For some of you, snow may still be on the ground, but you’ve got the summer season on your mind…and not just for the obvious reasons. For hourly employers, summer is one of the busiest times of the year for your business: consumers are shopping more, eating out more, taking more vacations and overall, really just spending more. And you’ll need to keep up. With more business comes the need for more employees.

According to last year’s annual Snagajob Summer Hiring survey, nearly half of hourly employers hired more summer employees than they did the previous year. Additionally, nearly 80 percent of their summer hires were new employees rather than returning ones. On top of that, 74 percent of all hourly summer jobs were already filled by May. If the same trends apply this year, that is a lot of hiring that going to happen in eight short weeks!

Maybe you are ahead of the curve or maybe you are lagging behind, but here are a few steps you can take to get you and your team ready for the 2016 summer hiring rush.

  • Audit your current shifts. Take a look at your current team and see if there are any coverage gaps. Are you already feeling the pain during the morning or evening rush? If so, you are definitely going to need to staff up for the summer season.
  • Find out your current employees’ plans. There’s nothing wrong with asking your team if they plan on being around this summer. Some of your staff might have vacations already planned or be looking to get another part-time job at an amusement park or as a lifeguard. It’s better to have a plan now to cover those shifts rather than scramble when someone puts in for time off or quits altogether.
  • Evaluate your time off policy. Speaking of time off, does your request policy need to be revisited? Being flexible is a large perk for many employers, but you will have to have your shifts covered. Make sure your team is familiar with the time off request policy and ask if they have any feedback or concerns. Now is a great time to make revisions before you are flooded with summer vacation requests.

Check back here later this month for the results of our 2016 Summer Hiring survey! The more you know, the better prepared you will be.