‘Tis the season for holiday movies, and as they start to air on television, an interesting theme has bubbled up. Most holiday movies teach us lessons about the importance of family, traditions or things we should remember during the holiday season. But they also teach important HR lessons as well.

In the spirit of the holidays, this and next week we’ll cover HR lessons from some of the more popular holiday movies.

Bad Santa
It’s rather new and is far from your typical warm and fuzzy family film, but it’s probably the clearest hiring lesson in a holiday movie: background checks cannot be skipped! Had someone checked into Willie’s past, a hiring manager would have seen a long string of criminal activity stemming from his holiday tradition of posing as Santa so he could steal from retailers. You may be so busy that you don’t have time to conduct a background check or you may not know where to start. Make background checks part of your hiring policy and find a third party partner that can help you navigate the process. If you don’t conduct background checks, you run the risk of bad hires which can mean anything from high turnover to negligent hiring lawsuits.

A Christmas Story
After asking for his Red Ryder BB gun for most of the film, Ralphie is so excited to open it Christmas morning that he runs outside to use it without any training. His mother’s concern is quickly realized when he catches a ricochet in the cheek from the metal sign he shoots. Whether you’re understaffed or just anxious to get a new hire on the floor as quickly as possible, it may be tempting to skimp on training and let a new hire learn on the fly. But glossing over proper training can lead to accidents on the job, poor customer service or employee turnover. If Ralphie had taken the time to properly train, he wouldn’t have had to come up with that lame icicle off the roof story.

The son of Santa’s lead reindeer, Rudolph was in line to be a premier member of Santa’s team. But once all the other reindeer saw the shiny red nose, Rudolph was cast out as not worthy to take part in the reindeer games. Initial impressions lead to the belief that Rudolph wasn’t qualified to be a member of Santa’s team, but had the other reindeer assessed Rudolph on behavioral characteristics, they would have seen strong qualities like dedication, work ethic and passion (not to mention a red nose that gave him one up in a snow storm). If you’re evaluating applicants on applications or resumes alone, you may miss a star employee. Behavioral assessments give you insight into an applicant’s character in a way that a standard application cannot. An inexperienced candidate with qualities that match the core characteristics of your business may be your best fit.

Check back next week for three more valuable lessons from some of the most well known holiday movies.