You know the old saying – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s definitely true when it comes to controlling your workers’ compensation costs.
And it all starts at the beginning.
Effective interviewing and hiring practices are your first line of defense for keeping workers’ compensation claim costs down. Between payroll and claims incurred, your employees are likely your company’s biggest expense, and new hires are five times more likely to have a lost time injury in their first month of employment than an experienced worker. So it makes sense to screen applicants carefully and hire the best people you can get.
An effective interviewing and hiring process can also save you money on insurance premiums. With insurance companies increasingly taking a closer look at hiring practices, having a proactive and well documented hiring process makes your company a better risk.
Make sure your hiring process has these eight essential elements:
- Accurate job descriptions. Before you start the hiring process, make sure you have complete information about the duties, responsibilities, skills, expectations, and work environment of the position you’re hiring for, and behavioral characteristics you’re looking for. This will help determine who applies and what types of people are targeted, and help you make sure every new hire is properly classified for insurance purposes.
- Pre-screening interviews. Using telephone interviews can be an effective way to prescreen applicants, assess whether the applicant is genuinely interested in the position, and screen out applicants who might have a hard time meeting the job requirements.
- Background screening. Background checks, drug screening, and pre-employment physicals can alert you to any “red flags” like prior claims, physical limitations, and other issues. Be sure to comply with all state and federal laws, and make sure any service you hire to conduct applicant screening carries professional liability insurance.
- Thorough review of applications and credentials. The work of reviewing resumes, cover letters, job applications, and job application letters starts with your well-written job description. Thoroughly review all applications and resumes to verify the applicant has the credentials, skills, and experience he or she claims to have.
- Effective interviews. Go beyond “Tell me about yourself.” Your interview questions can help you sort out desirable candidates from undesirable ones. Ask them how they might react in certain work-related situations, and then pay attention to how they construct their responses and their manner of presentation.
- A standard checklist. A standard hiring checklist helps to systematize the process, focus your recruiting efforts, and keep interested applicants and upper management apprised of your progress.
- Strict adherence to legalities. Make sure to comply with all civil rights laws that protect applicants from discrimination based on race, age, gender, national origin, disability, and other factors.
- Education and training. Make all new hires fully aware of company policies and safety procedures. Emphasize any opportunities for growth with your company.
Hiring good employees can be challenging. But when you consider the potential cost of just one workers’ compensation claim, it’s worth the effort to get it right. And getting it right is good for productivity, employment relationships, customer satisfaction, and your bottom line.