As sunny days and warmer weather approach, your government entity might be looking to hire temporary and seasonal employees for the season. A few of these additional staff members may include summer camp counselors, youth sports coaches, park service workers, summer lifeguards or a college intern. Some temporary workers will be return hires, while others will be joining the ranks for the first time. Before hiring ramps up, make sure to review these tips from our public entity risk control specialists that can help ensure you are providing a safe environment for your employees and citizens.
In past years, some human resources departments have brought these seasonal employees on using an abbreviated hiring process in an effort to reduce hiring costs and speed up the hiring process. Unfortunately, any addition to the workforce, whether full-time, part-time, or temporary, may have a background that would make them a poor choice to enter the community workforce.
This is especially true where employees have contact or interaction with minors. The care, custody and control of children – no matter how insignificant the level of supervision may appear to be – are very serious and worthy of appropriate sexual abuse and molestation controls. Even returning college students serving as life guards at your community pools or instructors on their summer breaks working in your recreation departments can potentially include individuals with undesirable behaviors and past actions who should not be in contact with your community’s children.
Public entity risk managers and human resources professionals must carefully consider the growing risks and exposures they may be inviting to their community by hiring temporary workers. The best managers will properly mitigate the risks through the implementation of thorough training programs and background checks. New or returning seasonal temporary and volunteer employees should undergo the same hiring and screening process as part-time or full-time, permanent employees. Background checks should be conducted by a reputable vendor or agency that reviews a variety of screening databases to provide a thorough screening process. And retaining that documentation is just as critical.
Will this level of hiring and screening increase your hiring costs? Possibly – but one case of sexual abuse or molestation will generate a far greater economic cost to your government entity, bad press and community outrage, as well as adversely affect the life of the victim forever.
In order to assist you in conducting background checks as part of your hiring and screening process at an affordable cost, OneBeacon Government Risks suggests your entity work with a reputable background check company to ensure comprehensive and complete background checks for your potential employees.
If you desire further assistance with your hiring and screening or park and recreation risk management programs, contact your OneBeacon Government Risks’ risk management consultant directly or email us at RiskControl@onebeacongov.com.
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