Seasonal hiring is critical for many U.S. companies during the holiday season. It’s estimated by the National Retail Federation (NRF) that U.S. retailers will hire approximately 500,000 seasonal workers during the 2017 holiday season. With a longer shopping season and an increase in consumer confidence this year, these workers will support an anticipated 4% growth in retail sales.
Although seasonal hiring is a boon to busy retailers, it also creates many risks. Despite the temporary nature of seasonal workers, they can create just as many liabilities as full-time staff. Employers need to take appropriate steps to safeguard their brand and core assets.
Not surprisingly, the most significant threat to retailers is theft. The most recent report from the Global Retail Theft Barometer shows that retail shrinkage costs $123.4 billion to retailers globally. In the United States, employee theft is the leading cause, accounting for 43% of lost revenue. Because seasonal workers often have little loyalty, less training, and are supervised less carefully, they are more prone to commit employee theft. Additionally, seasonal employees may cause damage in more ways than hard costs.
Seasonal workers have the same exposure to customers and employees as regular staff. A workplace violence incident or an encounter that puts a customer at risk could come from seasonal workers that are not properly vetted. Aside from the expense of possible lawsuits, these incidents could cause irreplaceable damage to a company’s brand and reputation.
Despite these risks, many employers do not subject their seasonal employees to the same level of scrutiny as full-time employees. Although background screening can catch many red flags from candidates, many companies are unwilling to apply comprehensive screenings for seasonal workers. Although employers may be reluctant to invest the same effort in screening a seasonal worker, it’s important to note these risks exist regardless of the length of employment.
Failing to conduct a thorough background check on seasonal workers creates two problems:
1. It increases liability from applicants more likely to have a criminal history. The holiday season is a busy time and it’s well known that companies need to hire quickly. When seasonal jobs open up, many applicants with a criminal background apply because they assume a thorough background check won’t be completed. In many cases, they are correct.
2. It makes it harder to transition seasonal employees to full-time staff. Because employers benefit from hiring the best talent, many top performers transition to full-time staff after the holiday season. If the company forgets to do a more comprehensive screening on these workers, it can be easy to place unvetted employees in a position of trust. Even if the company remembers to do a more complete screening, it adds a cost and time expenditure that could have been mitigated through a thorough screening earlier.
Unvetted Workers Aren’t Just a Seasonal Problem
Making a poor hire could cause problems not only during the holiday season, but for years to come. Fortunately, many of these risks can be mitigated through an effective screening policy. We understand the importance of providing a comprehensive background check with quick turnaround times.
To help our clients in the retail industry, we’ve developed solutions to streamline the hiring process, which include easy integration with HR software, customizable search packages, and dedicated account management. We also provide scalable service and invoicing tailored to retail, which allows you to plan budgets and track attrition and retention by location.
If you’re ready to take the next steps in protecting your company during the seasonal rush, please download our white paper below: