With a robust economy fueling labor market growth, retail giant Target expects to hire up to 130,000 temporary holiday workers, while package handler UPS forecasts employing 100,000 new temporary drivers and sorters. The nation’s largest employer, Wal Mart, will again this year forego the holiday hiring frenzy and instead offer more hours and fatter paychecks to its current part- and full-time staff.

Employers large and small throughout the country are ramping up for the busy holiday season by placing millions of seasonal workers on their payrolls. Let’s look at the kind of people they’re looking for and the strategies they’re using to lure and keep people on the payroll through the end of holiday period.

Student workers

Students have always been a mainstay of the temporary workforce world, even more so during the holiday seasons.

High schools and colleges seem to have long holiday breaks, giving college students in particular, ample time to find work to pay down tuition or to keep from adding to hefty student loans. Some employers are offering tuition reimbursement to make their workplace even more attractive to student workers.

Seasonal student workers also are attracted to the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and demonstrate desirable work behaviors that often lead to permanent jobs after graduation. Many students are attracted to employers that offer discounted merchandise (think clothing store) or activities (think ski resort) that appeal to their lifestyles.

Retired workers

Those retired people willing to return to work for short periods of time bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to employers.

Most are work-ready having spent a lifetime of laboring for multiple employers. Some are interested in the extra cash, while many others just want to feel useful again and to re-engage in meaningful activities. Companies that offer social engagement with co-workers and customers are most likely to attract this valuable source of help.

Current workers

Wal Mart’s approach to seasonal staffing seems obvious: Look internally for your needs.

With a huge full- and part-time work force in place, ramping up for the hordes of holiday shoppers visiting their stores means adding hours to the part-timer’s schedule and offering overtime to full-time workers. This approach eliminates the need for orientation and training of new workers and keeps valuable workers on the floor.

This is probably the most productive approach to temporary staffing. It can increase the morale of employees when extra work is offered to them instead of having to watch new hires join the store and take money out of their pockets.

Spot workers

These people are on the fringes of the labor market, often ready to return to temporary work if they “spot” a job with desirable working conditions and attractive pay.

Frequently they’re registered with employment agencies who offer them the variety of work they seek. Spot workers like a short-term gig with plenty of variability and are not likely to want permanent employment. They are quite willing to enter and leave the labor market as they please.

Seasonal workers fill the voids in the labor market economy during periods of high demand. Employers that are able to identify the needs of their preferred seasonal workers and offer desirable compensation and working conditions will be successful in their efforts to keep staffing at an optimal level during the rush of the holiday season.

Gerald J. Koppes, SPHR, is a retired instructor from Northeast Iowa College and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.