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What every retailer needs to know about holiday hiring


For a variety of retailers – from supermarkets, to restaurants, to department and convenience stores – the holiday shopping season represents the peak time of year for staffing up on temporary workers to help meet all of the increase in consumer demand. However, the need to staff up may be even greater this year as some companies have already been operating with limited capacity given the nation-wide labor shortage.

Now that the marketplace has to couple the shortage predicament with the increased demand for seasonal workers, it’s no surprise that companies need to find creative ways to attract contract employees and temporary workers to help fill in the gaps this holiday season.

As companies begin to staff up for the season, some of them may not be aware that they now need to be prepared to take on workers' compensation risks for their independent contractors. This is in addition to their permanent employees since the National Labor Relations Board now views temporary workers to be essentially the same as regular employees. Because of this new regulation, it’s becoming even more vital for retailers to deploy best practices when hiring contractors, and, to implement the latest prevention solutions in order to reduce on-the-job injuries this year.

Experts are predicting that retailers will add roughly 755,000 seasonal hires to their payrolls this season. This means a large influx of employees will have to be factored into risk mitigation strategies within a very short period of time. However, even with this huge inflow of workers, it’s important that organizations be mindful not to short-cut their on-boarding and safety procedures. This is especially important since retail organizations, like many other industries, have to fight against some of the most common workplace hazards like slipping and falling, overexertion, equipment malfunctions, chemical-product spills, and repetitive motions that create ergonomic injuries.

WorkWell Prevention & Carebelieves that one of the primary ways to help mitigate workers’ compensation occurrences this season is for companies to deploy some industry best practices that are designed to facilitate a safer and healthier workplace environment – even for contractor and temp employees.

Below are some of the latest solutions for organizations to consider when hiring seasonal workers this year.

Do not cut corners with your evaluation procedures.

Since companies are often in a rush to staff up during peak seasons, they may skip over some important steps like doing background checks or pre-work screenings on potential candidates. A pre-work screen allows companies to identify an applicant’s ability to perform the physical demands of a specific job. If the test shows that a temp employee cannot perform the physical requirements of the job, the hiring manager may want to consider them for another position or explore other options.

Identify candidates who will help create a positive work environment.

There is a great pool of temporary employees, many of whom have positive attitudes and take their job responsibilities very seriously – even if it’s only a short term gig. However, every potential candidate may not demonstrate these attributes. This is why it’s so important to determine the attitude and disposition of your contract employees during the screening process. Seasonal employees with positive attitudes may be more willing to follow job procedures and, therefore, may be a lower risk for worker’s compensation related incidents.

Implement solutions that ensure a safer and healthier workplace.

There are now a number of prevention and early intervention solutions that will help employees deliver a stronger job performance, while also protecting companies from unnecessary risks. Some solutions to consider include:

On-site Ergonomic Solutions: Involves physical therapists before injuries occur (not just after occurrences), to work with employees, supervisors and management to understand workflow and all job task requirements. As result, therapists are able to recommend optimum positions, ergonomic strategies and physical movements required at work stations to minimize musculoskeletal impact on the employee.

New Hire Conditioning: Provides work-oriented exercises and functional activity to improve employees’ strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, so they are able to perform their job better while reducing risks.

Prompt Reporting: Educates and engages employees to report any health concerns as soon as they notice any discomfort (before the problem escalates).

Incentives/Bonuses: Offers rewards and recognition to employees who perform their jobs safely each month. Incentives can be small tokens like gift cards or larger items like end-of-year bonuses to employees who demonstrate the most consistent workplace safety habits.

When prevention and early intervention tactics are integrated across an entire workforce and include regular staff members, as well as temporary employees, organizations are able to decrease on-the-job injuries and loss time from work incidents. By using some of the latest solutions that are now available, companies will also be better equipped at mitigating business liabilities and other risks associated with labor-driven workplaces this holiday season.

Liz Griggs is chairman and CEO of WorkWell Prevention & Care. To learn more about prevention and early intervention solutions visit

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