I worked for a small box retailer who like many other retailers did most of their business for the year from November through January. Since the sales and foot traffic were at their highest points during this time of the year it was necessary to employ “seasonal” employees. Typically these “seasonal” employees were temporary employees used in part time shifts to help shoulder the craziness of the holidays. Some retailers do a great job all year employing a reputable background check company with qualified background check experts to scrutinize employees that they have deemed worthy of hiring. Then there are same retailers who completely drop the ball and allow a huge influx of temporary employees into their locations to work without conducting any employee background checks whatsoever. In my experience I have noted in detail that while, yes, sales do go through the roof during the holidays so does shrink. By the time the dust settles and end of year inventories are conducted most retailers who have not conducted background checks are left to scratch their heads at terrible inventory results. Meanwhile those temporary employees whom have caused most of the losses were already hastily let go to save payroll thus leaving no recourse for the retailer’s loss prevention department.
This is a frustrating cycle that could be broken by ensuring a proper pre employment screening process is in place before any employee is offered a job. Retailers should start with the overall ideology that every employee both full time and part time should not work one shift before submitting to both a criminal background check as well as an employee background check. Selecting a good background check company with a team of background check experts requires a good deal of research that should be done at the beginning of the year, not at the holiday onset. Typically employees who apply and work for holiday help positions do not have a vested interest in the companies for which they temporarily work. The more nefarious side of this situation that loss prevention professionals encounter are those “seasonal” employees who specifically go to work during the holidays with the goal to steal as much as possible. These types of thieves target companies who do not conduct any type of employee background checks.This, specifically, is one reason that conducting background checks on previous employment is necessary. We used the previous employment check to even identify employees who in the past worked at our company in stores where shrink had been very high. Having background check experts conducting these background checks even caught mistakes made within our own human resource record keeping department.
To sum up, employers will have a successful holiday season if they start with a detailed pre employment screening process. Retailers should conduct detailed interviews and follow up interviews which focus on asking tough questions regarding previous employment, brushes with the law and a history of residence. The next step should be an orientation explaining the mission statement of the company, the methods investigations are conducted, how the company deals with thieves and last but not least the fact the company will be conducting criminal background checks. This process will deter the career criminal who would see fit to work for you for the purpose of the “five finger discount”.
Background check experts would be the first to tell you that employee background checks are not full proof and can not guarantee the integrity of the employee you hire. Background checks are merely another tool to weed out potential threats to your business. From a loss prevention perspective it is necessary to have a pre employment screening process as a layer of protection especially during the holiday season. It’s like having an extra man on the field watching your back. The holiday season is the time of year when things are running loose and ragged and is when things will slip through the cracks. Loss Prevention, at times, has to plug in to help sales, focus less on audits, training and case resolution. Criminal background checks are a non invasive way to help keep problems from arising. Do your homework to ensure you select the right background check company for your business and it will pay you back in dividends.
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