August 14th, 2017 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

Promoting Safety by Conducting Background Screening

The word “safe” has many meanings and can vary per person and the surrounding environment. Feeling safe is to feel secure, protected from or not exposed to danger or risk and out of harm’s way. We all strive to be safe. We drive safely, keep our family out of harm’s way (such as baby proofing a home) and follow safety instructions. Safety in this time of uncertainty is paramount. Workplace safety procedures are necessary for the well-being of both employers and employees.

Promoting Safety by Conducting Background Screening

Sterling recently surveyed 500+ US-based employers in 33 industries about their use of background screening to gain key insights into emerging trends, technology and more. The 2017 Background Screening Trends & Best Practices Report uncovers details how HR professionals think about components of the hiring process and how they relate to the background screening industry, how emerging technology is impacting the candidate experience and emerging trends in employment background screening. The premise behind our 2017 Background Screening Trends & Best Practices Report was to take the pulse of how companies are using background screening as part of their hiring process.

A majority of survey respondents (89%) do currently conduct employment background checks while 11% do not perform these checks. For those companies who are part of the 89% who currently conduct background screening, the top four reasons for performing these checks are:

  • To protect clients and customers
  • To enhance workplace safety
  • To identify the best candidates
  • It is mandated by law

According to our survey, approximately 80% of the respondents said that background checks uncover issues/information that wouldn’t’ have been found otherwise. Therefore, overall employers are finding employment checks worth their time. As the demand for more information about candidates continues to rise, employers are finding strong value in the content of the results they receive.

Support for Employee Background Screening

For nearly half of all survey respondents (45%), the primary reason they believe employment background checks are important to their organization is to protect their clients or customers. Interestingly, only a handful of organizations are conducting employment background checks to enhance workplace safety (15%) and to protect their employees primarily (7%).  Job candidates need to know the importance placed on safety in the workplace for both the customer and the employee. This increased transparency should help a candidate and employees know that employers value their safety and continue to help build the company brand and help with recruiting efforts.

There is a contrast to how employers are using background screening compared to how Americans feel about background checks. According to the 2016 Sterling Employment Background Check: Survey of American Citizens Report, 78% of Americans surveyed expect to feel safe at their workplace while 81% believed that feeling safe is a right, not merely a privilege. A majority of survey respondents believed that background checks provide them with a sense of safety, while 59% believed background checks are essential to safety. In contracts, just 14% believed that background checks are an invasion of privacy.

The vast majority of Americans support thorough employment background screening checks. They support employers who make background checks a part of their hiring process for the following reasons:

  • They believe these employers are taking steps that are crucial to safeguarding their workers
  • Background checks help to put employees at ease in the workplace, which in turn impacts their positivity, focus, productivity, engagement and loyalty levels
  • Background checks also give customers the peace of mind they expect and that will earn their long-term loyalty

For employers, these survey findings validate the use of sound background screening practices. The American public encourages organizations in their basic efforts to safeguard their employees, their customers and their business partners through the use of background screening checks.

Negative Behaviors Affect Safety in the Workplace

Finding the perfect candidate can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. For many employers, it’s tempting to hire people without performing due diligence or background checks on the applicant. Yet, what happens if the job candidates turn out to be different from what you originally thought during the interview and hiring process? It is essential that you identify a bad hire before she or he becomes your new hire and could impact the safety of the workplace. The impact of one bad hire can spread through the entire company and leave behind harmful consequences to the company’s reputation, employee morale and even financial assets.

Determine the Value of Employment Background Screening

While background screening is becoming more common, screening practices and policies vary across organizations. Each company can create their background screening policies and programs based on their needs. Some may require just simple employment verifications or reference checks while others might include a criminal background check, education verifications, credit history, social media checks and drug and health screenings.

Companies who have not implemented an employee screening program should take an in-depth look at their business’ safety needs to determine the value they would receive from implementing such a program. From identifying the best candidates to maintaining compliance, it’s good to get a plan in place to understand the reasons screening matters to your organization. To learn more about the key insights on background screening practices, priorities and challenges, download the Background Screening Trends and Best Practices Report 2017

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.