How to Attract, Hire, and Retain Seasonal Workers

how to retain and attract seasonal workers

Hiring seasonal workers is a great way to increase your company’s capacity for a few months at a time without needing to commit to hiring workers all year round.

However, hiring seasonal employees is a competitive business. Other companies are trying to hire the same seasonal employees that you are, and you need to show prospective candidates why your seasonal job is the perfect fit for their needs.

In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about sourcing, attracting, hiring, and retaining seasonal workers.

Let’s jump in!

What are seasonal workers?

Seasonal workers are people hired to work over a specific period.

For example, if you run a water park, you’ll need as many staff as you can get during the busy summer months. But as your business is closed over winter, you can’t commit to hiring full-time staff that need to work all year round.

The arrangement is beneficial for both employee and employer. 

The employee gets to work during a busy time of year but doesn’t need to commit to a full-time, long-term role, and the employer gets to address their staffing needs for a specific period of time.

Where can you find seasonal workers?

There are several ways you can find seasonal employees.

Some of these include:

  • Job boards
  • Recruitment fairs
  • Partnerships with complementary businesses

Today, the number of people taking on seasonal work is at the lowest level since 2008, so you’ll need to stand out and make sure your vacancies get noticed by the right people.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each hiring method.

1. Job boards

Job boards are the most straightforward way to advertise seasonal employment.

Once you know how many staff you’ll need during the summer season, you can post a job on a site like Indeed, Monster, or Glassdoor, listing the requirements and benefits.

 Anyone looking for seasonal work browsing these job boards will see your role and be able to quickly apply.


  • Fast: you can upload a job listing in minutes, and most job boards provide templates you can use.
  • Affordable: most job boards charge fair rates to post a job, so it’s accessible even to small businesses needing to advertise their seasonal work.
  • Wide audience targeting: Anyone searching for a seasonal role in your location will be able to see it, even if they’re not currently based in the same location as your business is.


  • More manual qualifications needed: Popular job boards can lead to a seasonal employment role receiving hundreds of applicants. You’ll need to spend more time sorting through applications, and a high percentage may not be a perfect fit.
  • Not as personalized: Your company culture is hard to convey in a job listing, so you risk missing out on candidates who are searching for a role at a company like yours but weren’t able to see the unique side of your business from the text-based job ad. 

2. Recruitment fairs at targeted locations

Recruitment fairs are another good way to hire seasonal staff.

Your business can set up a stall at a location, such as a university, and get in front of your target audience.

Considering students are one of the primary audiences looking for seasonal work, you’re bound to find at least one great candidate.


  • Highly targeted: You choose which job fairs to attend, so you can make sure you attend ones with an audience matching your ideal workforce. For example, if you know that in the past your summer jobs mainly attracted students, you can set up stalls at local schools and universities.
  • Personalized: An in-person event allows you to have conversations with potential applicants and show off your unique company culture. This can lead to a higher quality of applicants, as everyone applying will already know your business is the place they want to work.


  • Time-consuming: Attending a recruitment fair is an all-day task, and you need to make preparations in advance, so you have resources to hand out to interested candidates. 
  • No guarantees of hiring: Because it’s an in-person event, job fairs can be highly dependent on things like time of year, weather, and people’s other bookings. If the job fair turns out to be on a day that’s raining, you’ll see less foot traffic and potentially miss out on having conversations with applicants. 

3. Partnerships with other businesses

One of the most effective ways to build a reliable seasonal workforce is to partner with complementary businesses.

For example, if your seasonal work is related to watersports, you know the people you’re hiring are interested in sports. You could partner with a business focused on winter sports, like skiing, and ask them to let their seasonal workers know that you’ll be hiring over the summer months.

You could even pay the business a visit and chat with their team and see if anyone would be interested.

If you can build partnerships with other local businesses, you’ll have a reliable candidate pipeline every summer.


  • Pre-qualified applicants: Because your partner business has already been working with applicants, you’ll know they’re going to be able to do the job to a high standard.
  • Reliable: If the business you partner with is a popular destination for seasonal work in the winter, you know they’ll be able to send you a good amount of applicants for your summer roles.


