The Seasonal Employer’s Struggle

Running a business isn’t easy, even in the most stable and favorable of environments. It becomes exponentially more difficult when the demand for the products and services you offer, as well as your need for the resources it takes to supply them, varies by the season.

Nowhere is this truer than in Northern Michigan’s resort country: After months of snow covered shops and icy streets, warm weather brings a deluge of new arrivals to Charlevoix, Traverse City, Mackinac Island, Leelanau wine country, Petoskey, and virtually all points north, south, east and west. Visitors want food, rooms, recreation, agricultural products, and entertainment – and that means that local businesses have to ramp up fast in order to supply it.

For vast numbers of Northern Michigan businesses, springtime is panic time: The last chance to secure the staff, materials, and suppliers needed for a busy successful summer season (to be followed by a corresponding shift in the fall). Gone are the days when businesses could count on returning college students to meet the demand; seasonal recruitment in the restaurant, hospitality, retail and manufacturing sectors is an increasingly competitive affair, with qualified and dependable employees hard to find. When you factor in the time and expense involved with onboarding, training, insuring and vetting these new recruits, it can seem amazing that any business is done at all.

Trion has found that many of our clients have been able to both accelerate seasonal hiring and streamline management of the abundance of onboarding/offboarding related tasks that seasonal businesses experience at least twice a year. Our ability to provide enterprise-quality benefits and perks to workers provides employers with a powerful recruiting advantage, helping them to win top talent away from competitors. Meanwhile, our ability to streamline the hiring, onboarding, and offboarding processes from an HR standpoint means that companies need to invest less (or nothing at all) on in-house HR activities, both in terms of capital and effort. While we handle vetting, compliance and related non-revenue generating paperwork, owners and managers are able to focus their efforts on issues that matter, like sales, marketing, manufacture and delivery.

Working with Trion provides businesses with the same flexibility that employing temporary seasonal help does: The ability to have the right resources available when you need them – and to not have to pay for them when you don’t. It’s a flexible, scalable arrangement that enables businesses to be “right sized” at all times, not incurring high fixed costs during off-peak periods.

As we’ve grown our operations in northern Michigan and worked with an increasing number of seasonally-based businesses, we’ve found that this approach often provides our clients with a new measure of stability and security they hadn’t experienced before. Freed from the need to devote time and resources to routine HR services, confident that compliance is maintained and risks are mitigated, business owners gain the ability to do things that the annual upsizing/downsizing ritual had precluded before: Innovate, expand product and service offerings, improve market outreach, and build stronger customer relationships. The results show up in the form of improved competitive positions – and a better bottom line.

As the 2018 “Up North” season gets underway, we’re looking forward to helping all of our northern Michigan clients build upon their recent successes – and we’re ready to help new Trion customers realize the same benefits for themselves.


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