Background Check Trends and Their Impact on Construction Contractors

June 24th, 2020

Click here to read the original article published by Construction Executive. 

Challenging times, such as the present Covid-19 pandemic, will typically allow businesses to quickly learn which strategic partners they can count on, and which will show cracks under strain. Reliability is key so that when contractors are called upon by their customers and community, they rise to the challenge. When filling key positions within the construction industry, delays in bringing on new talent will likely have a ripple effect on completing the job.

In addition, as workers are onboarded, new people are introduced to the company, culture and worksites. New team members can impact other employees, customers, as well as a company’s brand and reputation. A consistent, high-quality background check remains critical for any employee in order to ensure a safe, secure workplace that includes only those individuals who meet the standards you set. Contractors are no exception.

An effective background check solution needs to be thorough, accurate, fast and operate without interruption, even during a crisis. When turning on the hiring switch to fill critical roles, it is even more important that contractors can rely on their hiring systems in the current environment. If hiring mechanisms fall short, it could create needless uncertainties or impediments to a company’s ability to deliver.   

Operating Without Interruption  

Before the pandemic, the criminal records check portion of a background screening was typically measured by speed and accuracy. During the Covid-19 crisis, this is where the most effective screening processes have shown differentiation. At a time when many court jurisdictions have been closed and records cannot be accessed in traditional, physical locations, technology capabilities that enable access electronically have become even more critical. 

Business owners can now add “accessible” as a key indicator of speed and value because the inability to complete a background check can delay the hiring process or introduce uncertainties. While a global pandemic is an extreme example of a disruption, natural disasters and other occurrences can also disrupt court record accessibility. 

When working with a background screening provider, learn more about how and where they can access necessary records, and be sure that it will provide the information a construction business owner needs to feel comfortable during decision-making.  

The Contractor Challenge 

It is important to fully understand your background screening process, be it one’s own process, or handled by an outside agency.  

Ultimately, contract employees may stand shoulder-to-shoulder with each other and the permanent hire population. The right skills and background are critical for ensuring both overall success and safety. Tolerance for error can be limited, reinforcing the importance that workers on jobsites are who they say they are and are uniformly reflecting the company’s standards in areas like criminal background and documented work experience.

Risks can be mitigated by applying the same background screening process used for permanent workers when hiring contract and contingent workers. By applying a uniform set of standards that is executed by a single background screening company, a business owner can achieve needed trust and safety.  

Consistency is Key to Success 

A clear indicator of a strong contract employee screening program is one that allows the company to control, administer and operate within a master background screening account. A consistent scoring approach with easy access to the status of each check enables employers to quickly see an individual employee’s eligibility to enter worksites. The experience of the HR team will also improve when they can leverage a single set of reports and dashboards rather than a veritable maze of disparate screening solutions.

At a time when customers are counting on contractors in new and challenging ways, it is even more important to devote time and attention to the company’s critical mission. Partnering with a background screening partner can help business owners to overcome obstacles and adhere to the standards set for the business, employees, customers, community and brand. 

Sterling is not a law firm. 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.

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