Jul 21, 2015

Summer is Here: Time for Management to Regroup and Reorganize

Summer is officially in full swing, and for managers this means dealing with a stampede of young and student workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, July employment (a proxy for summer jobs) for 16-24 year olds increased almost 8 percent from 2011 to 2014. Last year alone, the U.S. youth labor force grew by three million workers – almost 15 percent – between April and July.

With a new workforce in tow, managers will need to reevaluate entire staff schedules and training programs – meaning managers will likely be devoting additional hours to manually making shift adjustments. But what if it was simpler than that? With an employee relationship management solution like WorkJam, it can be.

Seasonal workforce hurdles from hiring to scheduling and training can be cleared if managers are armed with the right tools. Here’s how:

  • Untangled Recruitment: Too many restaurants, retailers and other service companies still rely on outdated hiring methods; 61 percent use paper applications, according to a recent WorkJam study. Sorting through piles of paperwork and handling walk-in meetings with the throngs of students that finish finals and get home from college (all during the same two week period) can drain hours out of a store manager’s workday.
    Beyond switching to an online application system, companies need an integrated solution that gives hiring managers more visibility into younger applicants’ summer availability, work history, skills and personal interests. Not only will this shorten the recruitment cycle, it also lessens the chance of scheduling confusion later on.
  • Consistent Shift Coverage: Students don’t come home for the summer just to work and boost their checking account. It’s almost certain these young new hires will be requesting time off for family vacations and outings with friends. Using traditional charts or spreadsheets, shift managers and team leaders could spend days rearranging shifts around seasonal and year-round employees’ conflicting availability.
    Comprehensive employee relationship management solutions like WorkJam take the frustration out of summer scheduling for managers and staff. Unlike tedious manual systems, WorkJam lets employees quickly communicate availability and time off requests to shift leaders. It also empowers employees to facilitate their own shift swaps, alleviating the hassle for managers while still keeping them in the loop.
  • Expedited Training: Summer employees stay on for three or four months at the most, and many don’t even work a full 35 or 40 hours each week. Given these short stints, companies can’t afford to have seasonal new hires spend their first two weeks learning the ropes. Rather than hold individual training sessions to accommodate new hires that start working on different dates, make training materials consumable for “independent study.” Employers that use WorkJam, for example, can upload training videos and other instructions that employees can access whenever they want, from any device.

For the service industry, there’s no escaping the summer employee management cycle. Even if it’s inevitable, there’s still room for improvement. Rather than succumb to a long season of cumbersome processes, companies should find a solution that makes summer staff management a breeze.

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