A Quick Guide To Managing Part-Time Summer Employees
Summer is more than a trip to the beach. For your business, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of seasonal employees.
Whether you run a busy restaurant with seasonal staff or are hiring college interns at your tech company, you need to effectively manage part-time summer employees. If you don’t, things can go haywire fast, and you’ll have a second job trying to manage the chaos.
In this guide, we’ll go over best practices for managing summer employees, so that you can get the most out of your seasonal additions:
Just because someone is there for the summer doesn’t mean you can get away with paying them pennies– and you can’t pay them under the table either.
If you want to ensure that your summer employees are happy and committed, pay the going rate, or above it. For employees who are home from college for the summer, you don’t need to go overboard, but you do need to be competitive.
Each state has different laws on payment schedules, minimum wage, and taxes. Make sure you check up on what you need to know. Your employees might only be around for the summer, but labor laws still apply.
Start with Trust
Yep, trust matters.
According to research by Interaction Associates, 82% of employees think that trusting their managers is essential to their performance at work. But this trust goes both ways– you need to trust your employees, too.
Sure, it’s hard to trust people you don’t know, especially when you know they won’t be around for long. Even though it might be tempting to micro-manage projects and constantly check on part-time employees, this will do more harm than good. If employees feel you don’t trust them, they’ll resent you.
Assume the best of everyone you hire until proven otherwise. The worst case scenario? Someone betrays your trust, and you show them the door.
Prioritize Education & Training
New hires need to be effectively and efficiently onboarded, and they should learn something while they’re working with you.
Consider pairing seasonal hires with year-round employees in a mentorship program. This is a good way to give each hire a point person to help them get up to speed. You can also host training sessions, and send part-time hires to educational events.
If events seem too inexpensive, online trainings are a good option. Just make sure you (or someone you trust) vets the courses carefully. Many are bone dry boring, and aren’t genuinely helpful to your staff.
Expect High Standards
Your summer employees might be greener than the people you’ve got all the time, but that doesn’t mean you should expect less from them.
In fact, NPR ran a story about a group of students that took an IQ test. After they took the test, half were told they were brilliant, likely to be successful, and teachers were clued in, too. A few months, later the students took the same test, and the students who had been told they were gifted performed much better. Why? Because they were held to high standards by their teachers, and there was an expectation they would succeed.
You can harness this principle with your summer employees. Act like high standards are the norm, tell your employees they are talented and you expect them to do well, and lead by example.
Introduce Them to The Team
Your summer employees may only be around for three months, but they’ll only do well if they feel they’re part of the team. So, make them feel included.
Throw a party that introduces seasonal employees to your staff, give them name tags, or hold a meet and greet so everyone can get to know each other. Even if you don’t have a formal event, walk new employees around your establishment and introduce them to each individual. Give them point people to talk to if they have questions.
A mid- or end of summer party is a great way to celebrate seasonal staff. It will give all employees something to look forward to, and allow everyone to socialize outside of work.
Give them Summer-long Projects
Summer-long projects are a great way to help seasonal employees stay committed, especially when the sun is out and it’s tempting to take a few days off.
If you’re hiring employees for an office job, be sure to give summer-long projects that can result in tangible goals and learnings. Make sure these projects reflect not only what you need these employees to do, but also what they want to learn. In office jobs, this is extremely important.
Not only will these projects inspire employees to commit to your company, but it will ensure that they actually get something out of working with you.
Give the Gift of Books
If you’re able, give your employees books to help them get up to speed on trends in business, as well as effective productivity strategies. Books can teach employees things you can’t, and they’ll be able to apply lessons learned in their own way.
Here are some great books to hand over to summer employees:
- Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
- The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
- LinchPin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
Have Them Touch Many Aspects of The Business
Summer employees often feel disconnected. After all, they’re only around for a short time, and it’s hard to build relationships and accomplish their goals in just one summer.
To remedy this, have them touch many aspects of the business. For example, if you work in a restaurant, you might have an employee try out bussing, waiting tables, and hosting. In an office, you might have a summer employee take on a project with the marketing team, as well as the web and engineering teams.
Not only will this give inexperienced employees a feel for what they do and don’t like, but it will make them feel more responsible. as they’ll understand more about your business as a whole.
No Special Treatment
No picking favorites. This should be a given, but sometimes managers forget.
What’s wrong with it? Year-round employees might feel undermined if your favorites are the employees who are only around for the summer, and seasonal employees will feel disconnected if you show your love to everyone besides them.
Yes, some employees will be more skilled than others, but try to give everyone you’ve hired an equal opportunity to succeed, while making them feel welcome. Don’t take certain employees out to lunch, but not others. Don’t give some employees exciting projects.
Ask for Feedback
Throughout the summer, ask for feedback about what’s going well and what isn’t. this will allow you to kill problems before they blow up.
“Conflicts not only affect the business and productivity levels, they affect co-workers and the employee themselves,” Deb Spicer, Author of Power Teams: The New Square Root Model That Changes Everything, told Intuit. “If there’s an issue with a supervisor, it’s even more important to address it quickly, before it trickles down to others.”
Conflicts will naturally arise, but they don’t have to stop you in your tracks. Make sure you address any conflict that a seasonal employee brings to your attention. This will foster trust, and help you improve your organization’s overall culture.
Summer is Here: Enjoy the Help
You’re a great manager, but seasonal, part-time workers are a challenge for all of us.
Managing part-time summer employees is tough, but ultimately, it’s great to have the help. Summer employees bring a fresh, new perspective that can breathe life into your business. Embrace these new personalities, even though they might not be around for awhile. If you’re able to include these new employees, they will help better your business and company culture.
If you follow the advice in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a summer of fun and productivity, all thanks to your effective management.
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