In many industries, there are seasonal spikes in business around specific times. For example, CPAs and Accounting firms—though busy all year—generally see a surge around tax planning time and IRS return filing. The retail industry sees a boom around the holidays; florists may need extra drivers around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, etc. There are a variety of reasons for bringing on seasonal staff.
While this works well in terms of costs and for handling additional work/client inflow, seasonal staff can pose a few challenges from the IT perspective. In this blog, we explore those challenges so you know what to watch out for before bringing part-time staff on board.
When you are hiring someone part-time, security can be a serious concern. Your HR person may run a background check, but their risk score nevertheless remains much higher than the permanent, vested employees on your payroll. Trust and loyalty take time to build, yet you may need to entrust your temp workers with customer and business data right away.
Recommendation: Consider what they need access to and limit it to that. Set up temporary computer profiles that contain the necessary permissions while also minimizing control or access to all your critical data so you can minimize your exposure risk.
Having seasonal employees is a good solution to a temporary spike in workload. But there is still a need to provide your temps with the resources they need to perform their tasks efficiently. Computers, server space, internet and phone connectivity, and possibly even software licenses all need to be made available to your temp workforce as well.
Recommendation: Determine which roles need what, when, and for how long. It may be feasible for multiple employees to work from one computer if they are split across different shifts. You can also speak with your managed IT services provider about the possibility of leasing hardware or bundling bandwidth and/or software costs to lower your overhead.
Your permanent employees most likely receive regular training on IT security best practices (don’t they?!), but what about your temps? When hiring short-term staff, SMBs and even bigger organizations rarely invest any time or resources in formal training or onboarding. Usually brought in during the peak seasons, temps are expected to get going as soon as the paperwork is complete. Often IT drills and security trainings have no place in such hurried schedules.
Recommendation: Let your temporary staff know their actions can have a permanent impact on your business. If you hold orientation sessions, ask your managed services provider to join in and give a 15 minute overview of cyber security best practices. Alternatively, you can ask them to provide a checklist of cyber security tips for your new hire’s welcome packet. They may also have video links or other materials that you can pass along.
Often businesses hire seasonal staff from across the country, or even the globe, because it may offer cost savings. In such cases when the seasonal staff is working remotely, there is a need to ensure the work environment is seamless. High quality collaboration tools for file sharing and access and communication need to be in place.
Recommendation: Find out what tools you may already have available even if you’re not using them yet. Or ask your IT services provider to recommend some. There are free versions of some tools that may have all the features you need. You may even find it worthwhile to implement unified communications tools to increase productivity and satisfaction for your permanent employees year-round.
Having part-time or seasonal staff is an excellent solution to time-specific resource needs. However, for it to work as intended—smoothly and in tandem with the work happening at your office, and without any untoward events such as a security breach—businesses need to consider the aspects discussed above. Your managed services provider will be able to help by managing these concerns for you when you include them in your planning discussions. Then all you need to worry about will be choosing the best temporary employees.