The temporary staffing industry faces unique risk management challenges when compared to other kinds of employers. Staffing firms operate in a dynamic environment, where new opportunities frequently raise novel risk questions. Employee training and retention create opportunities for gaps to open in a risk management program. And in many cases, a firm has limited control over the day-to-day management and locations where their employees work. In this context, there are certain steps firms can take to avoid common problems.
- Know your customers. A new client may offer significant opportunities, but it should also be viewed as a source of significant risks as well. There are several ways a client may pose risks to a staffing firm. First, it may not be financially trustworthy. Examining a client’s credit history can help a firm be confident that it will not be left holding the tab for its employees’ work. Second, the client may not follow good workplace safety practices. A firm may need to conduct on-site inspections to verify that its employees will not encounter unforeseen or unmanaged hazards.
- Take risk management policies seriously. Written policies addressing things like health and safety, training, client confidentiality, and other important risk management topics need to be actively used and routinely updated. Adopting policies only to ignore them not only throws away the investment in crafting them. It also opens up otherwise avoidable vulnerabilities.
- Conduct robust employee screening. A staffing firm depends on its employees to represent the firm well. If a client learns that an employee lacks required skills, has misrepresented his or her experience, or other problems, the firm likely will lose a client. Firms need to follow a consistent process with every candidate to verify job histories, check references, and verify the accuracy of claims made on resumes.
- Understand the firm’s limitations. Most staffing firms lack a complete set of in-house capabilities that are necessary to address all the forms of risk they face. Developing internal expertise on matters like safety and training is a good goal, but while those skills are being developed it’s important to get the right help from third-party advisors who understand the staffing business.
Gunnin Insurance specializes in serving the risk management needs of the temporary staffing industry. We provide comprehensive services, from evaluating existing a client’s existing practices to securing cost-effective workers’ compensation insurance and managing claims. Call us today to find out how we can improve the performance of your business’s risk management program.