Whether you’re seeking to build a more flexible workforce, keep employment costs down, or tap underutilized pools of talent, seasonal hiring offers a bevy of potential benefits for your business.

Of course, to take the greatest possible advantage of these and other possibilities, you’ll have to adopt both the right mindset and a staffing strategy that is closely tailored to the unique mix of goals, needs, and resources that help define your business.

Below, two professionals give their simple, actionable advice to optimize your seasonal hiring process.

Gauge Personnel Needs

Don’t sit on the proverbial runway too long.

“Running a seasonal business is like flying a plane,” Vancouver-based business strategist Stephanie Hayes declares. “Over half the ‘flight time’ is ensuring that things are in place before take-off, so that all there is left to do once in the air is adjust to conditions and stay on the flight path. That is not the time to be checking to see if fuel is sufficient or that the fuselage is strong with no repairs required.”

“The big box retailers are starting their efforts earlier in the summer, so be ready,” and RechTech founder Chris Russell adds. “If you need to hire for October through December start prepping in June. Have your job posts ready to go and thoroughly explain the time frame for when you’ll need them to start. Stay in contact with them weekly until they start work.”

Obviously, fiscal resources will play a large role, so get your revenue projections and hiring budget in tune early. Also, do a bit of preliminary brainstorming around the kind of seasonal hiring you plan to do — part-time, full-time, temp — as well as what, if any, perks or benefits you’ll offer.

Embrace the Differences

Hayes lives in a town in which seasonal recreational tourism is king. Historically, hiring for local companies has been complicated. Often, short-term staff “come to play for whichever season suits them then head for the hills — literally” and even those who stick around as newly minted residents expect employers to make accommodations for the area’s strong “play outside” culture.

As a result, local businesses have had to become more creative.

For example, one local manufacturing company gave its staff the choice between working regular hours five days a week, or adopting a more flexible schedule that included late shifts when needed, but also allowed time for pursuing the recreational passions that originally made the area so attractive to them. It worked—he now has a pool of employees that are more adaptive, productive, and loyal.

Employers who think outside the box—who explore and more effectively communicate the benefits of seasonal hiring—may be surprised by the quality of the teams they are able to assemble.

“If you are able to be flexible in how you think about the delivery of the work,” Hayes says, “you may be better able to attract highly educated and capable team members who are happy to be able to fit into a more flexible model.” One example she cites is the strong bonds seasonal workers forge in high energy, fast-paced environments. “How could a business leverage that camaraderie to attract people who want to be part of that, build that, and sustain that even during the down season?”

Going Where the (Seasonal) Fish Are

Russell suggests leveraging social media channels — Facebook (paid ads and/or free job board), Twitter, Instagram — and gig economy apps such as Wonolo and People Per Hour, as well as those tools outside the digital realm.

“Think about having a number of open house job fairs where [prospective employees] can meet/greet your staff,” he says. “Consider publishing a press release around your hiring plans right after Labor Day and continue that messaging consistently. Targeting work-at-home moms, seniors, and teens is a great idea. Contacting local school counselors and senior centers may be helpful.”

“There is a large and untapped workforce out there that is highly capable but unable to find work in a more traditional environment,” Hayes agrees. “These are fantastic communities to tap into to fill a seasonal workforce.”

Following Regulations

“Workers not familiar with this sort of employment, and employers unaccustomed to hiring part-time and/or seasonal employees may not be fully aware of the regulations surrounding such employment…”

So reads the seasonal work subsection of the U.S. Department of Labor website. You should absolutely peruse it yourself, but the upshot is this: Though seasonal employment is in many ways a different animal, it is extremely important to recognize that in the eyes of labor regulators it is largely the same any other business. Which means, you are courting potentially serious trouble if you fail to comply with long-standing wage, labor, or record keeping regulations.

Establishing a Training Program

Don’t get caught up in trying to “out-perk” your competition. Trendy workspaces and “unlimited” time off aren’t going to fly on your timeline.

“The right people — the ones that will help you grow your business — will be motivated by the opportunity to gain new skills, to progress in those skills they already have, to work with a great team that has harmonious communication and in which they feel truly appreciated,” Hayes says. “If you want to build a team of workers that will stick with you, focus on developing these aspects of your workplace.”

Protecting Your Business

Businesses of all sizes and cycles face potential employee fraud and theft, but the shorter relationship timelines inherent to seasonal hiring might heighten concerns. Aside from hiring the right people, a Discover business card includes a robust suite of anti-fraud tools — $0 fraud liability, near-instant ability to freeze your account via mobile app, free monitoring and notifications, overnight card replacement — to its usual benefits.

Moving Forward

Sometimes to reach your fullest potential and strength — in business as well as life — you have to think outside the box. To that end, the right seasonal staffing plan may just offer a more adaptable, responsive solution to the challenges and opportunities you are currently navigating. And if you do choose to embrace such a program, it’s important to remember there are resources and professionals available to help you make it a success.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.