How to Train Temporary Workers During the Busy Holiday Season

This is the time of year when add help to get through a busy season. Even if they're with you for a short time, don't skimp on employee safety training.

Many businesses hire additional workers during the holiday season to help with increased demand. This year, retailers are expected to employ between 640,000 and 690,000 temporary workers, according to the National Retail Federation.

Improperly trained temporary hires can present workplace safety risks. A 2014 study conducted by Travelers Insurance found that 28 percent of injuries happen within the first year of employment.

Don’t Skimp on Seasonal Employee Safety Training

Woody Dwyer and Scott Humphrey, risk control specialists with Travelers, spoke with Small Business Trends via telephone and provided the following ten safety training tips.

1. Instill a Safety-first Mindset

Every business should instill in temporary hires a safety-first mindset from the outset. That includes helping employees understand the business’s expectations related to the particular job for which they are being hired.

“If employers don’t tell employees what to expect, they will bring their own set of expectations to the job,” Dwyer said. “You can’t just assume people will follow safe practices, which is why safety orientation is so important, to help employees keep safety top of mind.”

2. Clearly Communicate Job Requirements

Seasonal workers need to understand the job requirements clearly so that when they start they won’t be shocked.

“Post-hire shock is one of the main reasons employees quit,” Humphrey said. “They find out the job was not what they expected it to be.”

3. Conduct Functional Capacity Evaluations

Along with clearly communicating the job requirements, employers should conduct what Dwyer and Humphrey call functional capacity evaluations.

“When you hire a new employee, ensure that they can handle the physical demands associated with the job, such as picking up heavy packages,” Dwyer said. “The same holds true when an employee returns to work following an injury.”

4. Mentor New Employees

Many companies have instituted mentoring programs to help new hires learn the ropes. That means, rather than merely telling someone what to do, show them, and then monitor their progress. When they fail to meet the guidelines, coach them until they get it right.

5. Prepare Employees for Changes in Store Layout

During the holiday season, there may be potential alterations made to the store, such as changes to the layout or added Christmas decorations.

“Make sure new hires are familiar with their surroundings and responsibilities,” Dwyer said. “While they may have a lot of industry experience, your unique facility is still unfamiliar territory for them.”

6. Train Workers to Manage Inventory Safely

Stores carry a higher volume of goods during the holidays, which may result in warehousing items at higher than shoulder height. Train employees in proper material handling, lifting techniques and ladder safety.

7. Teach New Employees to Take Their Time

“New workers want to please their employer,” said Dwyer, “which may mean they rush around, hurrying to accomplish assigned tasks. That could result in slips, trips or falls. Rather, teach these employees to take their time. That’s part of the safety-first mindset.”

8. Do Background Checks

Companies should make sure that delivery drivers hired during the holiday season have valid driver’s licenses. Also, do a background check, to ensure they have no violations.

9. Choose Smart Decorations

Choose smart locations for any additional holiday displays and products. Some Christmas decorations could be combustible, which increases the risk of fire and, as a result, injury or worse. Dwyer and Humphrey recommend that businesses keep decorations away from heat sources. If candles are used, select the battery-operated kind.

Also, secure decorations properly so that foot traffic can navigate around them safely. This is particularly true when it comes to large displays.

Dwyer provided this additional advice: “Be sure you are not covering up emergency exit signs, over-crowding aisle ways or any place that would make it difficult to get out in an emergency situation. Also, don’t string multiple extension cords together, to extend a decoration to an area a single plug can’t reach. Not only could this result in a trip and fall incident, but could also be a fire hazard.”

10. Talk to an Insurance Agent

A final tip, said Dwyer and Humphrey, is for the business owner to speak with his insurance agent in advance, to ensure he has the proper coverage.

“An experienced agent can help small business owners understand how to keep their stores festive, yet hazard free, during the holidays,” they said.

Conclusion

The holiday shopping period means a boost in foot traffic, more celebratory decorations, changes to the store layout and extra staff to manage the workload. It can also mean increased risks for injury. So, during this season, make safety a priority and train new hires well.

“Know the risks associated with a particular job, communicate what those risks are, develop safe work practices, train new employees to follow them and coach them when they don’t,” Dwyer said. “That should lead to fewer workplace injuries and a safer, more profitable holiday season.”

