The Compass Blog

Building Connection between Job Seekers and Employers

Kathi Noaker

Having had 25 years of building relationships with the employers who use CoolWorks, as well as hosting an annual conference for seasonal HR folks, we’re in a unique position to be able to share with both sides of our community – the employers, and you, the job seekers – trends and developments that continue to evolve within the seasonal work world. 

COVID has turned all our worlds upside down. This spring, with such uncertainty about the summer season, we hosted three webinars for our employer community. We wanted to provide a place for them to be able to network, talk about their concerns re: hiring, onboarding, and operations during a summer of COVID.

One of our take-aways from this spring webinar series was that these summer employers cared – A LOT – about doing whatever they could to keep their staff safe – and sane – in otherwise insane times. It was important ground to start from going into summer 2020.

Another thing we learned is that employers found the webinars helpful and hoped for more. So at the end of September we hosted another one. We thought it would be helpful for the summer employers who had just finished their season to share with the winter employers who were gearing up for their season some of the tricks, tips, truths and sometimes tumult they picked up throughout the summer. And in order to continue advocating for you, our job seekers/seasonal employees, we asked you to help by offering them the feedback that they need to consistently improve and provide a better working experience.  It was important to us to be able to communicate to employers how you prioritize their addressing of the pandemic and speaking to safety measures.  Fifty seasonal employers from across the country, representing 18 states and a wide range of industries, joined us. 

Here are some of the takeaways from September’s webinar that we hope you’ll find interesting and helpful as you pursue your next seasonal opportunity.

Employees stepped up and “bonded BECAUSE of COVID, and bonded IN SPITE OF COVID.”

Take one day at a time – it can be so easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated – we’re all in this together! It’s about being creative and flexible and making it work.

“Be like a duck – be calm on the top of the water, even if your feet are paddling wildly under the surface.”

A winter employer who is currently hiring shared how she’s doing her best to show accurate and appropriate staff photos in her recruiting materials – staff members with masks on and not in large, mask-less groups, which had previously been very common on job posts. 

Here at CoolWorks, we review every ad and Profile posted to the site, and if COVID safety protocols for staff aren’t mentioned by employers, we encourage them to do so. If you find an employer who you’d like to work for, and they don’t mention COVID and their safety measures, ask. We always encourage you to advocate for yourself.

A summer employer shared that HR and managers spent more time reaching out and getting into departments to “pulse check” with staff. They found that inviting individual team members for a socially-distanced walkabout for more “How’s it going?” conversations helped everyone. 

Another summer employer developed and deployed a “Community Connection App” – to aid in instant notifications with staff – evacuations, road closures, COVID-related concerns, and emergency responses, social media integration, and user-friendliness – and the staff loved it and found it super helpful.

Some employers who had frontline guest service staff, especially retail staff, talked about how having to enforce mask rules took its toll. One employer in Glacier National Park encouraged staff to “debrief” after volatile or difficult situations. She shared that guests had been “mean” to a whole new level, and that even seasoned staff members were challenged.

Employers all agreed that communication is critical to help keep staff anxiety at a lower level and that being present and listening is so important, especially in these times.

Here at CoolWorks, we firmly believe that employers and employees are all on ONE ship. Every ship needs a captain, certainly, but we truly are all in this together. And the more we understand each other, the more we can see points of view from another’s perspective, the more smoothly that ship is going to sail. And the more fun everyone on board is gong to have.

And now, onward, to winter 20/21!