More companies are implementing ongoing background checks to keep people safe and avoid trouble.
A lot can change in a short time. An employee who passed a background check a year ago could be a risk or an embarrassment today. If you’re not rescreening current employees, you’re not alone. In 2018, only 11% of workers underwent routine additional screenings. However, there are many reasons that continuous background checks may be necessary; and a growing number of employers are seeing this as a priority to protect their reputation and, more importantly, keep clients/residents, employees, and other stakeholders safe.
Among the reasons you might want to consider continuous background checks:
- Image/reputation damage from having employed a problematic worker spreads faster than ever, thanks to the growth of social media.
- Other organizations have started this trend. This isn’t really a new idea, and many companies are already pursuing this. If your competitors are doing continuous background checks, it could give them an advantage with potential clients/residents, referral sources, and others.
- Increasingly, clients/residents/families and employees all expect you to protect their safety.
- Workforce shortages and competition for employees may increase the instances of companies “settling” for weak or questionable hires.
- You may have little information about remote gig workers.
- Continuous background checks are easier to conduct than ever, with much of the necessary data available digitally online. It also is more affordable.
When everyone considers the benefits of continuous background checks, it may not be a hard sell to upper management. However, before you jump in:
- Build a business case for it. Calculate the cost of checks against expenses (both tangible and intangible) of lawsuits or negative press.
- Identify jobs where there is the greatest potential for fraud, theft, or other problems.
- Determine how frequently you should conduct background checks and communicate this to employees.
- Encourage workers to report concerns about fellow employees and to self-report if they have an issue.
- Conduct checks by the book and be aware of privacy issues. Make sure employees understand that you will be conducting continuous checks, how, and why. Get specific written permission; this is necessary to legally continually check someone’s background.
- Understand all legal issues. Give employees an opportunity to explain or challenge any negative findings.
- Realize that the background check system isn’t perfect. For instance, all relevant records may not be available.
- Have a strategy in place for action steps after a discovery is made. Firing someone may create legal problems, but an immediate suspension might be appropriate. Apply your strategy consistently across the board. Avoid exceptions or favoritism.