The holiday hiring season is already well underway, with Glassdoor reporting retail job openings are up four percent this year compared to the same time period in 2018. And this year, the historically-low unemployment rate presents an added challenge to employers as they look to staff up for the holidays in a tight labor market

While many seasonal employees are hired on a temporary basis, you'll likely notice that some of your holiday hires stand out as top contributors on your team. If this is the case, you might want to consider keeping them on staff for the long run, which will help set your team up for success going into the new year. 

How can you tell if a seasonal hire is worth hiring on a permanent basis? I've outlined some key criteria to look for below. 

1. Willingness to go above and beyond.

During the holidays and any other busy season, your team needs employees who are flexible and dedicated. Top employees will treat the holiday season as an audition of sorts and do their best to excel in their roles. 

Going above and beyond can be as simple as having a flexible schedule and being open to taking on extra shifts during busy periods. It can also include eagerness to learn about your organization and taking on tasks that aren't necessarily part of the job description. 

Take note of any employees who exceed expectations you have for seasonal employees, especially as you're deciding who to hire as a permanent employee. 

2. A strong sense of teamwork.

If seasonal workers don't plan on staying with your team for an extended period, they might not put in the effort to build relationships or interact with your other team members. But the best employees -- both seasonal and permanent -- understand the importance of teamwork. 

If you notice certain employees are quick to build a strong rapport with fellow team members, this is likely a sign they'd be a fit for your team long-term. Other signs to look for include: employees who train or assist other team members without being asked and employees who reach out to their managers asking if there's anything they can do to help.

Turning team players into permanent employees will benefit your organization in many ways. These employees will contribute positively to your culture and motivate other employees to do great work, boosting productivity as a result. 

3. Top-notch customer service.

Whether you work in retail, hospitality, logistics or any other industry that hires a significant number of seasonal employees, the job can get busy and stressful at times. But the best employees won't let this stress get in the way of offering your customers the best service possible. 

Keep an eye on how your seasonal employees interact with customers. For example, if they deal with frustrated or emotional customers in a calm, rational manner, they're likely the kind of employees you want to keep on your team permanently. The same goes for employees who offer customers help before they even ask. The customer experience can ultimately make or break the success of your business, so it's critical for your employees to offer top-notch customer service at all times.

4. Interest in long-term positions.

This might seem like an obvious point, but it's important for your team to take note of any seasonal employees who openly express interest in transitioning into long-term roles. Some temporary employees truly intend to only stick around for the holiday season -- such as college students on break -- while others likely hope for their roles to be made permanent. 

According to a survey UPS conducted with its seasonal workers, nearly 70 percent of those surveyed want their seasonal jobs to turn into permanent positions, while 90 percent agreed that seasonal and temporary jobs are a good way to move into a permanent career.

While you can't hire every employee who is interested in a permanent role, work with your HR team to take stock of which employees have proactively asked to stay with the team. If you've noticed some of these team members stand out as rockstar employees, figure out where they'll best fit in a more permanent capacity. 

Hiring the right employees for your seasonal roles can be challenging and time consuming, especially in today's tight labor market. But by identifying which hires would best fit permanent employees, you can turn your top seasonal staff members into long-term investments on your team.