9 Tips for Background Checking Contingent Workers

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Bringing contingent labor and vendor employees (the extended workforce) into your workplace introduces risks similar to those posed by permanent employees, yet only a third of organizations that already screen their permanent employee workforce today also screen their extended workforce, according to the HireRight 2008 Background Screening Benchmark Report.

Contingent Workforce Background Checks

If this security gap exists in your organization, achieving screening consistency and reducing risks across your entire workforce is not out of reach. If your organization is already screening the extended workforce maybe your program could benefit from some refinement.

Here are nine tips you can use to reduce the potential risks of your extended workforce:

1. Evaluate the status of your current extended workforce screening program.

If you don’t have an extended workforce screening program today, take some preliminary steps to evaluate the benefits of one. Even if you already have a program in place, much can be learned by benchmarking against the best practices of peers and speaking with organizations that operate successful programs. Also, leverage the expertise of your background screening provider and speak to your vendors.

2. Update your extended workforce screening policy to match your employee policies.

Review the screening policy for your employees and set this as the minimum requirement for your extended workforce. Be sure to place in writing the minimum requirements your firm has for all workers who will require access to facilities and systems.

3. Choose whether you will manage all vendors or will ask vendors to manage themselves.

If your firm is challenged by budget or staffing limitations, require your vendors to administer their portion of your program and have them pay for their own background screens, but provide you with visibility into proof that standards have been met. For greater control, manage your program directly and leverage a solution that matches the needs of your organization.

4. Notify vendors of your updated policy and provide them with a grace period to comply.

Communicate your updated extended workforce screening policy to current vendors. Invite your current vendors to participate and give them a reasonable amount of time to join your program. After your program has begun, be sure to start enforcing your policy as planned.

5. Include your updated policy in new and renewing vendor agreements.

Formally add your updated extended workforce policy changes to your vendor agreements at the first opportunity. Consider using addendums for existing agreements to minimize the impact on your organization and your vendors. Include the updated policy in new agreements to avoid changes later.

6. Use controls to help ensure your extended workforce meets policy.

Put controls in place that will ensure your extended workforce is screened to your policy. Avoid providing access to your premises until a candidate passes their background check. Use periodic audits to confirm your extended workforce has been correctly screened and meets your requirements.

7. Consolidate all screening activities to a single background screening provider for consistency.

It’s virtually impossible to put the controls in place when you have to deal with multiple background screening companies, not to mention the efficiencies gained when all vendors and temps go through a single program.

8. Ask your background screening provider to review candidate reports and determine the results.

Ask your background screening provider to adjudicate background reports and determine if a candidate meets your extended workforce screening policy. Relying on a trusted third-party to perform this vital process is a sensible method for increasing your confidence in the extended workforce meeting your standards.

9. Simplify your extended workforce screening program to reduce administrative workloads.

Streamline your extended workforce screening process as much as possible. Leverage technology, such as on-demand software, to replace manuals tasks and paper forms with automated workflows and electronic forms and signatures. Reduce the administrative burden on your organization, vendors and candidates.

To aid in your process of implementing an extended workforce screening program, it’s important to work with an experienced provider that can help identify gaps that may exist in your program and offer a solution to help efficiently carry out your policy. Fortunately, today’s specially designed extended workforce screening solutions make it feasible for any organization to implement and enhance their extended workforce screening program.

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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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