Your employees represent your company. To your customers and the public at large, there is little distinction between your company and the people who wear your uniform, drive your trucks, and carry your company-branded business cards. When employees cause harm or conduct themselves in a manner that reflects poorly on your company, your reputation (and a whole lot more) is at stake.
In today’s world where information is easily captured and shared in real-time with little or no filtering, reputation management is becoming a higher priority for organizations. Managing the reputation of your company, its leaders, and even its individual employees has evolved into a distinct discipline, with specific policies to address the heightened visibility of all company representatives.
An important proactive tactic to mitigate reputation risk—and protect your brand value—is employment screening. Every employee has intentional and unintentional interactions with external factors, as well as with other members of the organization, both in person and through social media. Therefore, the character and quality of each employee can have serious implications for reputation and brand.
Employment screening plays an important role in a reputation management program. Here’s how:
1. Background screening helps create a safer workplace
Workplace violence damages more than just your employees’ security and feelings of loyalty to the company. It can erupt into the news, or into employees’ twitter feeds, with rapid impact on your everyday operations. It can make recruiting new employees almost impossible.
Background screening does more than check for potential criminal backgrounds. It helps to illuminate character, the basic strength a person brings to unpredictable situations. A high character person is unlikely to cause workplace violence, and they are also more likely to see and report when they think another employee is prone to violent outbursts.
2. Background screening builds a culture of trust and safety
Over time, a substantial background screening program contributes to building a sense of community in the workplace, a collection of individuals of quality who learn they can depend on each other and the organization. Both employees and customers will begin to recognize your commitment to hiring trustworthy people, which results in an overall more positive attitude among customers and the public at large.
A sterling reputation and brand value are created by a workforce like this because the culture can be incorporated into each employee’s identity. Every step an employer can take to stimulate this kind of culture is a wall against reputation meltdown.
3. Background screening helps find people with skills that complement the organization
Reputation and brand value rests on many factors. However, one critical factor is that the employees represent the quality the organization wants to project. This goes beyond character. The employee must have the skills, aptitudes, and experience that enables he or she to perform at the highest level.
Every interaction with a customer or partner involves exposure and will be evaluated. The greater the satisfaction with the interaction, the better for the organization’s reputation. This is, in part, a training issue, but the quality of the relationship will have its roots in the ability and personality of the employee. A background screening process can identify the right people for each job role.
Reputation, and its broader context as brand value, can either increase or decrease the “goodwill” people feel toward the organization. As every manager knows, the goodwill we can see on the books is really the value of the organization’s reputation. Your background screening program is an essential part of your conscious effort to build the reputation.