If you’re like most employers, workers’ compensation insurance is still one of your biggest and costliest headaches. And the only way to control workers’ compensation costs is by aggressively attacking them at every opportunity. “The best defense is a good offense,” as the saying goes.
A good offense starts at the beginning – with your hiring practices.
Most employers understand that effective safety measures can reduce the incidence and severity of workers’ compensation claims. But many fail to realize that effective screening and hiring practices are a vital first line of defense against claim costs.
Here are eight tips to put you on the offensive:
- Develop clear, informative job descriptions. Clearly define the duties, responsibilities, skills, education, experience and expectations involved in the position.
- Use a hiring checklist. Develop a standardized checklist for hiring employees to streamline the process, track your recruiting efforts and maintain consistent, objective hiring processes.
- Conduct thorough background and reference checks. Background checks should include work references, educational credentials and criminal history. Carefully screen all applications, resumes and cover letters against your requirements, and verify that applicants have the qualifications they claim. Drug screening and pre-employment physicals can reveal many potential red flags.
- Consider a pre-screening interview. A pre-screening telephone interview can help you identify and eliminate applicants who don’t measure up to the job requirements, allowing you to focus personal interview time on applicants who are serious contenders.
- Conduct effective job interviews. Pose specific work-related situations and ask candidates how they would react. Then pay close attention to how they respond and their manner of presentation. Consider using methods such as behavioral interviewing to gain more insight.
- Stay legal. Make sure you comply with all state and federal laws protecting employees from discrimination in the hiring process. Otherwise you could face a costly lawsuit.
- Craft standard employment letters. Standardized employment letters help you communicate in a thoughtful way, maintain a professional image and keep a paper trail of all rejections and job offers.
- Onboard new hires with comprehensive training. Make sure all new hires receive clear instructions about safety and emergency response protocols, dress code, computer use restrictions and all other company policies and procedures.
Your employees are the backbone of your business, but finding and hiring the best workers can be a real challenge. Proactive screening and hiring procedures can help you attract employees that are a good fit for your company. That’s a solid first step toward reducing the incidence and severity of workers’ compensation claims. And since insurance companies are increasingly scrutinizing hiring practices to assess a company’s risk factor, an effective hiring process can also help lower your workers’ compensation insurance premiums.