WITH the festive season and summer holidays around the corner in South Africa, this time of year is a peak business period for several industries — from retail to travel, hospitality and entertainment, etc. — and these businesses will often hire additional seasonal employees. Having extra hands to help cope with higher demand during these busy months certainly offers a number of benefits, but businesses should be vigilant and not slack on conducting background screening on all candidates and new hires.Michelle Baron-Williamson, CEO of Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), says: “Hiring temps or contractors on a fixed-term is a great way to scale up the workforce, to better redistribute workloads and relieve pressures on existing staff during peak seasons. This can improve work-life balance and employee satisfaction — especially during what can be a more pressurised time — as well as boost productivity while reducing fixed cost and thereby add to the bottom line of the business. The key, however, to finding temps who are the right fit for the business is to not take any ‘shortcuts’, but to follow the same contingent hiring process as for permanent staff, including comprehensive background screening.”Too often businesses are more lenient in their processes when hiring temporary or seasonal employees — and some even choose to forgo background screening, thinking this is an unnecessary step as the employee may, for example, have limited access to the business’ facilities, information and finances etc. However, rushing the process to hire more people in shorter timings, or skipping important steps, can lead to poor hiring decisions.“At the end of the day, any person being brought into the business — and regardless of the job status — could pose potential financial and reputational risks or damage to the business. This is a chance that businesses simply can’t afford to take,” states Baron-Williamson.A dishonest employee, for example, can pose serious security threats, or take advantage of the business, other employees and even jeopardise relationships with customers and suppliers. “In such instances, the business as the employer could find themselves in further hot water as — depending on the severity of the grievance — the business could be held liable for negligent hiring,” indicates Baron-Williamson.“Any business is susceptible to the risks posed by a dishonest employee, but a business that skips important steps like background screening in their hiring process is more susceptible than others. There are no shortcuts when it comes to protecting the business, its employees, customers and suppliers — only shortcomings and significant potential losses if it is not done correctly,” concludes Baron-Williamson. — Supplied.