Hiring Trends Make Agile Background Screening a Priority

February 9th, 2022

For most of us the past two years of living through the global Covid-19 pandemic have felt like being inside a time warp. On a personal level, our days slowly turned into months where we hadn’t once gotten together with friends and family or visited our favorite spots.

From a business perspective, however, the opposite is true. Specifically, the demands of effectively managing a workforce and filling jobs are changing so quickly that it is hard to keep up. That’s why vetting your prospective workers plays a critical role in creating a safe workplace for both employees and customers, which in turn protects your brand and reputation. As a result, many organizations are reexamining how they hire and onboard people in order to develop efficient, nimble processes that enable success. With this goal in mind, several trends are increasing the pressure on HR teams to develop a streamlined hiring workflow.

Screening Quickly Enough to Fill Critical Roles

Today the labor market is tighter and more competitive than ever. Across sectors like manufacturing, transportation, and construction, remaining fully staffed and staying on-site are non-negotiable. A leading Sterling logistics client phrased the issue this way: “Without butts in the seats, we can’t operate.”

Whether your key employees keep the assembly line moving, deliver products to customers, or handle back- office duties, it’s imperative for companies to have capable, motivated, and dedicated people ready to start each shift. As always, you also need to develop a pipeline for your next generation of employees due to the ongoing “Great Resignation.” In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.5 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs in November 2021 – a concerning development.

With competition for candidates intensifying, HR teams are now working to create a more satisfying applicant experience by offering transparent timelines for the hiring process. Clearly, a successful onboarding program hinges on being able to tell applicants how many rounds of interviews they can expect, along with when they will (or will not) proceed to the next stage. HR teams should also build an effective bridge between the selection and onboarding process by conducting a background check that doesn’t sacrifice accuracy for the sake of speed.

For these reasons, partnership with the right background screener can pay dividends. What services should you look for in a third-party provider? First ensure that they offer an easy, intuitive candidate experience that makes a positive first impression with top talent. In addition, look for a technology-forward approach which leverages integrations to improve efficiency. For example, many of us have seen how the global pandemic (and/or severe weather) can close courthouses and impede access to certain records. The best workaround is a digital connection to critical records which don’t require in-person inspection. The ideal background screener should also be able to offer rapid turnaround times and a high percentage of searches completed within a day, so top applicants aren’t scooped up by a competitor or other key player in your market.

Expand Your Use of Contract Employees

One approach to surviving employee shortages is to seek the help of trusted work agencies, either as a short-term or as a semi-permanent solution. It allows you to build a dynamic workforce to suit your business’s changing needs.

Contract or contingent workers perform many critical functions, often standing shoulder-to-shoulder with your other employees. And just like your other employees, they may also be interacting with your customers, accessing sensitive information or locations, and operating critical machinery. Therefore your specific background screening standards need to be applied to all your employees, regardless of status. Contingent workforce screening provides your business with this uniformity, avoiding potential gaps due to variations in the more basic background checks that employment agency partners typically run.

Corporate meeting and group work in modern company in office interior. African american woman manager in protective mask holding tablet, talking to workers keeping social distance during epidemic

Keeping Your Employees Safe Keeps Your Business Running

The definition of a safe workplace has evolved quickly in just the last two years. Today, it may include social distancing, the use of masks or other personal protective equipment, and routine wellness checks. As standards continue to evolve, many organizations have implemented Covid-19 testing and vaccination tracking programs—critical tools for knowing who is eligible to be onsite, who is not, and where gaps may occur. Through intuitive dashboards and reporting, you can focus your attention on those employees who are out of compliance with your standards or who pose a safety risk of not conforming over time.

The past two years have presented us all with so many challenges inside and out of the workplace, but as the slow rebound continues, the most successful businesses will adapt quickly and implement creative solutions, often with the help of trusted partners. Based on the current hiring landscape, implementing ongoing reviews of your applicant and employee experience is a must-do priority, with an eye toward continuous improvement.

Alla Schay is General Manager of the Industrials, Government & Education business at Sterling, a leading provider of background and identity services. Over the last 15 years she has served in several prominent roles at the company including leadership of client services and account management teams, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Human Resources Officer. Alla is an operations management professional with rich experience in business process transformation, Six Sigma analysis, as well as software and CRM implementation. Prior to Sterling, Schay held senior and strategic positions at Wolters Kluwer Corporate Legal Services (CLS). In addition, she spent six years as a principal management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

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.