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Blog | Workforce Management

Seasonal Staff Playbook: Hiring, Training & Retaining for Sports Venues

How do you stack your bench and get your best people to work? We’ve got a few tips from the workforce management coaches here at HotSchedules!

Just about every sports team has a series of plays – running plays, passing plays, defensive plays and so on. But no matter how many times you read playbook, what matters most is how the team executes on the field.

Stadium and other sport event venues have a front row seat to these plays – and to what happens when all the right talent get on the field and execute. And yet, today, stadium venues are struggling to make their own people play work. The quick bursts of high traffic and heavy volume require maximum hours, manpower and attention to a great guest experience. Finding skilled talent hasn’t been easy.

So how do you stack your bench and get your people play to work? We’ve got a few tips from the workforce management coaches here at HotSchedules.

PLAY #1: Hire Quality Seasonal Staff

Hiring quality seasonal staff should be at the top of the list, because we all know your starting line-up can make or break the season.

The first challenge for stadiums and sports venues is stacking the bench when there just doesn’t seem to be enough people out there to hire. When the clock is running out and you’re low on options, there are a few fast and furious resources that can help you achieve just that.


Employee referrals are actually the best source of seasonal hiring (and frankly, hiring in general.) Referrals are known as the best way to hire because of the reduced time, cost and turnover rates. Offering referral incentives (even a competition) keeps your pipeline of quality seasonal candidates fresh and there’s an incentive for them to stick around. So leverage that network!

Social Media

The on-demand workforce has taken over. This generation pursues part-time, hourly or freelance work because of the flexibility. Odd hours don’t phase them, making this generation ideal for seasonal staffing in sport and entertainment venues. Where you can find them? You guessed it – social media. Use your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter feeds to post announcements about new job openings and have your team share it out on their channels in order to amplify the message. Or create a handle dedicated to job postings and your employee engagement.

And the challenges don’t stop at recruiting seasonal staff. The next hurdle? Training.

PLAY 2: Onboard & Train Your Seasonal Staff

Sports and event venues service tens of thousands of people – in a single night! Without proper training and engagement opportunities, your seasonal staff can become more of a liability than an asset.

Training and preparing staff to serve guests in a high-speed, high-traffic, high-volume environment. Because no matter how many moving parts, you need to get your people trained. With the right training tools, you can provide effective onboarding and ongoing training that encourages your seasonal staff to tune in and engage from almost anywhere.

Effective & efficient onboarding training

Delivering effective onboarding and training content is crucial, and video is your vehicle to do just that. Online training videos can be captivating and engaging for your new seasonal staff. Keep it short by providing them with small chunks of information, or micro-learning, at a time. You want your new team to be skilled and ready to go, ASAP!

On-the-go education with a mobile training app

The learning doesn’t stop after onboarding, and adopting a mobile-first learning strategy is essential to meet your organization’s rapidly changing goals. E-learning systems deliver training, tests and ongoing education on-demand. Using e-learning to customize content for on-the-go learners allows your team to access training material on their time, even from their own mobile device.
Sometimes in-house or in-person training is costly. However there’s no need to worry about the costs of training someone on their own time or terms. The best learning management systems can give you access controls using geo-fencing or IP address lockdowns.

PLAY 3: Retain Your Seasonal Staff

If it feels like you’re always trading one player for another and getting nowhere, you’re not alone. While some of your team will stick around, the turnover trend continues to be the number one reason why you’re hiring is so hard!

You’ve got to think about your team the same way you think about your fans – you want to give them the best possible experience so they come back!

To feed the hiring engine, it’s important to create a great work environment so that your seasonal staff comes back the next season.

There’s a lot that goes into the culture of a great team – some intangibles. And, you can also support your team with tools to make their lives easier. Did you create an easy environment to work for? Would they recommend you to a friend because you had some?

Scheduling Seasonal Staff

The on-demand workforce pursues part-time, hourly or freelance work because of the flexibility. So being an on-demand employer, it’s important to make it easy for your workforce to jump on their phone or tablet and pick up a shift or take on a few tasks. The ability to pick up a shift with the click of a button empowers you and your team to make decisions faster in an environment where there simply is no time to waste. Getting the right employee scheduling app allows you to effectively manage your workforce while giving them the freedom they need to thrive in the workplace. In the height of the season, schedules drive happiness and employee productivity!

Employee Communication

Adopt an ‘open door’ policy – even if it’s not in person. Mobile notifications are the preferred method of communication for the modern workforce. Mobile communication grants you and your team the flexibility to interact anywhere, anytime. You can even send a last-minute message of stadium closures or words of encouragement after a long game. Even frequent mobile check-ins with your team can alleviate room for mistakes and assumptions. Because let’s face it – you can’t be in ten places at once!

Recruiting for the long haul

Fans have exited the building and so has your team. If you provided a great work environment chances are your seasonal staff member will come back or recommend you to a friend. Found yourself an all-star? Offer him or her an incentive to come back.

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