What’s the risk with temporary workers?

Employee risks.jpg

Hiring temporary workers can be a quick and easy solution to a staffing problem. With more and more people choosing to work as contractors, companies are making use of the many specialist skills available in the market. But with organisations becoming increasingly reliant on agency staff (with over 800,000 currently part of the workforce), are companies putting their businesses at risk?

All staff pose a risk to the security and welfare of the company they work for, from fraud and theft through to disruptions to operations and low productivity. But while employers often routinely take steps to protect their company through comprehensively screening permanent hires, they are often complacent when employing temporary workers, despite them having the same access to information and assets as their permanent counterparts.

Right to work

Many companies employ migrant workers on a casual or temporary basis, which creates plenty of opportunities for people who do not have the right to work in the UK. Employing workers who do not have right to work status carries a £20,000 fine per worker, and investigation and its resulting fallout could create significant disruption to your operations.

Criminal background

While criminal background checks are not compulsory for many industries, a significant number of companies are now carrying out criminal records checks on their permanent staff. Staff have access to sensitive company information, assets and money, and therefore it is imperative to know that your staff can be trusted. Temporary workers can have the same level of access, without the loyalty to the business, making temporary hires a weak spot in business security.

Lack of skills or education

Ensuring that your staff has the training and experience necessary to carry out the role is standard in the recruitment process. But temporary and contract workers are often working in areas where health and safety is paramount. Not ensuring that educational or work experience claims are genuine could also mean the difference between a safe and an unsafe working environment, leaving the organisation open to legal repercussions in the event of an accident at work.

While employing temporary staff provides access to a convenient and richer skill set, and is often a cheaper alternative, companies need to mitigate the risks posed by temporary workers by having a robust screening policy in place which is specific to temporary and contract staff.