A Quality Supervisor Or Food Technician Explains The Use Of The
A quality supervisor or food technician explains the use of the Shrink Tunnel Machine to the new employee. Quality inspectors work together in the food factory to inspect food quality in standards.

By Mike Papera, director of client services at Integrity Staffing Solutions

The ice cream parlor on the beach road is not a movable feast. On summer days, the lines are almost unmanageable. On winter ones, the staff might as well save on the heating bill and lock up.

It’s an old story — the seasonality of food and beverage businesses can be extremely challenging, especially in manufacturing. Owners need to maintain flexibility to swiftly adapt to sudden changes in demand, uphold efficiency and quality during peak seasons, and keep labor costs in check. Additionally, food and beverage companies may face competition from others in the industry striving to gain a competitive edge during the same season.

The demands of seasonal fluctuation can wreak havoc on your company’s overall operability and profitability. Seasonal trends in the food and beverage industry, such as poor inventory management and operational stress, can lead to a host of problems if not properly managed. The good news is, there is a way to tackle seasonal demand that’s good for both your business and your employees.

What are the benefits of a temporary staffing solution?

Temporary staffing solutions can be the key to maintaining a flexible and efficient seasonal workforce that can adapt to the “feast or famine” cycles of the industry.

There are obvious advantages to hiring seasonally. To start, it provides the flexible labor you need to support changing demand and can help minimize staff shortages, downtime, and overtime pay.

There are also some lesser-known advantages of a flexible workforce. If done intentionally, temporary staffing can be a great way to trial potential full-time employees. Additionally, Axonify research shows that 43% of seasonal workers see their job as an opportunity to progress to another department or role within the same company. Your temporary employees may be looking for a foot in the door, and you may end up needing full-time help down the line. Temporary staffing is a great way to prepare for the future.

How can businesses effectively recruit and retain temporary staff?

To effectively cope with shifting trends in the food and beverage industry, you need a flexible on-demand staffing strategy that allows for change and also creates an environment of safety and security. Here are five strategies you can use to effectively recruit and, if needed, retain temporary staff this season:

1. Find the right staffing partner.

When choosing a staffing agency, it’s important to pick a partner that specializes in hiring talent for unique food and beverage environments. The right partner can help the company find qualified staff, create a successful onboarding process, and ensure your seasonal workforce observes quality and safety guidelines.

To set yourself up for success, find an agency that can provide ongoing training and programs to ensure workers follow good manufacturing practices. This extra step can help the company make meaningful improvements to your production quality and the service you provide to your customers.

2. Educate yourself on different staffing models.

Working with a staffing agency allows you to build an employee infrastructure to meet your short- and long-term needs. For example, high-volume temporary staffing can scale up and down in any market or supply chain conditions. If you’re looking for long-term, steady growth, a temp-to-hire model allows you to convert temporary talent to full-time employees when the time is right. A strong partner will help guide your labor planning process so that you always have the talent you need when you need it. A partner can also help ensure that the benefits and opportunities you offer to candidates are competitive and attractive compared to what competitors provide.

When partnering with an agency, it’s important to understand co-employment. When you bring on temporary associates through an agency, those employees are the agency’s employees unless you decide to convert them to your payroll. This means the agency typically covers all employee benefits, unemployment, and compensation, allowing you to hire the talent you need without the costly overhead.

3. Customize your recruitment strategy to your industry.

To adequately staff your food and beverage business, you will need a set of clear job descriptions for the roles you are trying to fill. Knowing what you want and need is crucial; being upfront about unconventional working conditions, such as cold storage and prep environments, will help avoid costly attrition.

Next, collaborate with your staffing partner to establish precise pre-employment screening criteria, such as allergens and cross-contamination and hygiene procedures. Train your hiring team to recognize the skills and values that will contribute to success in your work environment. 

4. Build a robust engagement program.

Consider creating an employee engagement program once you have your team in place. This is a great way to keep your temporary workforce engaged and productive. Scheduling daily stand-up meetings and one-on-one touch points with temporary staff can help you quickly motivate your new staff members and identify issues that people are facing during shifts as well as onboarding and training. Collecting data during these engagements will allow you to address problems quickly, offer timely feedback, adjust the work environment, and improve processes in real time.

5. Set staff up for success and comfort.

The fluctuating demand patterns can be stressful, and the seasonal staffing structure of food and beverage services can suffer from higher turnover and increased labor challenges. Not having a strong associate support structure in place, especially during high production times, can lead to decreased motivation, engagement challenges, and trouble hiring from that pool of temporary workers in the future.

Consider developing a robust training and support system to set new hires up for success. Ensuring seasonal associates have a good experience with onboarding, training, and support will go a long way toward retaining those people and creating positive word-of-mouth referrals to fill subsequent positions.

You can also help your seasonal workforce by ensuring they have all the safety and other equipment they need. If they’re operating in a cold work environment, offer standard supplies like hats and gloves to keep them comfortable on the job.

There are many benefits of temporary staffing. Acting swiftly according to demand is critical in the “feast or famine” environment of the food and beverage industry. By setting seasonal staff up for success, you enable your business to thrive.

Mike Papera is the director of client services at Integrity Staffing Solutions, a full-service staffing agency that ranks in the top 2% of agencies across the country for quality service based on ClearlyRated’s “Best of Staffing” client survey.


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