Each year, U.S. retailers lose over $37 billion in stolen products, according to FBI statistics. A large portion of this theft occurs during the holiday season, from October to December when retailers are stocking up for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas shoppers. As customers fill their stores in droves, retailers have a major seasonal hiring push to meet the higher demand for products and services. Some seasonal hires will deal directly with customers in sales or customer service positions. Others will be doing inventory, fulfillment and other necessary tasks to bring products to customers.
These temporary employees greatly assist employers in meeting the needs of their clients. But they can also represent a liability if employers do not consider the risks associated with hiring seasonal employees. These risks include employee theft, employee substance abuse, and fraudulent workers compensation claims. Today we will cover the five ways that employers can avoid seasonal hiring pitfalls.
- Background Screening. The most effective way to keep theft down is to avoid hiring thieves. We recommend employers conduct criminal history searches, Driver History searches, and a Social Security trace at the bare minimum. These searches will help employers avoid hiring convicted criminals and ensure the background was done on the applicant by matching their date of birth to their name and Social Security number.
- Drug Testing. 8-panel and 12-panel screening should be performed to ensure your seasonal workforce is working safely and productively. Screening for marijuana, cocaine, and a host of other illegal narcotics send the message that your company will not tolerate drug abuse. Aside from lower productivity due to being under the influence, many employers do not consider the safety risks associated with drug use. For example, if a forklift operator is high on methamphetamine and not paying attention to his surroundings, he could easily injure himself and others. Employers need to have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugs.
- Employee physicals. Workers compensation claims can be very costly and time-consuming to defend against, especially when the claim is fraudulent. Of course, work place injuries are a very serious subject and unfortunately, they are a reality in just about every industry. To help minimize the instances of Workers Compensation claims, we recommend employee physicals prior to hiring. This helps employers understand the existing health of an applicant and whether they are suited to a particular position, or more likely to injure or irritate an existing injury.
- Decide between in-house or agency hiring. Understand that employee personnel records, time cards, benefits, tax information, payroll, and workers compensation documentation needs to be kept secured and available for future needs. Decide whether you want to make such records for seasonal employees the responsibility of your company, or whether you want to use a staffing agency to fulfill your seasonal hiring needs.
- Train all new hires on your policies and procedures. This will ensure that all employees are following the same playbook, which will lesson feelings of favoritism from Seasonal hires toward permanent employees. This will also lessen the burden on your managers, who generally have to explain the policies and procedures to the new employees ad infinitum.