July 27th, 2022 | Sterling

SHRM Annual Conference: Sterling’s Top Takeaways

Several members of Team Sterling converged on New Orleans in June for the SHRM Annual Conference, our first time attending since 2019 due to the pandemic. It was great to be back, seeing many clients and meeting new faces.

Our mission at SHRM was to show how we put people first, and how we help clients create strong, authentic cultures built on a foundation of trust and safety. Our booth visitors captured their authentic selves with a free professional headshot, and received tips from organizational behaviorist Dr. Sophia Town on building an authentic work culture.

We asked some of our Sterling staff to share their top takeaways from the show and what they heard from attendees regarding background screening and identity verification.

What pain points or challenges came up most when speaking with attendees at SHRM?

Anthony Gildone, Enterprise Executive, Retail and Franchise Verticals: What an exciting few days of collaborative conversation. Of the conversations I had, the vast majority of visitors focused on the Candidate Experience, Time to Hire, and Annual Spend relevant to talent acquisition and retention. Those who are fighting through older technology, gaps in processes, and outdated record location and retrieval workflows, are struggling to onboard the top talent within their given time constraints. They are losing talent to other industry players. Those who are nimble and able to onboard top talent quickly are flourishing.

Ultimately, what was most exciting for me at this year’s SHRM conference was the opportunity to interact face to face with my clients. When it comes to my clients, I am an extension of their staff, working as a true steward of their brand as we execute thoughtful, actionable ideas that help them take the next step with hiring top talent.

Cori Neumann, Sales Executive, Tech, Media & Entertainment: What a phenomenal few days at SHRM22! I loved meeting our clients, hearing feedback, and affirming Sterling’s success in providing the foundation of trust and safety needed to build great cultures and protect their people and brands. The key challenge expressed was a lack of support and guidance in navigating the evolving global regulations in the screening industry. In addition, remote hiring has amplified competition for candidates, making the partnership between a company and their background screening provider more vital than ever. Our clients experience the benefits of a partnership like this, which includes regulatory expertise and support, as well as guidance through changes such as commonplace remote hiring. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth!

What HR trends did you hear about concerning products and services in the background check and identity verification space?

Erin Smalley, Director, Product Management: We received a lot of feedback from HR professionals at SHRM about increasing the remote workforce. The fact that they are not actually meeting their candidates face-to-face has surfaced as a very real issue. Interviews are done via video or phone calls, and in some cases, they are not completely certain that the individual who shows up is the person that they hired. Bad actors are selling their services to complete interviews and provide their information for a background screening. This is leaving the employer or organization with the liability of hiring a candidate that they have not truly screened. Identity Verification is filling this emerging risk in the remote workforce, allowing organizations to confirm that the individual that they interview, screen, and ultimately hire is authentic and indeed who they say they are.

What were your main takeaways from the event?

Iain Murray, Senior Advisor, Trust & Safety, Sterling Backcheck: SHRM was such a success. Those in attendance seemed genuinely happy to return to in-person gatherings, engaging with one another and exchanging ideas. While the number of people at the event felt “overwhelming” to some, the authentic interactions led to some terrific conversations about emerging trends in our industry. The rise in remote work brought Digital ID Verification and Credentials to the forefront, along with social media screening. Global Screening was also a hot topic. As companies expand or broaden their candidate pools into other regions and countries, qualified candidates from these other jurisdictions pose new challenges to background screening. It’s so important to be aware of laws and best practices in other regions. It was great to discuss some of these trends with HR professionals and see where we can help.

Jon Stockton, Senior Enterprise Sales Director, Healthcare/Life Sciences: What I heard on the floor was people are having challenges with turnaround times, client support, and education verifications. That said, a big theme is that people are hiring! Many of the people we spoke with have multiple open job positions that need to be filled, and background screening and identity verification services play a huge role in this. In the coming years, technology and partnerships will drive success in hiring, creating great cultures, and building foundations of trust and safety. We had some really happy clients at SHRM because of these two things. They love our fast turnaround times that enable them to onboard new hires quickly.

Final Thoughts

We’re grateful we were able to return to SHRM to see familiar faces, meet new ones, and share how Sterling helps our clients. We enjoyed all the conversations around building authenticity within organizations, and also how background screening and identity verification can help increase confidence in hiring. Everyone at Sterling is already looking forward to seeing attendees next year!

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