HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Seasonal Onboarding
Scrambling year after year during your seasonal onboarding? Continue reading to learn why a successful seasonal onboarding process is important, how to streamline your process and how to have successful seasonal onboarding every season.

What Is Seasonal Onboarding?

Seasonal employees are employees who are employed temporarily with your organization (e.g., retailers who bump up staffing during the holiday season). Seasonal onboarding, like onboarding of other employees, is the process of integrating new seasonal employees into your organization during a certain time period.

Why Is Seasonal Onboarding Important?

Seasonal employees provide added value to your organization during peak season, and for this reason, onboarding these employees is just as important as onboarding non-seasonal employees. A successful seasonal onboarding process increases your organization’s overall engagement and employee satisfaction, decreases seasonal turnover, and increases productivity.
  • Boosts employee engagement and satisfaction. Employee engagement is the commitment employees feel to your organization. It is an employee’s passion and motivation for the work they perform. Coupled with a successful onboarding process, employees are more likely to feel good, motivated, and passionate about their work, resulting in overall higher productivity, less absenteeism, and improved profitability.
  • Reduces turnover. Post pandemic, organizations have struggled with attracting and retaining talent. Studies have found that a strong employee onboarding process can help retain talent. For example, a study conducted by the Academy of Management Journal found that employees who go through a structured onboarding process are 58% more likely to remain with your organization.
  • Increases productivity. Onboarding that is well structured and paced helps employees feel well-prepared to do their jobs and increases productivity. A Gallup survey found that 29% of new hires felt prepared and supported to do their jobs after their onboarding experience.

Important Parts of Seasonal Onboarding

Seasonal onboarding may differ from one organization to the next, however, there are a few key components that are just as important when onboarding seasonal employees as it is for non-seasonal employees. These include training, assimilation, and review/follow-ups.


Though the two go hand in hand, orientation is different from onboarding. It is a key component of the onboarding process that ensures your employees receive the necessary information to be successful and an opportunity to ensure that employees feel welcomed right away. During orientation, typically a one-time event, employees are provided information that introduces them to your organization and their new role. The format is usually a classroom and/or conference-type setting, including tours of the facility, an introduction to leadership, and a Q&A session. A few items covered during this time are the organization’s history, mission, values, policies and procedures, and new hire paperwork.


Training, also known as the onboarding experience, is essential to any organization. It improves the skills, performance, and productivity of your employees. Why is it just as important to train your seasonal employees as your non-seasonal employees? During this period, employees are familiarized with the basic components of their job, such as the skills needed to do the job. In addition, organizations that hire seasonal employees are hiring because their season is about to ramp up and become hectic. Since the period of employment is typically short, ensure that your seasonal employees receive training on the most critical parts of their jobs so they’re able to service your clients and meet demands.


It’s best practice to assign a seasonal employee a mentor. For many, the “season” is the busiest time of the year and things may fall through the cracks. Having a mentor provides an additional point of contact for your new employee to navigate through the organization. In addition to achieving a level of comfort with colleagues or work itself, mentors help employees become familiar with your organization, develop a good rapport with others and encourage teamwork.


Onboarding doesn’t end after orientation. It is a continuous process, even for seasonal employees. Keep the lines of communication open and be sure to check in to see how things are going and answer any questions and/or concerns.

Tips for Efficient and Successful Seasonal Onboarding

When it comes to onboarding, organizations can do many things to ensure the process is smooth and meaningful. Consider welcome packages, checklists, or scavenger hunts. The possibilities are endless!

Tip 1: Welcome New Hires

Consider crafting a new employee experience that includes a welcome toolbox. This can be as simple as a welcome letter before the employee’s first day, a swag bag/box, or a welcome breakfast that includes other departments and the leadership team. Whatever you decide, know that your welcome activity is a great way to strengthen your organization’s brand and an opportunity to engage employees early on.

Tip 2: Provide a List of Things to Do

There are so many things that need to be completed before, during, and after a seasonal employee is hired, from completing new hire paperwork to training. Create a paper or electronic checklist. Your checklist may consist of multiple sections with various tasks assigned to managers, team members, and the employee to ensure their completion.

Tip 3: Be Prepared

Nothing is more frustrating than starting a new job and your computer login credentials aren’t working, no one knows where your desk will be, your key fob to enter the building isn’t working, and so on. Be prepared, ensure that the employee has the resources to fulfill the job you’ve hired them for, and that all parties (e.g. security, IT) are made aware of when the employee is set to start and what is needed for a successful first day. Don’t just make the parties aware – ensure that everything is also working properly.

Tip 4: Give Additional Training

After providing training on the most important aspect of the job, consider providing additional training throughout the season for those non-critical components. This allows for greater productivity and increased job satisfaction.
Wendy N. Kelly, MSHRM, PHR, SHRM-CP

Wendy N. Kelly, MSHRM, PHR, SHRM-CP

Wendy is an HR professional with over 10 years of HR experience in education and health care, both in the private and non-profit sector. She is the owner of KHRServices, a full service HR management agency. She is also SHRM and HRCI certified, serves as a HRCI Ambassador, and voted 2021 Most Inclusive HR Influencer.
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