How to Hire Temporary Workers in Uncertain Times

It's not just ski-town restaurants that can benefit from temporary workers.

Malgorzata Szarowicz©

Typically, this is the time of year Colorado’s 32 ski resorts would be bringing tens of thousands of seasonal workers on board. This year’s ski season is uncertain (to say the least), but that doesn’t mean temporary employees aren’t worth the investment—and that goes for bars and restaurants across Colorado as well as resorts and ski-town businesses.

As dining rooms and drinking establishments reopen statewide, owners and managers are scrambling to call workers back while trying to determine how many employees they need to sustain operations in the “new normal”—and how many people they can afford to employ while revenue is limited by capacity. This creates massive staffing uncertainty that the use of temporary labor is uniquely situated to address. Because these positions are so flexible, businesses can better and more quickly respond to changing market needs and demands.

Other benefits to employers include reduced long-term labor costs as well as cultural flexibility; with temporary and seasonal gigs, it’s not necessary to search to the ends of the Earth for a perfect organizational fit.

Human resources pro Becca Freiberg of Society Insurance works to provide coverage packages and risk control services for restaurants and bars in Colorado. She’s compiled five tips to help restaurants find the right seasonal workers, which can be a smart business investment. By following these five tips, the hiring process can be more efficient and beneficial for your restaurant.

1. Consider Partnering with a Staffing Agency

Although they do come with costs of their own, staffing agencies are valuable resources for finding talent quickly and efficiently (especially if you needed someone working the floor yesterday). Agencies already have a deep applicant pool that allows them to easily determine who would be a good fit based on your needs.

2. Focus Efforts on Students or Retirees

Students who have seasonal breaks or are taking a semester off are often looking for short-term employment to make extra cash. And with nearly 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day—many of them with flexible schedules and in search of something to occupy their time or provide supplemental income—retirees are another viable option.

3. Launch Your Search Early

Begin your candidate search as soon as you know you’ll need temporary help. Many students look for jobs well in advance in order to coordinate with their schedules. Advertise on local job boards, reach out to schools, and leverage social media—including your own social media platforms, in Facebook groups, and on NextDoor. Getting the jump on hiring also means you’ll have time to exhaust any free resources before reaching out to a staffing agency.

4. Set Clear Expectations with Every Job Candidate

Provide as many details as possible about the position in the job description and throughout the interview process. Be clear and upfront about the duration of the position (both verbally and in writing), skills and experience required by applicants, and COVID-19 safety protocols and risks. To ensure everyone’s on the same page, ask the employee to sign a formal offer letter prior to their start date.

5. Know Seasonal Employment Liabilities

Employing seasonal workers can be tricky, and employers need to be well-versed in the regulations surrounding employee classification, overtime, and workers’ compensation. Be sure to consult your legal counsel on the most current laws in play.

Human Resources Generalist Becca Freiberg has worked in human resources for five years and has experience in benefits, wellness, recruitment, employee engagement, and development. She joined Society Insurance in 2019. Reach her at


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