Tips and howto's

Seasonal staff: What you need to know and do before hiring them

Many camps and retreats work with seasonal staff. It offers flexibility for you as a business owner when you don’t have to offer long-term contracts, especially if your business has seasonal peaks and lows. Also, these seasonal employees are often passionate travellers themselves and thus know exactly what your guests need on their holidays.

In the process of finding a surf instructor, yoga teacher, a booking manager or any other seasonal employee for your camp or retreat business there are a few aspects you need to take care of.

Check employment regulations

There are guidelines defined for hiring seasonal employees. People that are considered seasonal employees are people that are employed at your company for a period shorter than six months.

Make sure you know what your responsibilities are. Comply with regulations regarding employee insurance and taxes before starting your search process. Consult the employment law for the country in which your business is operating.

Finding talent - the sooner the better

Start looking for your seasonal employee(s) as soon as possible. Just like you need to make arrangements for your employee in terms of administration and preparing for his/her stay, the employee also needs time to arrange everything- from visa and work permit, to travel and health insurance.

There are useful job boards to use for your search. For example, surf travel jobs allows you to post a job that is specifically surf related. Describe the job you offer and the person and its qualities you are looking for. On the employee/workers side, a paid membership is required to answer any job postings, which makes only genuine people use the platform. Go Abroad also has a specific surfing section on their job board.

Use your network

If the job you offer requires more experience, make use of your network to find a suitable employee. Contact local surf schools or hotels, even competitors to ask if they know skilled people they have worked with and who are looking for a job. This also comes in hand for asking how they have gone about employee laws for this type of job and the aspects you need to consider in preparing for hiring a person. Post your job offer on social media as well to reach your followers (who are the fans of your surf camp) and other surf camps around the world.

Use the Bookinglayer network

Many Bookinglayer customers share a similar concept and style of surfcamp. If you’re a part of our network it’s easy to meet fellow camp owners who can make recommendations and share insights into their recruitment secrets.

Interview potential candidates

When you’ve selected some potential candidates, don’t omit the interview phase. Even if your candidate is experienced and is currently on the other side of the world doing the same job, you want to get to know that person a bit more before you offer him/her the job. Arrange a Skype call to have the interview. Ask him/her about themselves; who are they, why are they looking for a position like this, why do they want to work for you, what do they like to do outside their working hours? Also, ask them about their working style and the type of environment they look for. This tells you more about them, but also creates the opportunity to manage expectations on both sides.

Ask for and check references

This is probably a no-brainer, but many employers eventually skip this part. After you have had a nice chat with some of your candidates you have a good first impression of the person behind the application. However, you can only tell what their real skills and qualities (and flaws) are when you have seen them doing the actual job. To not only have to trust your gut on this, ask your candidate for relevant references and call the former employers to ask about their experience with the person. Pose these employers the explicit question: would you recommend hiring person X for job Y?

Train for success

After your careful selection process, you can start looking forward to the collaboration with your new employee. He or she will need training of course to understand your business processes and, in case of administrative work, your computer systems. This is probably not too hard if you’re using a booking system, as most systems work intuitively. Make sure to train people more profoundly when taking over your booking management if your using spreadsheets,. These are much more prone to errors like overbooking and errors in inventory planning. Create a training schedule so you will not miss anything important and assign a team member to train the new employee if you can’t do the training.

You’re all set now for a great season with your new employee!

Bookinglayer helps businesses like camps and retreats with an all-in-one reservation system.