The Faces of Your Business

October 22, 2007

Over the last couple of decades, the culture of business has changed in many positive ways. New faces have entered the workforce and businesses have profited from different ideas and perspectives. Many Americans have found new opportunities and benefited from improved working conditions thanks to laws prohibiting discrimination and harassment. Some cultural shifts and societal changes, however, have presented management challenges for employers. Employees and managers often need additional training to comply with regulations and to improve interpersonal skills. Substance abuse and violence in the workplace are just a couple of troubling areas previous generations rarely had to contend with.

Business owners are realizing that hiring the right people in the first place helps avoid many situations that could lead to losses, employment-related lawsuits, and customer relations nightmares. Courts often hold employers liable for the actions of their employees. One oversight or shortcut in the hiring process can have devastating consequences for your business, your family and your reputation in the community.

Consider the reality: A business owner hired a male employee as a clerk. Later, that employee lured a female employee out of the building by asking for help at another location. Then he forced her into his car, took her to his home, and assaulted her. She later escaped and the man was arrested. The employer learned too late that the person had a prior criminal record, including violent crimes.

In this case, the female employee suffered severe emotional trauma and was placed on disability, which could affect the business’ workers compensation costs for several years. The crime also damaged employee morale and the negative publicity hurt the business. This is only one of many real life events.  More serious consequences can and have occurred.

 “Minor” oversights have resulted in a world of trouble for some businesses and affected their communities. Fortunately, not all mistakes result in catastrophes, but no matter what types of loss a business experiences, the root problems nearly always come down to people.

Think about the people you’ve hired in the past. Was there anything you learned later about the person that you wish you had known before offering the job? Did you follow strict hiring procedures that would have brought top people to your company? Although there may not be a “silver bullet” to ensure you hire only the top performers, you can improve the chances of finding quality people who will contribute to your organization.

The key is consistent hiring practices.
Don’t skip steps. Most owners or managers that have made a hiring mistake will admit they skipped one or more steps in the hiring process that came back to haunt them.
The hiring checklist provided here should help you review your company’s hiring procedures. Determine if you’re thoroughly checking the employment history and background of people you’re putting on the payroll. Be certain that all managers with hiring responsibilities know your expectations and follow procedures consistently.

Many human resources professionals believe that the most important, yet often overlooked, step is to always do reference and background checks. Never omit these checks. Explore any employment history gaps during the interview process until you’re satisfied with your candidate’s history. And, if the prospective employee will be using a vehicle to run errands, a driving record check is always a must.

Hiring Checklist

  • Require written applications
  • Review applications
  • Interview top candidates
  • Check references / background
  • Conduct second interview
  • Make “conditional” offer of employment (subject to passing physical exam/drug test, MVR check, etc.)
  • Check motor vehicle record (if the employee will run errands)
  • Obtain physical examination / drug testing results
  • Send letter confirming offer of employment

 This article provided courtesy of Federated Mutual Insurance Company, your association’s recommended insurer.
Federated Mutual Insurance Company continually emphasizes the risk management aspects of hiring. Federated’s marketing representatives can provide a program with materials to help policyholders develop their own comprehensive hiring procedures. The program includes a video called “The Faces of Your Business” and an information packet filled with sample procedures, forms and other valuable resources for setting up procedures that may help you find the best faces for your business.

This article is intended to provide general recommendations regarding risk prevention. It is not intended to include all steps or processes necessary to adequately protect you, your business or your customers. You should always consult your personal attorney and insurance professional for advice unique to you and your business.
©2005 Federated Mutual Insurance Company, All Rights Reserved

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