Nursery Employee Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How to Train Temporary Workers During the Busy Holiday Season” was first published on Small Business Trends

How Podcasting Can Help Grow Your Business

People love to talk about their work, and podcasters are seen as super-connected thought leaders. So inviting guests to your show is an easy way to make valuable connections, as these “fireside chats” often segue into longer, off-air conversations.

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Business Writing Tips That Add Impact

Business Writing Tips That Add ImpactWriting is a fact of business and life. From the “LOL” Tweet or Facebook post to the 52-page business report, we all seek to create writing that is effective and impactful. The problem is that most of us are still writing to impress our English teacher. As a result, we carry over assumptions and behaviors about the writing process into our writing as grownups.

If writing was difficult for you as a student and still remains difficult Business Writing Tips For Easy and Effective Results is a book that promises to ease the transition to a better way of writing.

What is Business Writing Tips About?

Business Writing Tips starts off where all of our writing begins, in the mind. When most of us went to school, we were taught the “game” of writing. In that game, higher points went to the paper that featured the longest content and the most difficult words while making as few grammar mistakes as possible.With that kind of goal, the emphasis is more on the “rules” than writing style.

Fast forward a couple of years. Many of us haven’t graduated from this level of writing.

Because of this focus on “avoiding the penalty,” Business Writing Tips argues that we don’t use our personal style when writing. This emotional and mental “baggage” is what keeps us from writing in a more natural and easier way.

Getting back to a more natural (and easier) writing style is the intended focus of the book. Writing teacher and author Robert Bullard doesn’t want readers to discard all grammar rules, but he asks them to consider their purpose when writing. He invites readers to dissect and analyze their own writing style (and that of others) to create what works for them.

Balancing style, purpose and grammar is the key to good writing. Good writing should not only look good (grammar) but it should also feel comfortable for the writer (style) and serve its intended purpose.

Bullard is a former features writer for newspapers who now works as a copy editor, proofreader and book coach.

What Was Best About Business Writing Tips?

The best part of Business Writing Tips is the focus. The book balances a focus on grammar with a focus on style and intent. In other words, the book doesn’t simply tell readers how they should write. It gives suggestions on the process and style of good writing. This emphasis is shared in the various exercises of the book, aimed at making each individuals writing more effective.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Business Writing Tips is a great introduction to the writing process without all of the “baggage”, a message that will most resonate with beginning writers. Writers with more experience may find that some sections of the book may cover material with which they are already familiar. That being said, the book’s approach of helping to relieve a writer’s baggage may prove helpful even for those writers who know the grammar rules but still have trouble writing.

Why Read Business Writing Tips?

If you are a person who has always struggled with the writing process, Business Writing Tips might be able to help. While grammar rules can easily be searched on Google, the process and style of using those rules can’t. That’s where the book shines. Bullard has years of experience in writing (as a journalist, proofreader and coach) and uses that experience to target the mental roadblocks that get in a writer’s way. His book is designed to help readers appreciate and draw out their unique writing styles so that they can create impactful and effective writing.

This article, “Business Writing Tips That Add Impact” was first published on Small Business Trends

Learn Secrets to Small Biz Success at These Upcoming Events

secret-door

Want to learn the secret to small business success?

While there might not be just one secret to making your small business successful, there are some things you can learn to help your journey over the next year and beyond. And you can learn some of those things at Secret Knock, a Los Angeles conference scheduled for May 2017.

So if you’re looking to take your business to the next level, you might want to consider signing up for Secret Knock and other small business events throughout the next year.

You can learn more details about Secret Knock in the featured events section. And you can see even more events to add to your small business calendar in the list below.

To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Secret KnockSecret Knock
May 22, 2017, Los Angeles, Calif.

Secret Knock is going to be the single greatest event for the top entrepreneurs and action-takers in the world to connect, share ideas, and help take each other to the next level. Each of the attendees have believed in themselves enough to get to where they are, and they are not stopping now. Secure your application for one of the few spots left at the Secret Knock.


More Events

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This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

Secret Door image via Shutterstock

This article, “Learn Secrets to Small Biz Success at These Upcoming Events” was first published on Small Business Trends