Every tax professional knows that tax season means long hours, lots of work, and diminished resources. Many tax practices hire seasonal staff to help them get through the busiest time of the year. By hiring seasonal staff, you can take on the extra work your clients bring to you.
There are lots of ways that you can get the most out of your seasonal staff this tax season. Here are just a few ideas on how to make these valuable staff members want to do their best for you and for your clients.
How seasonal hires help your tax practice
Seasonal workers can help handle the increase in business for tax practices that usually takes place between December and May of each year. Whether you are looking for one additional person or several more, make sure you are doing everything you can to hire the best people. Remember that even seasonal hires represent your business, and most clients won’t realize that your seasonal staff is only on board for a few months per year.
When you need extra help during tax season, hiring seasonal staff makes sense. But the last thing you need is to have your seasonal staff lose interest or quit halfway through the busy season. Luckily, there are things that you can do to make sure that your seasonal employees are not only productive but extremely valuable to your tax practice.
Hold pre-season training sessions
Even if your seasonal employees have been with you for a few years now, everyone can benefit from some effective training. You can review some of the new developments within the tax practice, and share any new methods of office operations that have been implemented since they were last involved. Full-time employees may also benefit from the review and can become a valuable resource for seasonal staff.
Recognize the value of seasonal staff
It’s time for everyone at your practice to stop thinking of seasonal staff as just “tax season help.” If you and your employees think of seasonal staff as nothing more than temporary, that attitude will carry over into words and actions. People can sense when they are not valued, and your seasonal staff may pick up on this attitude and perform accordingly. If you want your seasonal staff to be valuable contributors—and potential permanent hires—then treat them accordingly.
Make seasonal employees part of the team
Your seasonal staffers will perform much better if they are effectively integrated into your team. Instead of handing them a stack of casework and wishing them good luck, you and your employees should get to know them. Invite them to company-wide meetings and make sure that seasonal workers understand how their efforts help the overall mission of the practice.
Offer an end-of-season incentive
The long work hours during tax season are full of stress. Often, a thoughtful incentive can keep employee spirits up when they are feeling overwhelmed. Seasonal staff should be included in any end-of-season bonus you are doing for your tax practice. Remember, that end-of-season incentives aren’t just about enticing your seasonal staffers to stick it out when the going gets tough—though that is a nice benefit. An end-of-season bonus is also a good way to show your seasonal staff how much you appreciate their contribution. After all, if you’ve gone to all the effort of turning them into a valuable member of your staff, you should always take the last step and reward them for the value they’ve provided.
Hold post-season interviews
It’s always beneficial to get feedback on how you run your tax practice, and seasonal staff can often bring a fresh perspective. Consider holding post-season interviews with each staff member, gathering information about issues that both helped and hindered them in their work. Solicit ideas for improvement and recognize that they bring a unique insight that deserves your attention. Seasonal staff who feel that their input is not heard may look elsewhere for work, so by meeting one-on-one with them each year, you emphasize that they are part of your team.
Invest in seasonal employees' skills
When your employees are the best they can be, it reflects positively on your tax practice. Consider keeping high quality seasonal staff interested in working with you by linking them to skill-building opportunities. For example, if your full-time staff members are attending an industry workshop or other training, invite your seasonal staff. Continuing education classes and training are other opportunities for seasonal employees to develop their skills and build relationships with your full-time employees.
Communicate in the off-season
When the busy tax season is over and your seasonal tax staff has returned to their off-season life, you shouldn't forget about them. It’s a good idea to keep in touch with them throughout the year, even if it’s just a quick message here and there. Invite them to company gatherings, like the summer picnic, or send them relevant industry notices. Of course, remembering their birthdays with a card or email lends a personal touch and makes seasonal staff feel valuable, even if they aren’t around all the time.
When your tax practice relies on seasonal staff to make it through the busy season, these employees are among your most valuable resources. Taking some extra time and effort to make them feel welcomed and important sends a strong message and motivates them to do their best. Not only will they feel that you value their contribution and work hard to live up to that expectation, but you’ll get to know them well enough to take full advantage of their unique strengths.
Want more tips for making tax season go more smoothly than ever before? Check out our Tax Season Survival Guide.
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