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Back To School Blues – What To Do When Your Student Employees Hit the Books

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Stephanie Davis

back to school blue - man with head down on desk

The end of summer brings a lot of things – cooler temperatures, final cookouts, one last pool day, and, for some seasonally staffed businesses, lost employees. As a small business owner, you likely employ high school and college students during the summer months. When they head back to school, what are you supposed to do?

Look at your Business Needs

Perhaps your busiest season is the summer and you don't need as much help during the winter months, or vice versa. Before you jump into the hiring process, really take a look at your business to determine how many employees, if any, you need to hire to replace your seasonal hires.

Know Your Employees' Timelines

Even though your employees may be going back to school, it's possible they'll have some flexibility in their schedule to help you out during their school year. Maybe it's only for a few hours after school or on weekends, but knowing this information ahead of time can help you make a plan. 

Start Looking for Replacements Early

The summer season always passes too quickly, so you will want to try to get ahead of the game to prepare when your seasonal help leaves. Keep track of end dates and plan to have somebody ready to start the last week your current employees will be there or bring the new employees on the week after. It may be helpful to have that crossover so your current employees can help train and show the new employees the ropes. Even though it will be a short time, it would be a good opportunity to see the teamwork together in case the student employees come back for breaks.

Keep an Open Line of Communication

College students often have a four to six-week break in between the fall and spring semesters. Chances are, they are going to be looking for some way to fund their next semester and would be happy to have a job during this period. Talk to those employees ahead of time and see if they would like to come back so you can plan to hire around that. 

Go to College

If your business is near a college, it may be helpful to pull talent that way. With looming student loan debt and a competitive job market, college students need all of the extra forms of employment they can get. You could even phrase the position as an internship or training program, if applicable, to attract more interest if you have a business that an internship would make sense for.  

Bottom Line

The best thing to do with your student employees is to establish timelines and expectations upfront. By knowing where they are coming from and what their goals are, you can set a more effective hiring plan. It also helps to know your own needs and business goals so you don't overcomplicate the hiring process.

Do you have any seasonal hiring success stories? Tweet us @SurePayroll 

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