When somebody mentions seasonal employment, you might think of things like ski resorts, golf courses and swimming pools.
Small and medium-sized businesses of all kinds, however, bring on additional staff during their peak periods of the year – and not always because of the weather.
But what happens when a growing company’s short-term surges start bleeding into the rest of the calendar year? And when is the right time to make the switch to more permanent positions?
Stick to the numbers
The bottom line when considering additional headcount of any kind is it must address the demands of the organization. Without a real need, bringing on and maintaining unwarranted personnel can be a drag on the bottom line.
Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to see if having additional staff year-round would make sense for the business. Are there opportunities you’ve had to turn down because you lacked the necessary resources? What kind of revenue could you have realized if you’d had the capacity to tackle those projects?
On the other hand, you have to make sure the business has enough work coming in to support the need for and cost of a regular position, whether it be full-time or part-time. Apart from another line item on the payroll, this can include:
- Equipment/office space
- Benefits and other compensation
- Paid time off or vacation
Watch, listen, learn
Your regular staff might be providing hints that one or more year-round positions are necessary. By staying engaged with your workforce and keeping a pulse on their performance, you’ll recognize the signs and be able to act accordingly.
Overtime is often a costly consequence of not having enough staff to handle the company’s workload. Paid out at a higher rate, overtime accruals can be a drain on the business’s finances. But perhaps more importantly, overtime can be a drain on your people. Also keep in mind the Fair Labor Standards Act requirements for overtime for non-exempt employees when cutting employee paychecks.
Employee burnout can also happen when your regular staff is forced to work more and more hours to keep up with the demands of the organization. Burnout leads to overtime and can hurt performance. Bringing on more workers can lower overhead costs, improve business results and create a better work-life balance.
Another thing to keep in mind is how increasing your total headcount may change your qualifiers under various employment laws – not to mention the impact of new health care reform requirements.
Take a (good) shot
When a company is growing its staff, there’s no definitive roadmap for successfully doing so. But we all know what a journey of a thousand miles begins with.
And don’t think that you have to make a beeline from a seasonal position to a full-time position.
Experimenting first with a more flexible part-time role might be the best move for the business. If it doesn’t work out, you may not have spent as much as you would’ve on a full-time position. If it does, you’re primed to keep on growing.
Just make sure you’re auditioning the position and not the person. Remember: This kind of switch has to be aligned with the overall goals of the company. If it doesn’t fit – financially, logistically, strategically, you name it – it doesn’t fit.
But that’s OK. There’s always next season.
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