Organizations understand the need to verify the credentials and skills of potential employees. Background checks, once limited to education and past employment, have expanded to include a wealth of data that informs the business whether or not the candidate will perform well in the role. Trends in background screening, which include social media monitoring, arrest and criminal record checks, verify whether the candidate will pose a risk to customers, coworkers and the organization.
The newest trend, continuous screening post-hire, helps business assure employees maintain their credentials and qualifications long after the first day on the job. They help business screen out workers who pose a threat to themselves, others and the organization.
Trust and verify
A 2018 survey by CareerBuilder found nearly 70% of employers used some form of background screening before they hire. The majority were looking at criminal and employment records. Another 66% went further to research the social media presence of potential hires: 36% excluded a hire based on what they saw posted online. Most candidates were excluded based on comments about drinking or drug use. Almost one- third didn’t get the job because of discriminatory comments posted online: 20% for sharing confidential information.
While initial background checks are critical to make the right hire, they don’t assure the business continues to have the right employee. Job seekers are savvy, often scrubbing their social media accounts before they begin looking for a new position. Concealing behaviors and biases can help land the job: continuous screening assures the right candidate has been chosen.
Where continuous screening is critical
Businesses risk potential liability and damage to their reputations based on employee’s off-hours conduct. In some industries the risk can be significant. Employers are responsible for the safety of their business, employees and customers, and may be at risk for negligent retention claims if they fail to monitor and take action against workers that pose a threat.
- Businesses have been held financially responsible for social media posts that harass, discriminate and bully. Social media harassment and libel, not possible to detect pre-hire, is a critical area for ongoing monitoring.
- Drivers may lose their license post-hire, placing a company and the public at risk.
- Workers who operate machinery or drive company vehicles may add post-hire pictures passed out drunk at the wheel: a red flag for dangerous behavior.
- Healthcare providers who post images of substance abuse could threaten patients and colleagues.
- Workers who post racist, sexist or discriminatory rants may threaten an organization’s reputation.
For business, reputational threats and potential lawsuits based on negligent retention are real. Continuous background screening is the best practice to lower risk and remove potential problem employees.
Minimizing risk with continuous screening
In 2018, rideshare giant Uber announced in addition to initial background screening their platform now included continuous, almost real-time screening of drivers. In the first two weeks of the program, the company let 25 drivers go, determining they were a threat to public safety. The practice includes criminal monitoring as well as driving safety records. Many other industries have followed suit.
Continuous criminal checks are possible because police departments and the courts have moved primarily to online record systems. These allow business to monitor arrest and conviction records, mitigating the risk that a worker in their midst has been accused or convicted of a crime that could pose a threat.
Continuous social media checks allow business to monitor worker activity, passing over innocuous behaviors and posts and focusing on abusive or illegal acts. SHRM recommends business provide notification and receive consent to workers that background checks and social media monitoring will be run throughout the employee’s tenure – not just as a condition of hire.
The benefits of post-employment screening
Continuous employee screening is the newest tool for business to protect their employees and reputation. CM (continuous monitoring) screens for a host of categories that threaten business: loss of driving or medical license(s); liability for liens or civil judgments; threatening or abusive behavior; and more. This is publicly available information business should access to:
- Maintain a safe work environment
- Assure a professional workplace
- Minimize risk to customers
- Protect from liability suits
The trend to CM is growing: HR.com reports 12% of employers conducted background screening annually or more frequently in 2020: up from 9% in 2019. Business with a focused post-hire screening protocol can be confident they’re leveraging every possible tool available to keep their workers, customers and business safe.