6 Ways to Ensure a Reliable Workforce During Seasonal Peaks

Across the US, many types of businesses experience the challenges of seasonal demands. Some are in sleepy tourist towns that come alive during the summer; others are manufacturing businesses that ramp up production for a few months a year. Whatever its reason, seasonal fluctuation presents many obstacles for hiring managers.

A recent survey found that 44% of businesses had open summer positions they could not fill, with 38% of those open positions looking for skilled labor. Tasks like forecasting employment needs or attracting (and retaining!) employees in a competitive labor market mean businesses need to be proactive and agile. But hiring the right employees at the right time is easier said than done.

Let’s explore some strategies you can implement to conquer seasonal peaks — whether it's harnessing new analytics, adjusting the way you create schedules, or thinking outside the box around employee transportation.

Climb Seasonal Peaks with the Right Tools

No matter what type of business you own, chances are there is seasonality to your sales cycle. While some businesses face bigger challenges than others, here are six possible approaches to maintaining a dependable workforce  — all the way down to the daily commute.

1. Use Predictive Analytics

Mature businesses may have years of historical data to help plan for seasonal hiring trends, while younger businesses may not. But even the most robust business can't plan for everything. Unexpected shifts in the market, like pandemics or weather events, that quickly change the scope of work within an industry may make mapping future trends extremely difficult.

The good news is that emerging technologies like predictive analytics and workforce management software can help. These digital programs help you harness historical data, using sophisticated algorithms to identify patterns and help predict future outcomes. The results provide more accurate insights into future staffing needs. This approach not only enhances operational efficiency. but also enables your business to predict and adjust to changing market conditions.

2. Cross-Train Employees

There are many benefits for both employers and employees in cross-training, which means training employees to perform tasks or roles outside of their primary responsibilities. Implementing this practice is a great way to create flexibility in staffing assignments during seasonal peaks. Not only does this equip your employees with skills to adapt quickly to evolving workloads, it also allows for better collaboration and engagement between different departments. Furthermore, cross-training alleviates some of the challenges associated with employee turnover and unexpected absences. Overall, investing in employee cross-training can help enhance your business’s resilience and employee satisfaction.

3. Implement Flexible Schedules

Flexible schedule options like staggered shifts, split shifts, or compressed work weeks provide benefits for both your business and your employees. For instance, offering flexible schedules allows you to manage fluctuating workloads while accommodating your workforce's needs or preferences. Staggered shifts allow for a more equalized distribution of the workload, and split shifts offer a better work-life balance for your employees. In fact, post-pandemic studies have found that 43% of employees reported an increase in overall productivity when offered flexible schedule options. A strengthened company culture from happier and more productive employees is a benefit to all.

4. Offer Overtime and Incentives

Offering overtime and incentives is another great way for seasonal businesses to overcome fluctuations in demand. Providing opportunities for additional compensation or rewarding employees willing to work extra hours incentivizes flexibility within your workforce.

Studies show that requiring overtime can inadvertently negatively impact morale and productivity.  On the other hand, offering overtime as a choice to those willing to take advantage of it can positively impact employee satisfaction. Incentives such as extra vacation days or flexible start and finish times helps sweeten the pot. These increased pay opportunities and rewards can not only foster loyalty, but make filling extra shifts easier for you, too.

5. Start an Employee Retention Program

Recent estimates find that it costs a company 6-9 months of a person’s salary to replace them — meaning high turnover can significantly impact your business's financial health. This is why starting and maintaining an employee retention program can be so beneficial. These programs can consist of a combination of many different employee benefits. Examples include career development workshops, tuition reimbursement, employee-of-the-month programs, bonuses, and performance-based incentives.  By implementing one or more of these employee retention benefits, your business can cultivate a supportive and engaging work environment that encourages employees to stay committed and motivated for the long term. Additional perks such as creating channels for open employee feedback, giving workplace flexibility, and organizing team-building activities may also help boost morale.

6. Ensure Reliable Transportation

Dependable transportation is a must for anyone seeking employment, yet an estimated 45% of Americans don’t have access to public transportation. Couple that with the challenges faced by people who rely on seasonal work, live in rural areas, or are scheduled for shifts outside of standard business hours, and transportation becomes an even more important issue.

This is one reason why offering reliable transportation solutions provides benefits for both employers and employees. For instance, you can minimize the risk of tardiness and absenteeism, especially during peak seasons and when the work matters most. You may also see the added bonus of boosting employee morale by reducing commuting uncertainties. Those people will benefit by having reliable access to steady employment, which means they are less likely to live at or below the poverty line.

Providing reliable transportation options to current and potential employees means your businesses will be better equipped to navigate the challenges of peak seasons. Best of all, SHARE is here to help you and your employees be the best they can be.

Conquer Seasonal Peaks with SHARE

Has your business been impacted by high turnover rates due to transportation challenges during seasonal peaks? Has your business found itself saying “no” too often to potential employees because of unreliable transportation?  If so, our team of experts at SHARE Mobility is here to talk to you about the many opportunities available. Contact our team today to learn how you can make seasonal employment challenges a thing of the past.

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