You Better Watch Out—and Run Background Checks on Seasonal Staff

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contractor stealing money

Next to seeing that one overzealous neighbor setting up his Christmas decorations in October, the most troubling aspect of the holiday season is retailers hurrying to hire elves temporary workers to handle the holiday rush. Some businesses may want to play Scrooge by not conducting background checks on temps. After all, they’ll be gone soon and are hardly worth the investment, right?

So. Terribly. Wrong. Consider:

  • During the holidays, temps who may not have steady work and be strapped for cash, may be tempted to go after your resources.
  • Temps have no vested interest in, or loyalty to, your company.
  • Increased and often frantic shopping may make stealing without being noticed much easier.

Don’t be naughty. Be nice and check this list twice:

  1. Temporary employees may have the same access to your business’s data, cash and customers as full-time employees. Losses from theft, fraud, paperwork errors and other sources cost businesses $46.8 billion in 2017; employee or internal theft accounted for 33% of total retail shrinkage. Help cut your losses by checking all workers’ backgrounds. Case in point: One HireRight customer found that for every dollar the company spent on background checks, another $15 were saved in shrinkage.
  2. Employees with access to credit and debit card numbers, and other sensitive information also have the access to wreak havoc on valued customers, draining bank accounts, maxing out credit cards and opening new cards in shoppers’ names. In 2017, identity fraud hit a record high with 16.7 million U.S. victims and losses amounting to $16.8 billion.
  3. You may decide that that temporary employee is doing such a good job that you’d like to hire them as a permanent member of your organization. Having already run a background check will make the transition process faster, and you’ll probably feel more comfortable knowing they’ve already been screened.  Many organizations even consider their “temp-to-perm” transition as a milestone opportunity to rescreen, just to make sure nothing has transpired since they were brought onboard.

The good news is that more retail professionals are realizing ‘tis the season to screen temporary workers: Data from HireRight’s 2018 Benchmark Report found that 84% of survey respondents are conducting background checks, up from only 41% six years ago.

Screening temporary workers prior to the busy holiday shopping season will go far in the long run. And much like Rudolph, HireRight can help guide the way.

For more on seasonal, non-employee staff, and many other topics, see our Resource Library.



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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