We live in an era of fast-paced changes. Workforces that used to be static are more fluid and dynamically changing than ever before. With vendors and contractors increasingly becoming a regular part of the workforce it is becoming more important to put in place a process to screen this "extended workforce" in the same way you do your full-time staff. The idea of putting a background screening program in place for contingent workers can be daunting for some companies. We will explore why such a process is important, and work through some of the most common roadblocks to a streamlined extended workforce background screening program.
Starting with an owner and a policy
Developing and implementing a process to background check your vendor workforce can seem overwhelming when you don't know who in your organization is responsible for the process and you have no formal policy on screening contingent labor. Once you define an owner you can then address the policy. When definining your policy, you will need to make some important decisions, such as what to screen for and if you will accept a background check done through a vendor's preferred screener rather than or in addition to yours. By creating and adhering to a policy you create a defined standard and a repeatable process which will help mitigate the risk of workplace violence, fraud, theft and negligent hiring lawsuits.
Many companies are not sure what they have the right to do when it comes to screening their vendor, temp and contractor population. There is also a fear of co-employment. If your company is "treating" a temporary worker as a full-time employee, will you be considered a co-employer and open your company up to legal liability down the line? Dispelling these fears can be done through education. Research what others in your industry are doing in this area. Perhaps you have a trusted advisor that you can consult with, to understand what other companies in your field are doing to establish successful programs.
So, you have an owner for the program, a policy has been established and the fears have been dispelled. Now, you are ready to begin screening your extended workforce. With your policy in place, you know who you are screening, when, and what your adjudication policy will be. Perhaps you have a large pool of vendors, temporary workers and other contingent workers. So where do you begin? Start small: pick just one segment of your extended workforce and start there. This way you can get comfortable with the process before rolling it out to all contingent employees.
In summary, getting started in screening your extended workforce can be broken up into smaller steps and rolled out over a period of time in order to make it less overwhelming to begin.
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