Employers often cite their employees, team members, or people as their greatest asset. And while this may be true, it is sometimes an uncomfortable truth that they can also be an organization’s greatest weakness. Businesses, and by extension their brands, have become increasingly visible online through social media, online news channels, and even review websites, making it more important to have confidence in your workforce to positively represent your business online.
While most organizations here in the U.S. – and an increasing number overseas – already have pre-employment background screening programs in place to verify the information provided by their candidates during application, businesses without employee rescreening or ongoing monitoring programs may be vulnerable to ongoing workforce risks. But what is post-hire employment screening, when and why should you consider it, and how can it help employers to mitigate the risks that their existing workforce may pose to their organization?
Introducing Post-Hire Screening
While pre-employment background checks can help employers to assess the suitability of candidates for roles based on several factors – including their work experience, academic qualifications, and criminal history – certain facets of an individual’s track record could change during their period of employment – and this is something businesses might not currently be checking for.
In industries such as financial services or healthcare, annual or periodic rescreening may be a legal requirement for individuals to keep their jobs – and for employers to stay compliant. However, many businesses from a wide range of other industries, including technology and the gig economy, also conduct employee rescreening or ongoing monitoring and consider it a best practice. Whether post-hire screening is required or voluntary, it is important that the checks covered during an employee rescreen are proportionate to their role and the potential risks associated with it.
Which Risks Matter Most?
Some businesses may only rescreen individuals in certain high-risk positions, such as those with access to customer data, financial records, or those with administrator systems access. However, other companies with a lower risk appetite may rescreen all their employees annually, to help minimize their risk as much as possible.
However, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to post-hire screening, and each company may have different risks they are most concerned with regarding their existing workforce, which could be role-specific or company-wide.
For individuals in senior or public-facing roles, a business may be most concerned with their online activity, and whether their executives have had any negative media coverage or have been posting anything on social media that could reflect poorly on their brand. Post-hire adverse media and social media rescreening or ongoing monitoring could help to address these concerns.
If an employee is being promoted to a more senior position, perhaps with access to highly sensitive material or financial information about the company, their employer may wish to rescreen their criminal and/or credit histories. This could identify potential red flags, such as recent criminal convictions for theft or sudden unexplained debts, which may require discussion before confirming a promotion.
Additionally, businesses may screen their candidates to different standards, so for companies going through a merger or acquisition it may be wise to consider rescreening the newly expanded workforce, to ensure that consistent screening standards are adhered to across the whole organization.
Remote Working and Rescreening
Our recent 15th Annual Benchmark Report found that 76% of responding businesses globally had some of their workforce working remotely in January 2022, and 70% expected to still utilize remote working in January 2023. In North America, only around a quarter (28%) of respondents said they had no remote working in their company in January 2022.
With many employees no longer working from the office full-time, and new hires often being onboarded remotely, it can be more difficult for employers to identify any changes in their workforce that could pose additional risks to their businesses. As such, organizations with remote or hybrid employees may find post-hire background checks useful to help manage the risks of their remote workforce.
Businesses may be exposing themselves to potential reputational and financial risks by assuming that there will be no changes within their existing workforce that could pose a threat. By adopting robust due diligence processes, such as employee rescreening or ongoing monitoring, can help businesses to mitigate the ongoing risks of their current workforce, and imbue greater confidence and trust in their employees.
Mary O’Loughlin is Managing Director of the Americas at HireRight. Find out more about rescreening in our Global Guide to Rescreening.