Tips for Hiring Seasonal Workers

Topics: Small Business Advice

Summary: As companies start getting ready for the busy holiday season, many may focus on attracting customers and hiring seasonal workers quickly. However, it’s important to keep employee safety in mind, too. Find out some of the top mistakes employers make when hiring seasonal workers – and what they can do to avoid them.

Many retail stores add temporary staff during the holiday season to handle higher traffic and increased demand. Although hiring temporary employees helps to ensure customers are adequately served and the shelves remain stocked, it also brings with it some unique risks and challenges for employers.

Slowing Inflation, the Persistent Labor Shortage and Seasonal Workers

The rate of inflation will be appreciably lower this holiday season than it was last year. But as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell recently noted, it’s still too high, and prices have not receded as much as consumers would have liked to see. With experts predicting only a modest (3%-4%) increase this year over last, it’s clear that, while overall spending will be robust, many Americans will again be watching their wallets and looking for bargains.

Even so, US retailers are going to need to hire more than half a million new temporary workers to meet the increased seasonal demand. Due to the stubborn persistence of the labor shortage, this will not be an easy task, especially for small businesses that can’t compete with the wages offered by giants like Target and Walmart. Unfortunately, despite the valiant efforts of employers, American consumers can expect to do much of their holiday shopping in understaffed stores.

Businesses large and small have described their need for seasonal employees as a ‘desperate’ situation. But a word of caution is in order: Employers should not let their need for workers cause them to make costly errors when hiring personnel. The potential damage (in reputation and liability) a bad hire can do to an organization can easily outweigh any benefit they might bring.

Employers need to remain diligent in their hiring and onboarding procedures if they want to avoid common and costly mistakes when hiring holiday staff.

3 Common Employer Missteps When Hiring Temporary Employees

seasonal worker hired for holidays

After constructing the job description, carefully creating a fast-track onboarding process and going through extensive interviews, employers often let a few things slide when temporary staff starts work. Here are three commons mistakes businesses make when hiring seasonal employees:

Forgetting Labor Laws Still Apply

Laws governing workplace safety, discrimination and harassment, wage and hours, and full-time employee benefits apply to temporary employees; however, many businesses neglect to follow their established procedures when taking on temporary employees. 

This potentially expensive and damaging mistake can be avoided by checking in with the local labor office to determine the requirements for short-term employees. If you’re not sure, it’s best to follow regular hiring procedures, even if the employees will only be with you a few weeks.

Neglecting to Perform Background Checks

A professional-looking resume doesn’t necessarily equate to a clean and tidy work history. More often than not, employers looking for holiday staffing or seasonal employees overlook the background check to save time. While this can quicken the hiring process, it also carries increased risk for the business.

 Managers need to ensure they hire reliable staff members, even if it’s only for a few weeks. Employees with a criminal background or an unreliable work history may become much more of a risk than a benefit during the holiday shopping season.

Not Making Safety Training a Priority

New and inexperienced employees are more prone to injury than full-time, permanent employees; however, this is a completely preventable issue. Ensure safety training is a strong focus in your new hire orientation. Plus, offer ongoing training and mentoring to prevent injuries to your staff. 

While it may seem counterintuitive to spend extra time training seasonal employees, the cost of safety is much more affordable than the cost of an expensive employee lawsuit.

Understanding the trends in retail workers’ compensation claims can also help business owners tailor their safety training to address the most common injuries and risks.

Pro Tips for Hiring Temporary or Seasonal Employees

AmTrust’s Loss Control and Workers' Compensation teams offer these top five tips for lowering risk when working with temporary employees:
  1. Hire the right team. Apply the same rigor to hiring temporary employees as you would for permanent, full-time employees to help make sure your team is successful.

  2. Prepare to prevent loss. During the onboarding process, set new employees up for success by teaching them to look for suspicious customer behaviors.

  3. Arrange a plan. Employees should be trained to stay safe and not engage during a robbery or theft. Offer clear instructions to help avoid an expensive employee injury claim.

  4. Protect the team. Busy times in a store can lead to difficulty maneuvering through extra inventory, which can increase trip and fall exposures. Plan ahead to help protect employees.

  5. Avoid unique risks. Limit the addition of increased risk exposures in your operation during times with a large temporary staff. Instead, hold off on any big changes until you have time to prepare your team.

Mitigate the Risk of Temporary Employees

Extra time and a little care can go a long way to avoiding an expensive claim, employee lawsuit, or employee injury with temporary staff. Preparing your business inside and out for the winter season can help lessen the risks of employee injury. 

Small business owners  have many things to worry about from hosting a holiday party and giving clients gifts. or safely decorating your business for the holidays. Having the right temporary staff during the holiday season can help mitigate the risks of hiring temporary employees. 

Small Business Insurance Solutions from AmTrust

AmTrust Financial Services is a niche specialty property and casualty insurance company, focusing on small business insurance solutions with an emphasis on workers’ compensation. It’s our goal to deliver outstanding insurance and risk solutions to our small business insureds. For more information, please contact us or connect with an agent today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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