Are You About to Hire Your Next Workers’ Comp Claim?

Once you hire someone, you are presenting him a debit card with an unlimited credit line.

In many workers’ compensation claims’ situations, we learn that the employer has made a bad hiring decision and not matched the right employee to the right job. Of course, once the injury occurs, it is too late to change the decision. Strictly from a monetary prospective, once you take on an employee you are presenting him a debit card that has an unlimited credit line.

Many prospective employees have mastered the interview process and can paint themselves as being ready, willing and able to do whatever the employer wants. How can employers get past the facade and make sure they have the right person for the right job?

The place to begin is with one of the many tools that provide what is known as an employee assessment process. The tool should, first, help determine the unique needs of the business and what the job position entails. This includes necessary skills, the attitudes the employee needs to possess and the personality characteristics that are most suited for the job. 

For example, an operating engineer needs not only the experience and skills to properly operate the equipment, but also:   

-- The ability to make good judgments for the safety of the equipment, as well as, himself and those around him.
-- A personality that allows little tolerance for risk. 

With the full list of requirements developed, employers can use the process to probe the personality of the prospective hire and see whether it is a match both for the job and for the personalities of those who will supervise him -- let’s face it, having personalities that can get along and communicate well are key to success, but that need is often overlooked by those doing the hiring.

Depending on what industry you're in and what type of job you wish to fill, we recommend that you obtain an opinion from a human resources professional. You should also use the other, more common verification approaches, such as reference checks, background and drug checks and post-offer medical examinations.

When you don't go through an employee assessment process, you can wind up with the sort of problem I saw an employer have recently when it hired a well-paid technician who had a good work history and positive references from prior employers. He interviewed well; seemed to have excellent knowledge of the employer’s industry; seemed smart; and seemed to understand how the relationships within the industry made a business successful. But, early in his tenure, problems surfaced because of: 

-- Poor communication with fellow technicians and a lack of a sense of the need to be a team player; projects took longer than necessary.
-- Constant complaints about the tasks he was assigned and about the employer’s process.
-- Difficulty consistently following his supervisor’s instructions.
-- A tendency to cut corners that endangered others and led him to injure himself.

The last injury he had at work started at his wrist and "grew" to other body parts. He decided he could no longer work. A sub rosa investigation found that “the growth" of the injury was exaggerated. The investigation found that he could carry and play with his children and perform other physical tasks at his home. By the time all the issues were sorted out, the direct and indirect costs for the employer exceeded $100,000.

Had an assessment process been in place, it is my view that this engineer could have been identified as a bad fit before he was hired, and the problems avoided. 

Why are many employers not taking advantage of an assessment process to help them improve their hiring batting average? After probing, we find that most employers do not have a realistic idea of the real costs of hiring and replacing employees. If they really knew how costly the hiring process could be, they would stop using their gut feelings.

HR consultants who work in a variety of industries tell us that hiring the wrong person can cost employers tens of thousands of dollars. Depending on the skill level and how high up the position is in an organization, the costs of turnover can be more than twice an employee’s annual salary, according to the Center for American Progress. And this does not include the costs of any work-related injuries.

An employee can be a valuable asset or can be a big liability. So let’s use the best approaches available to make sure your employee selection process is as good as it can be.

What are you waiting for?  Let’s get started!

Read More