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Effective bonus compensation plans for temporary seasonal staffers

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Each year, thousands of companies make the decision to hire temporary workers to augment their human capital resources during peak production cycles and busy seasons. According to the most recent figures from the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 2 million people are employed as contingency workers in a wide variety of temporary and seasonal assignments. Additionally, organizations in the manufacturing, retail, and hospitality markets rely heavily on the use of temporary and seasonal staffers.

As part of an effort to maintain high levels of productivity, retention and employee engagement, a good many companies turn to bonus compensation plans. These pay for performance programs can include everything from simple employee recognition perks to large cash bonuses, distributed based on individual and team accomplishment. Few companies actually offer much in the way of incentives to temporary workers, instead only choosing to focus on boosting permanent employees.

However, to get the best return on investment from all your human resources, it’s important to also have a bonus compensation plan for temporary and seasonal employees. Read on to learn how to develop an effective bonus compensation plan for temps and seasonal staffers.

Make the bonuses meaningful

If you want to make your bonuses stand out, you'll want to make sure that they actually appeal to your temp workers.  Since temporary seasonal workers generally don't stick around for a long time you want to have meaningful incentives that they can obtain. Try bonuses that are based on short-term performance metrics. Use specific incentives that they can use right away, such as free snacks, career-enrichment activities, and on-the-spot rewards given out by your managers.

Offer multiple perks of employment

Use some creativity when designing short term incentive plans for a seasonal workforce. Because your temporary and seasonal workers may come from different walks of life, they may find different things worth working harder for. You can give employees exclusive discounts on company products, promotions and services, or share your corporate vendor discounts with them in a generous employee discount club. Work with your supervisory team to distribute vendor coupons and other exclusive deals to temporary staffers whenever possible.

Create reachable performance goals

If you are tying your bonuses and merit raises directly to performance, then you will want to have an incentive program that is attainable for all employees, including your temps. For each assignment, work with the management team to create a series of goals that each seasonal worker can attain during their time with your company. Communicate these goals and the incentives at the time their contract starts and at predictable time frames (2 weeks, 30 days, etc.) to get temporary workers engaged and enthusiastic about their assignment

Try non-cash bonuses and incentives

While having a little extra money is viewed as a perk of a temporary assignment, there are other non-cash incentives that work well too. Have a weekly staff meeting and verbally recognize your temporary workers in front of their peers. Give out small tokens of appreciation in the form of gift cards, movie tickets, and free lunch vouchers. Allow seasonal workers the ability to work a flexible schedule so they can have more work life balance.

Offer some temps permanent placement

Perhaps the greatest “carrot on the stick” you can offer to your temporary and seasonal workers is the chance to come on board as a permanent member of your team once their contract has been completed to your satisfaction. Agree to bring at least a small percentage of your top performing temporary workers on as regular employees -- rewarding them for their efforts and dedication to your organizational success. You will find that this alone can be a very attractive incentive for those who are serious about building a long term career, and they are worth the investment.

The above are just a few of the many ways you can encourage the workplace to experience higher productivity and retention of your temporary and seasonal employees, while improving engagement and morale at your business.

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