From The Editor | October 7, 2015

Onboarding Holiday Help? Don't Cut Corners

Matt Pillar

By Matt Pillar, chief editor

Onboarding Holiday Help

Earlier this month, I shared a few tips for hiring holiday help in a shallow labor pool marked by low unemployment and a growing population of able-bodied Americans who simply don’t want to work.

It’s crunch time for retailers to bulk up on seasonal staff, and with a limited labor market, many risk onboarding warm bodies at best, and bad actors at worst.

The holiday rush might make it tempting to skip important steps in the store associate vetting process. But, foregoing candidate screening and background checks is a risky idea and a completely avoidable mistake.

It’s a bad idea because uncommitted seasonal associates are often the most likely to pilfer cash and inventory from their temporary employers. The industry’s shrink rate is perennially higher in the fourth quarter than at any other time of the year, and that’s a result of more people—customers and associates alike—in retail stores. Terrence Shulman, JD, LMSW, ACSW, CAAC, CPC, framed it well in a blog post on last year. “The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year,” he wrote, “but, for various reasons, statistics show that retail crime rates increase by 30%.” Temporary staffers are one of those various reasons. They know they’re entering an engagement with few string attached and a definitive end date, so their loyalty to your brand and its success is questionable at best.

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