From Seasonal To Sensational

For many in the industry, summer is the busy season and, in turn, the time to add more seasonal or temporary employees.

It's important to build trust with your seasonal employees. Photo Courtesy © Can Stock Photo Inc. /


From park-maintenance staff to day-camp leaders, parks and facilities can add a fresh perspective by tapping this valuable resource. But how does one manage these employees to maximize the return as well as their experience?

Traditionally, many staff leaders have felt the seasonal workforce needs to be closely supervised and given little responsibility or freedom; others view these employees as being more work than they are worth. On the contrary, a seasonal workforce can add new energy and creativity, and contribute productively while providing customers with outstanding service–if the right environment is created.

Experience has shown that regardless of whether an employee is seasonal or full-time, those who are truly committed are more likely to go above and beyond the required tasks and deliver higher levels of customer service than those members who are likely to be late or absent, or call in sick.

Those leaders who hire the same employees year after year reap additional benefits. For instance, dedicated employees will feel more compelled to say good things about an organization, helping to bolster the agency’s overall reputation. Additionally, those who return to the same position eventually take less time and resources to train while being more effective in their roles.

So how does one create an environment in which commitment is more likely to be developed and maintained?

There are five key commitment-building approaches:

• Provide support

• Build trust

• Give responsibility

• Recognize effort

• Give respect.

Provide Support

When employees perceive a sense of support from their work group (including the manager), they tend to be more pleased with their experience and make a considerable commitment. This support may include hearing compliments from superiors, participating in a mentoring activity, or simply receiving hands-on assistance.

Early on, the employee needs to see that a manager’s role is not to check up on him or her but to help get the job done and done well. The employee should have the training, tools, and basic skills to complete the job so that his or her needs are addressed. Spending time initially pays dividends in the long run–even for those who may only be employed for a few weeks.

Build Trust

The following comment from a summer-camp employee provides some real insight: “One of the key things is trust. It is important to trust someone before you become committed to the place or the job. Some people say, ‘I just go in and do my job,’ but trust in the sense that when they tell you something they mean it. Definitely the people I was closest with are ones that I did trust. I felt my leader did care about me and my work, so that’s definitely important.”

Trust is effectively built from a manager’s words, but even more from one’s behavior. After having been provided the support and tools to get the job done, the employee can be trusted to do what the job requires.

Give Responsibility

A trusting environment allows an employee or a group of employees to have ownership and autonomy over their work. Assigning additional responsibilities can increase the challenge, as well as the sense of accomplishment an employee feels. This also contributes to his or her ongoing commitment.

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