‘Tis the Season to Avoid Hiring Ho Ho Ho-rrors

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You Better Watch Out: Screening Seasonal Workers for the Holidays Can Help Prevent Substantial Losses

Nobody wants a real-life “Bad Santa” – or his sidekick – on the payroll this holiday season. With that in mind, here are some ways to avoid seasonal hires that can give you visions of things far worse than sugar plums dancing in your head.

Seasonal hiring is certainly a necessity for many organizations. According to Monster, hiring for 2017 seasonal jobs is already up 3.8% over 2016, with 75,255 job ads for seasonal positions in September. That number is expected to increase; there were 81,392 lob listings for seasonal employment posted last year.

But there’s risk. A recent study by the National Retail Federation found that thefts from retailers and other inventory “shrink” grew to $48.9 billion in 2016. Shrink was divided into shoplifting and organized retail crime (36.5 percent), employee theft/internal (30 percent), administrative paperwork error (21.3 percent) and vendor fraud or error (5.4 percent).

This year, here’s how to keep guys like Willie and Marcus from raiding your coffers, and keeping your holiday season bright:

  • Run a background check on all people working for or with your organization; this includes, temporary staff, volunteers and vendors. Even in a rush to hire for the busy holiday season, it may be risky to take shortcuts. Rather than overwork internal staff, outsource background checks to a full-service screening expert that can do a thorough job quickly. This is critical if seasonal employees have access to sensitive or proprietary information.
  • Be aware that negligent hiring and tort risks extend beyond full-time employees to the extended workforce, according to “Practical Steps for Extended Workforce Screening,” a comprehensive white paper written for HireRight by employment expert Littler Mendelson,
  • Make sure to stay in compliance with all labor laws, including child labor regulations. Don’t hire “contractors” for positions that require W-2 employees. Violations that result in fines, legal costs, and could even jeopardize your business.’

Expert information is available in HireRight’s new white paper, “Checking in on Employment Background Checks: Are You in Compliance with the EEOC, FCRA, Federal and Local Requirements?” We also invite you to consult HireRight’s authoritative eBook on Pay Equity legislation, if you are in any of the states, territories, or cities that have passed such legislation.

  • Be aware that a seasonal employee is:
    • (a) hired into a position which typically lasts for six months or less;
    • (b) the position must begin at about the same time each year (e.g. every summer or every winter.)
  • Review your practices in hiring, training, and supervising seasonal workers. Loss prevention experts say that adding temporary staff may increase the possibility of holiday theft because planning for the holiday rush may push employers to be less stringent than usual. Seasonal workers may have little or no loyalty, receive inadequate training, and are supervised less carefully than regular staff. Whether a temp, a volunteer, or a vendor, it may prove to your financial advantage to run background checks through a screening professional.

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe help to make the season bright. Running background checks on all seasonal workers may make it even brighter.

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Lewis Lustman

Lewis Lustman is a content marketer who enjoys developing materials that engage, inform, challenge, and hopefully entertain my audience. Lewis is a former journalist for Los Angeles Magazine and the Los Angeles Times, and has worked for a number of leading advertising, marketing, technology, and PR firms over the years. Interested in a topic that he hasn't yet tackled? Drop him a line in the comments section!

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