Insights from DCS

Knowledge for the information generation

I Know Where You Worked Last Summer

By James Howlett - 24 Jul 2019
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Seasonal variance in workforce makes life interesting for HR at the best of times. Student workers, for instance, frequently split their lives over two main locations according to the academic year for upwards of three years. Their potential service to, say, a High Street retailer, is plain to see. To make life easier for all concerned the smartest HR departments therefore accommodate a large number of foreseeable circumstances in their employee records handling and procedures.

(Note: This blog post is NOT about the pros and cons of zero hours contacts. We here consider how to facilitate the tracking of start/stop/start seasonal employment, regardless of the type of contracts used.)

Where seasonal work is concerned, HR procedures should make it as easy as possible to re-employ a past employee without necessarily having to start a whole new file. Whether or not HR is a wholly centralised function, there should be authorised access to a single ongoing file which provides clear visibility of what steps are required to get a returning employee back up and running asap (eg updated Right-to-Work checks etc). Preventing duplicate employee records is a good compliance measure and ultimately makes auditing an easier task.

Effective tracking of seasonal/repeat employment would appear to be best accomplished via a centralised employee records strategy. Documents scanned in-branch and emailed to HR are held in digital format in an updateable electronic file accessible by authorised users (perhaps also by employees via a portal for document submissions). The HR function would also be able to advise on the suitability of returning/transferring applicants based on existing records.

For nationwide companies, the very best of HR functions make it possible for an individual worker to alternate seasonally or even per term/holiday times between two different locations of work - all under one employee file. This kind of efficiency makes the employer an attractive company to work for and therefore makes good seasonal staff more likely to make themselves available when they return.

Overall, the benefits of centralising HR for organisations which have seasonally variable staffing demands (or otherwise a generally high staff turnover) need to be maximised by ease of user access and clear procedures at branch level (where applicable). Consolidating those benefits frees up staff time and supports smooth running of operations, whatever the scale of the organisation.

Related links:
High Street retailers centralises HR Document Management

Want to keep hold of skilled seasonal workers? Try these tips:
https://www.go2hr.ca/articles/six-tips-help-retain-skilled-seasonal-workers