The dangers of hiring Christmas temps

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With increased customer demands and regular staff taking more annual leave, the festive period can be a difficult time for employers. Requiring more staff, many businesses turn to hiring temporary workers to make up the shortfall.

While hiring temporary staff can be a sound investment to cover short term staff shortages it can leave your business open to dangers that you might not have previously considered.

When hiring permanent staff, most companies have stringent pre-employment screening procedures which helps to ensure that workers are who they say they are and have the legal right to work in the UK. However, with temporary staff, many employers are not so cautious.

Temporary workers often have the same access to sensitive data as permanent staff, but without thorough background checks you are leaving your company and your customers open to theft of data. Background screening will also help you understand exactly who your staff are, and get to know them at a deeper level, helping to ensure that they are honest and can be trusted with sensitive data and/or expensive stock and equipment as well as money.

And while employee theft of data and confidential property has long been a risk when hiring temporary staff, there has also been a notable growth in “executive impersonation”. Embedding fraudsters at higher levels of the staffing chain, to gather information and create relationships with higher level staff allows criminal gangs to infiltrate companies, import malware and find ways to dodge company payment procedures.

Temporary staff can also pose a safety risk due to lack of training. And with temporary positions a target for many illegal workers, carrying out full right to work checks will help mitigate the risk of unwittingly hiring someone without the right to work in the UK (which can carry a £20,000 fine per worker).

Prevention is always better than cure. Temporary workers must be subject to the same level of pre-employment background checks as permanent staff in order to keep your company safe.

Christmas might be the busiest time for your organisation or industry and while it could be tempting to cut a few corners in order to get things done faster and clear the backlog, protecting your business, your customers and your bottom line should always come first. Be just as prudent with your temporary and contract staff as you are with your permanent hires and you can help ensure a profitable and safe festive period.