The Art of Hiring Seasonal Employees

Attracting seasonal labour requires a lot more than just a job offer.

Filling seasonal employment at seed companies isn’t always easy, and many have gotten creative to fill those positions and have employees return in the future. On the Aug. 25 episode of Seed Speaks representatives from Beck’s Hybrids, Total Seed Production and RiceTec, Inc. discussed how they attract and hire seasonal employees.

At Beck’s Hybrids in Atlanta, Ind. they have found success using a cross training model to fill seasonal worker positions. They will hire full-time employees and then give them different work to do, depending on the season, so they can work year-round.

“A full-time employment opportunity looks a little bit more appealing sometimes in seasonal work,” Tanner Maxey, talent acquisition specialist at Beck’s Hybrids, explains in the episode. “We’re able to use those people during harvest. But then when that works completed, we sometimes move them over into processing, or they can work out in facilities during the summer and do some mowing and different things like that.”

Seasonal employees can also be hired on full-time in some cases. At Total Seed Production in Tipton, Ind. they will sometimes hire seasonal employees on full-time if they put in the extra work and fit well the team.

“When we can have that conversation on day one, when they sit down and apply for a seasonal role, it gives them some confidence to know that there’s an opportunity here, if they work hard and earn it,” Adam Ogle, general manager of Total Seed Production, says in the episode.

Word-of-mouth and referral programs can also help to fill seasonal roles. At Beck’s Hybrids they will give seasonal employees a bonus if they refer other potential hires.

Repeat seasonal employees though is always good. At RiceTec, Inc. in Alvin, Texas, if a seasonal employee returns, they receive guaranteed pay increases the first two years, and in their third year they also become eligible to accrue PTO monthly and will receive end of season bonuses.

“To encourage them to come back we provide them an offer letter at the end of that season, say you’ve got a job with us next year. We’re glad to have you for this time. We’re glad to have you back,” Danny Stowers, human resources business partner at RiceTec Inc., explains in the episode.

Hiring high school students as seasonal employees also presents challenges. To attract high schoolers this year, Beck’s Hybrids offered referral bonuses and found themselves having to increase pay.

“We definitely had to get creative on trying to attract some high school students, a lot of local advertising, going out to schools, connecting with the guidance counselor’s letting the opportunities be known,” Maxey says. Adding they were still able to hire about 150 high school students to do their summer pollinating.

At RiceTec, Inc. they don’t hire as many high school students, but for the ones they do they offer a tuition reimbursement program and internship opportunities.