the manager or employee, you likely want the experience of working together to go well from start to finish. Following these tips can help both of you end the season on a high note and sustain your relationship.
Do you employ seasonal workers?