Times change. People change. Sometimes employees’ circumstances change in ways that transform their suitability for their jobs, and sometimes, the employees themselves undergo changes that affect their job performance for better or worse.
A large majority of employers use employment screening to help select the right employees for a job during the hiring process. Increasingly, they are recognizing that the rapid evolution in a modern economy means that the fit between their workforce and their organizational mission and structure can get out of sync very quickly. Even simple job requirements, which may be contractual, regulatory, or basic company policies, can be met one day and not the next. Jobs that require a specific license or a clean driving record or a requirement that an employee is free of certain criminal records require ongoing monitoring.
For these reasons, more and more employers are recognizing that a continuous background screening program is needed to help them monitor and adjust their workforce to their operations.
However, this doesn’t mean that every employee needs to be screened every month. It does mean that the initial background check for hiring is just a snapshot of a dynamic system involving the employee, the job role, and the organization. Sometimes an employee can have a life change that disqualifies them (a driver is responsible for a major traffic incident). More generally, a screening program built on periodic background checks, checks when major job role changes occur, and checks when there are important mission or operations changes can identify when individuals are no longer suited to their roles, or when basic changes in the organization demand changes in the workforce.
Every screening program must seek evaluative information that is appropriate and relevant to the job in question. An advantage of a continuous screening program is to engage HR in designing appropriate screening methods on a continuous basis so that the information provided is most accurate and useful.
Some things to keep in mind for a continuous screening program:
- Inform employees early and often that you will be running a continuous screening program, and get their permission. Every job role should be included in this notice so it is apparent that it is your organization’s policy and not a critique of any person or job.
- Use a top-flight, professional screening agency that can help you design and implement a screening process that is minimally intrusive and maximally effective. A good agency will have tools to automate the consent and screening process that helps make sure it is done carefully and meets compliance objectives.
- Always make sure to treat “red flag” information about someone in full compliance with the Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA), which governs all consumer reporting activities including background screening. Again, a qualified screening agency will build FCRA requirements into the process, including the 3-step adverse action procedure when disqualifying information leads to a dismissal.
- Educate your workforce about the values of continuous screening, including the ways it helps them. Most employees prefer to work in a safe, respectful environment, and many thrive in a productive one. Your goal is to make and maintain the most effective and efficient workforce you can.
Continuous background screening is one of your most important tools to monitor the performance of your organization. Since most organizations are built on the people who run them and work in them, continuous employee screening contributes to your success.