Re-Screening Current Employees: An Important Part of Your Background Screening Program

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The lingering impact of the global recession coupled with a reported lack of qualified talent have led many employers to seek out non-traditional approaches to managing talent, like asking current employees to take on additional responsibilities, sourcing employees with foreign backgrounds, and looking to contingent workers to take on business-critical duties.

Unfortunately, as revealed by HireRight’s 2013 Employment Screening Benchmarking Report, many of these employers’ background screening programs have yet to catch up to these novel approaches, leaving organizations with unnecessary vulnerabilities.

One of these critical gaps is that, according to data from the HireRight report, 53 percent of employers are not re-screening employees once they are officially on payroll.

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Perhaps this may be attributed to a false sense of security—after all, wasn’t risk successfully managed with a pre-employment background check?—or simply not knowing whether the employer is even allowed to perform such a check.

While many aspects of a pre-employment screen are static (for example, certifying the candidate actually earned a claimed educational degree), that certainly does not mean that the employee cannot present significant future risk to your organization in certain scenarios.

What if, while employed by you, an accounting clerk is convicted of credit card fraud, or a worker with driving responsibilities is found guilty of drunk driving?

Because such actions may not result in noticeable missed days or proactive notification by the employee, the onus is then on you to remain vigilant as to these potential issues.

Employers also need to watch out for situations in which they’re giving additional responsibilities to or promoting current workers. In these instances, the background check performed at hire may not be sufficient to address the criteria associated with added responsibilities.

Consider giving significant fiduciary duties to an employee who never had a credit history check performed—this may make many organizations very uncomfortable, but unfortunately, similar scenarios are not uncommon in many workplaces.

Those organizations that want to better manage unnecessary risks like these would be well-served by considering the ongoing screening of current employees. If you’re uncertain where to start, begin with the basics: who, what, when, and how.

These foundational components will be driven by your own budget and risk profile. You should also engage your legal counsel to determine what your limitations and/or responsibilities are with current employees.

For example, many employers wonder whether the authorization provided by the employee during the pre-employment screening process can sufficiently address a recurring background check. With questions like these, the best source of guidance will be internal or engaged legal counsel that is well-versed in employment law.

By performing background checks on current employees, organizations can take a significant step in closing an unfortunate and wholly unnecessary hole in their overall screening programs.

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HireRight is a leading provider of on-demand employment background checks, drug and health screening, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers automate, manage and control background screening and related programs.

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