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Need Holiday Help? Tips for Making Strong Hiring Decisions

As the holidays approach, retailers have begun hiring additional holiday help. In 2011, retailers hired more than 600,000 seasonal workers, and the National Retailers Federation estimates numbers will be similar this year.

Filling so many positions in such a short time can mean added stress and quick hiring decisions. Because of the hurried nature of the hiring process, less time is committed to ensuring employees are a good fit for their positions and injuries are more likely to occur. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that workers with only one year of experience account for 34% of all lost-time claims and costs. Therefore, it’s critical for retailers to spend ample time on pre-screening and hiring processes.

Here are some helpful hints when it comes to seasonal hiring:

· Incorporate safety education and training for new employees. Those working in a seasonal capacity are as much at risk of injury as a permanent employee. Ensure adequate time and resources are spent providing them the necessary information and instruction on the hazards of the job and safe work practices.

· Give serious consideration to employee referrals of qualified candidates, which often result in the best hires.

· Consider recruiting for seasonal positions using online sites, such as Monster or CareerBuilder, low-cost options such as local Chambers of Commerce and social media outlets such as LinkedIn.

· Consider using a talent-management system to help you manage the flow and assess the skills of your candidates.

· Consider your long-term talent needs. A seasonal worker this year may prove to be an attractive candidate for next season or full-time employment.

· Consider attitude as well as aptitude! Seasonal work is all about being flexible and getting up to speed quickly — employees with a good attitude will be easier to train and more dependable.

· Always require and check past employment references and strongly consider investing in at least basic background checks as acondition of employment before putting anyone to work.

· Thoroughly explain the tasks of the job, and demonstrate them step by step. Observe the employee perform the tasks and ask questions to gauge understanding. Ask and give positive and corrective feedback to ensure adequacy of the job performance.

Background checks provide the most thorough history on an applicant. The National Retail Federation reports that 97% of retailers surveyed utilize background screenings during their hiring process. With such a large influx of applicants during the holiday season, background checks are a good way to whittle down your candidates. A few things to look at:

· Credit reports, which are especially important for anyone who may be handling cash at your business. Be sure to get written consent from potential employees prior to checking their credit.

· Criminal records, which may seem obvious, but laws vary, so be sure to check your state laws before requesting an applicant’s criminal record.

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, be sure to slow down when making your seasonal hiring decisions. The safety of your employees and your business depends on it.

Want to know more? If you’re a United Heartland customer, contact your loss control representative today.