top of page

3 Best Ways to Lock in Returning Seasonal Workers in 2022


Are you seeing peak seasonal hiring time rolling around again and feeling the uncertainty of whether you’ll have enough workers?

We’ve seen growers lock in their returning workers up to five months in advance. This gives certainty to the workers and certainty to you. Some growers have been able to secure up to 60% of their workforce from returning workers alone. And they say that these are the workers who turn up when they say they will and they stay for the season.

The first step to get this underway is to get in touch and check their interest to come back for another season. It doesn’t just have to be workers from last year. Some workers will skip a season (or two) and still return to the same company.

Once you know they are interested, locking them in is as easy as sending them a link from PICMI. Make sure you collect three key pieces of data from them to enable you to forecast and secure them with a contract through PICMI.

But let’s go back to the beginning and step through the three ways you can contact returning workers to lock them in for your coming 2022-2023 season.






Phone/Email and track answers yourself

  • Simple

  • Time consuming

  • Error prone


​Email workers to enter their answers in a form and follow up yourself

  • Scalable

  • Easy to set up

  • One chance


Use a system to email, track and follow up workers to enter their answers

  • Scalable

  • Nudge creates more data

  • Needs expertise

Approach One—Personal: Phone/Email and track answers yourself

This is the default method by most employers. Get out your list of workers from last year and start working through it contacting people. We all have different ways of knowing who to contact because there are some people you know you don’t want to contact. For now, we are focusing on the majority of people that you do want to return.

When contacting people, we need to record the information. Both the original list and the ongoing information is stored either paper-based, on our computer or in the cloud. It’s best these days that it is stored digitally because we can contact people digitally and that means we don’t have to enter information repetitively. For example, if we send out an email having all the email addresses in a digital list means we can copy-and-paste the addresses into the emailer and avoid errors and save time.

We use various spreadsheet systems (e.g. Google Sheets, Excel, Airtable) to record information. That means whether people email you responses or talk to you, you still have to get that information into your spreadsheet.



The cost of direct phone and email contact is minimal. In most cases, it is free to call or email someone. It only costs time, which is a valuable commodity. However, the time spent communicating with potential employees can be worth it in the long run. Setting up a basic list in a spreadsheet is now common practice.


The most serious issue is that your returning staff may be unreachable when you try to contact them. Returnees may or may not call you back depending on whether you leave a voice message or send a follow up text message. Obviously, all this tracking and following up is time consuming—particularly the time spent on people who don't want to come back. It's simple to overlook recording the valuable information of people who don't want to continue participating.

Looking for alternatives to Google Sheets or Excel, try this google search (

Approach Two—Forms: Email job seekers links to provide information via forms

The second way focuses on getting the workers to enter the data rather than you. The main difference is that you set up an online form that captures all the information into a spreadsheet. The workers use the form to enter data and you store the data separately in the spreadsheet (so that it remains private). This approach still requires you to have your email list ready but instead of calling everyone to talk to them, your goal is to send them a link to the spreadsheet.

There are three main tasks:

  1. Set up a form

  2. Send a link to the workers

  3. Review the data to see the progress



The biggest win here is that workers do all the work and you can track progress when it suits you. The cost of sending out an email is low. Most people find setting up a system like Google Forms is easy to learn and fast to complete. It provides simple reporting. The data is stored in Google Sheets for further processing—so the data are no different from the first approach.


The most serious issue is following up people who don't respond and the time that it takes tracking that process. A minor problem you can find is people typing in their own email addresses incorrectly! And then there are people who genuinely need follow up that you still want. Finally, there is also a hidden problem of accidentally emailing people that is considered "spam" by not allowing people to opt out. Because it is from you personally rather than from a machine, this is an annoyance rather than a real business problem.

Looking for alternatives to Google Forms, try this google search (

Approach Three—Campaign: Track and capture responses automatically using an email campaign

The last and best way we have found is to use an email campaign system that sends out a series of emails as reminders and follow ups. Usually we design four emails in total. The first three all prompt the worker to enter the information we require. Between each email is a delay (we can set these to days or weeks) that reminds the worker to respond. At any point, they can also decline or unsubscribe. All of this is recorded and you can see reports at any time. A final email is when there is no response at all from the worker. This is recorded too. At the end of this campaign, you have a full set of data knowing their positive, negative or lack of response against each worker.



With no extra effort, you can deal with 10s to 100s of people. Automatically track how long an email takes to get opened and responded to. The system includes follow-ups/reminders. It allows users to respond quickly and easily by simply pressing a button. Growers with fewer than 1000 people generally have a free plan.


The first time you set up the campaign, it takes a little longer and is more difficult. It may be reused, but it needs some effort in the beginning. It isn’t as personal as talking but there should be plenty of time for that once they are onboard.

Looking for Email Campaign systems, try this google search (

See our MailerLite video tutorials for doing an Email Direct Marketing (EDM) designed for securing returning workers. The campaign has a series of four emails that capture responses for the upcoming season.


Returning seasonal workers can be a great asset to your business, but it's important to make sure you're recruiting and retaining them in the most cost-effective way possible. We've outlined some of the pros and cons of different methods for doing so, and we hope you find one that works best for you.

PICMI perfectly fits with locking in these workers. First, it enables you to export details on your previous workers into an email campaign or direct campaign (eg. phone calls). Once you have contacted your workers, PICMI enables you to send a large volume of email invites to sign up returning workers. Finally, it allows you to track who has accepted and how many vacancies are remaining.


bottom of page