Backcheck 2.0 Verifications
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September 5th, 2023 | Sterling
Background screening has traditionally been a “one-and-done” process. Candidates underwent a thorough background check at their time of hire, and this check would be considered sufficient for the rest of their employment tenure. In recent years, however, re-screening and monitoring has received increased attention as a way for employers to ensure that their staff continue to meet safety and compliance requirements in order to protect their clients, their employees, and their reputation over the long term.
While organizations may be interested in periodic re-screening, whether annually or biennially, it may seem daunting to integrate this process into their background screening program. In this article, let’s outline the considerations and steps involved in setting up a thorough and transparent rescreening and monitoring program for your existing staff that helps you better manage risk and promote trust and safety within your organization.
Which checks should be included as part of the re-screening and monitoring process?
A background screening report is really a snapshot of a person’s history at a certain point in time. True, some of the information included in the original pre-hiring report is unlikely to change over the course of employment. Education and employment history, for example, will seldom reveal new information when repeated. Other checks benefit from being conducted at regular intervals.
In regulated fields, such as healthcare and finance, compliance requirements may involve verifying employees’ credentials with their licensing organization to ensure they’re still valid. This is particularly relevant in healthcare, where allowing licenses to lapse could worsen existing staff shortages. Employers may want to work with their screening provider to ensure that checks are completed periodically.
In Ontario, a recent surge of transportation-related accidents have prompted calls for action to better protect both drivers and the general population, which may involve better driver screening. Positions that require driving a company vehicle or representing the company on the road may benefit from regular driver’s abstract checks. Investigating your candidates’ driving qualifications is a critical step in managing your liability. Driver’s abstracts and driver’s license verifications reveal past and more current infractions, suspensions, or prohibitions, and confirm that your drivers still hold a valid driver’s license.
According to the ACFE’s 2022 report on occupational fraud, organizations around the world lose an estimated 5% of revenue to fraud every year, causing total losses of more than $3,6 billion. Occupational fraud tends to be concentrated in certain departments, with operations, accounting, upper management, and sales resulting altogether in 49% of losses. To help address this costly issue, a credit inquiry may be conducted for jobs involving financial oversight to evaluate candidates’ financial trustworthiness. Once again, periodic searches can reveal inconsistent payment histories, bankruptcies, legal action, and collections.
A new factor in the background screening landscape — social media screening — has gained relevance in recent years. Social media networks are a valuable source of information that can flag harassment, intolerance, substance abuse, and other misconduct that could threaten an employer’s reputation and ability to provide a safe and inclusive environment for their staff and clients. In more favorable cases, social media screening can also highlight an employee’s positive contributions to the community, and highlight someone’s ability to serve as a brand ambassador for their organization. Since an employee’s activities on social media can evolve over the years, this search can make a valuable addition to a thorough re-screening program.
Criminal record screening has traditionally been one of the most common and important elements of re-screening and monitoring programs. Many things may have changed since an employee accepted their job offer, possibly including new convictions. It is worth noting that not all criminal data is included as part of the standard Canadian Criminal Record Check, which only includes adult criminal convictions for which fingerprints were required. Other potentially relevant information, such as arrest warrants, pending charges, restraining orders, peace bonds, and summary convictions (lesser charges which don’t require fingerprints), are not included in the criminal record check and will not be disclosed as part of a standard search. Organizations that want to be as thorough as possible may add an Enhanced Police Information Check (E-PIC), also known as a Criminal Record and Judicial Matters search, to their pre-hire and re-screening programs in order to capture this information.
Finally, companies with an international workforce should take into account the possibility that some of their employees may have moved to a different country during their tenure, which means that global checks could be required. Some countries offer the same range and depth of background screening as Canada, allowing for a national criminal history check. Others may have restrictions in place due to privacy laws or practical limitations. In Ireland, for instance, regulations prevent third parties from accessing the criminal records maintained by An Garda Siochana, the national police service of Ireland. In such cases, database searches that include publicly available information, such as government watchlists, Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) lists and media coverage, may be used as an alternative. A trusted background screening partner can provide valuable guidance to help you navigate the international screening landscape.
Managing the re-screening and monitoring process
Before launching pre-hire background checks, organizations should ideally determine the scope of their re-screening program. Entry-level positions may not require the same level of scrutiny as C-suite executives. Some specialized checks, such as driver abstract searches, credential verifications, and credit inquiries, may only be relevant for certain positions. Some organizations may re-screen all their staff, while others may only require re-screening for positions with financial oversight, high visibility, or access to confidential information.
The volume of checks should be determined ahead of time to ensure that a realistic timeline for the process can be set. Employers should also define the frequency of re-screening, with some employers conducting yearly screenings, while others may prefer to conduct checks every two or five years, or at other predefined intervals. In all cases, a re-screening policy should be developed to document the requirements and provide transparency and fair treatment for all employees. Work with your legal and compliance team to ensure that your program meets applicable industry standards and privacy regulations.
Once you’ve defined the scope of your re-screening program, your organization should create a roll-out plan to ensure that the process unfolds smoothly. This may involve identifying the people who will be responsible for overseeing the process, such as higher management or HR, and sending out notifications to employees to alert them of the upcoming background checks. Resources may have to be set up to answer frequently asked questions and address common concerns. You can find a more detailed rescreening checklist in our whitepaper, Background Checks: Re-Screening Considerations for Employers.
Launching a re-screening program may seem intimidating, but a trusted background screening partner can help simplify the process, both for your team and for your employees. Sterling Backcheck provides thought leadership, best practices, and guidance to help organizations navigate the complexities of background screening during the hiring process and thereafter. We can help you create a re-screening program that meets your unique needs and requirements. Contact our experts to learn more.
This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.