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Tips for Developing a Mobile Talent Pool

At Camping World, a designated HR staff member focuses on matching each employee's list of preferences for seasonal destinations with local managers' projections of seasonal work needs.

September 18, 2003
Camping World’s HR team says that a company can benefit tremendously fromencouraging some of its employees to travel around the country seasonally andwork in different store locations. They offer the following tips on how to setup such a program.

Use the appeal of travel to recruit high-quality employees. Camping Worlduses its mobile-crewmember program to recruit employees who are often older andhave extensive work experience. That enables the company to fill its seasonalworkforce needs in various locations with increased competence.

    Make it easier for mobile employees to travel. Camping World actuallyreimburses employees for their mileage between locations, and picks up a portionof their rental costs at RV parks. An experienced seasonal employee is likely tobring in additional revenue that more than covers the cost of such perks.

    Make sure your health-benefits package is flexible and portable. CampingWorld’s benefits plan is structured so that employees who take time off totravel between the company’s peak retail seasons can still accumulate enoughwork hours to qualify for full coverage. And the company’s preferred-providersetup makes it simple for mobile employees to quickly find medical care, nomatter where they land.

Train mobile employees to fill skilled positions. If your business isseasonal, you probably have a spike not just in retail, but in repair work andother service demands as well. Seasonal workers who can step right in andperform those jobs will help you avoid slowdowns caused by shortages ofmechanics or technicians, or the need to break in new ones. You’ll boostcustomer satisfaction in the process.

Set up a central traffic manager for workforce mobility. It’s certainlypossible to have workers simply apply directly to site managers for seasonaltransfers, but you can achieve greater efficiency if you manage the process fromheadquarters. At Camping World, a designated HR staff member focuses on matchingeach employee’s list of preferences for seasonal destinations with localmanagers’ projections of seasonal work needs. That way, everyone’s needs aresatisfied.

Workforce, October 2002, p. 60 -- Subscribe Now!