  • Long time scale: Reaching out to temporary workers and seasonal employees several months in advance doesn’t guarantee they’ll be available come summer. Lots of seasonal employees are students and people travelling, so their plans can change over the course of six months.

How to attract seasonal workers

1. Make your requirements clear

The first step to attracting seasonal workers that are a great fit for your business is making your requirements crystal clear by asking yourself these questions:

  • What kind of experience does your seasonal staff need?
  • What skills are optional?
  • Do they need any special qualifications?
  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities? 

If you lay these out clearly, you’ll attract more applicants than if you left the job description vague.

For example, you can pre-empt the number of shifts and hours your seasonal staff will need to work using Voilà’s smart scheduling workflows. You can then lay out the expected hours for the role in your job description so applicants know upfront.

You’ll also increase the quality of the applicants because they’ll apply if they do believe they check all of the boxes.

2. Provide competitive pay and benefits

Hiring seasonal employees is competitive, particularly if your business operates in a busy summer destination.

You need to make it worth your employee’s time and energy by offering a competitive rate, at least in line with the businesses you’re competing with.

This will also help your team show up motivated and willing to give their energy to their work. If you’re offering minimum wage, it’s unlikely you’ll receive any applicants if you’re based in a location where businesses are competing for the best seasonal employees.

If you can offer any extra benefits to seasonal staff – such as discounts to use at other local businesses, or offering to pay their public transport costs while they’re staying in the area – those can be a good motivator too, as well as making your job listing stand out from competing listings.

How to hire seasonal workers

1. Have a structured training system to onboard employees

At the start of the summer season, you need to invest all of your time into training your team of seasonal workers.

While many will have worked seasonal roles before and understand the basics, it’s essential that you get them up to speed on the unique aspects of your company.

Your team will then be equipped to provide an excellent experience to any visitor, even if they’ve only worked at your company for a few weeks.

Voilà lets employees communicate with other team members and managers in a simple but powerful app, so if any new team members have questions about how tasks are done, they can ask and get a reply in minutes.

2. Understand the unique needs of seasonal workers

Seasonal workers can have atypical schedules and unique needs.

You’ll need to be ready to adapt to those needs when hiring seasonal employees for your business.

One way to do that is with Voilà’s smart scheduling feature. You can let employees quickly communicate with other team members through the app, and have the work schedule updated if anyone has a last-minute schedule change and needs someone to come in and take over a shift for the day.

If you show your team that you’re willing to be flexible and provide an excellent employee experience, they’ll be more likely to want to come back again and work at your business next year, or recommend you as an employer to their friends and personal network.

How to retain seasonal workers

1. Create clear incentives for returning workers

Even if someone is only working with you for three to four months over a summer season, that doesn’t mean they don’t want responsibilities. 

You can build an incentive system on encouraging people to return annually, with rewards in the form of new responsibilities, such as:

  • Offering supervisor roles to returning workers
  • Providing increased pay as they have more experience
  • Adding responsibilities if someone wants them

A seasonal worker will happily return if you’re willing to treat them like any full-time team member.

2. Build an engagement strategy to stay in touch

Employee engagement is important during the season, but it’s often overlooked when the summer season ends.

To encourage people to return and work with you again, think about how you can engage them in the off-season.

You can keep in touch with personalized emails and text messages, and make sure they’re the first people to know about your upcoming roles, giving them priority over new applicants. 

If someone knows that they’ll be able to quickly get seasonal work with your company for multiple years running, they’ll be unlikely to waste time applying to numerous other companies. 

Wrapping up

Hiring seasonal employees is a challenge, as you’re often up against other businesses competing for the same workforce.

However, with the strategies we’ve outlined in this guide, you’ll have a competitive advantage over the other businesses in your area this summer season and be ready to hire a high-performing team of seasonal employees.

It’s important to remember that the work isn’t done when you’ve hired your seasonal workforce – you need to keep them engaged, and if possible, retain them for future years to come.

If you’re interested in learning how to easily integrate seasonal workers into your workforce scheduling, contact us today for a free demo.