Blog

Background Screening Best Practices: Continuous Employee Screening

September 25, 2018 | Debbie Caporusso

In this fast-moving world where everything is changing so rapidly, continuous employee screening is a new business best practice used to not only to mitigate risk for your workforce, but also to ensure that your customers and partners are receiving the best and safest level of service from your employees and contractors every single day.

Hiring in today’s new normal, not only means screening incoming hires, but having continuous, post-hire monitoring as well.  This level of screening can alert HR to potential risk, reducing the prevalence of internal threats to your business.

What is Continuous Employee Screening?

Continuous employee screening, sometimes known as continuous employee monitoring or “infinity screening,” is the practice of conducting criminal background checks and drug tests for existing employees on a regular or intermittent schedule. The proliferation of screening tools and searchable databases has contributed to this growing trend

One significant sign of the times: Membership in the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) more than quadrupled to 917 last year from 195 members when it was formed in 2003.

Why Increase Scrutiny of Employee Monitoring Now?

In many jobs today, particularly within technology, government sectors, and employees that are part of the gig economy, safety or security concerns are elevated. Continuous employee screening for drug or alcohol abuse, vice crimes or similar offenses becomes highly relevant to job performance.

Majority of companies are trying to balance privacy concerns with mounting pressure to do a better job in rooting out workers who might steal, harass or even commit violent acts in the workplace.

Post-hire threats range from embezzlement, fraud and theft to violent behavior. Depending upon how extensive an employer’s pre-screening program at the point of hire, there is always the possibility that they may discover post-hire that a person has a record, faked a credential, or committed fraud. If these types of searches weren’t conducted, an employer wouldn’t know.  In order to minimize risk, employers should thoroughly screen candidates using a background screening provider who has a proven track record of quality and compliance.

Even when performing a thorough pre-employment background check, it still cannot be assumed there will never be issues with insider threats down the line.

While it is suggested that your company have a policy of employee self-reporting that they would follow if something changed with an employee’s criminal record, companies who are best in class should not just rely on employee’s self-reporting but leverage continuous background screening technology to protect the business against threats like violence, embezzlement, theft and fraud.

An important note, with the growing number of companies using contract and gig workers, employee self-reporting policies don’t apply to these temporary workers, making the business case even greater for continuous employee background screening and monitoring.

Is Continuous Employee Screening Worth the Cost and Effort? 

Short answer: Yes. For the long-term safety of your employees, vendors, and customers, the cost of continuous background screening is worth it. There are currently no cost-benefit studies that directly address whether it’s worth undergoing the expense and trouble of starting up a continuous employee screening policy. However, the higher the risks based on the job type or workplace, product or overall levels of security required, the more it matters. Additionally, the human risk means that a single incident resulting in injury or loss of life could be a shadow on your company’s reputation indefinitely.

In a 2016 SHRM article, Lucia Bone, the founder of Sue Weaver CAUSE, said that “continuous screening provides employers with a valuable tool to best evaluate their risks and ensure they place their employees in the most appropriate positions.” Bone founded the organization to promote awareness of the importance of conducting ongoing criminal background checks on service workers after her sister, Cathy Sue Weaver, was murdered in 2001 by a worker who had not undergone a background check.

How to Implement Continuous Employee Screening 

Once you’ve made the decision to adopt a continuous screening policy, your job application forms should make it clear that any material falsehood or omission from the applicant can result in termination, no matter when it is discovered. Your company’s employee handbooks should also include language on what will happen if your company’s background screen (at any point) discovers falsehoods or omissions post-hire.

For new workers coming onboard when a policy is already in place, continuous screening is less of an issue. However, when you implement it as a new policy, your current employees may have more difficulty accepting it. Your HR team will need to conduct some employee education on the rationale of continuous screening, and show how the policy benefits everyone.

Continuous criminal monitoring services are offered through some background screening providers. Cisive offers a unique, one of a kind service for the continuous criminal monitoring. With direct connections to over 2,000 penitentiary facilities, we can capture over 85% of all arrest bookings and incarcerations in the U.S.  The monitoring service will scan employees for criminal activity and provide an alert within 60 minutes or less of any criminal arrest or conviction.

It’s important to note that The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which governs how and when companies conduct background checks, requires employee consent, and if a company plans to discipline or fire a worker based on the findings, it must give the employee an opportunity to review the data for errors or explain any mitigating circumstances. Cisive understands this process from start to finish and can ensure that your company remains compliant throughout a continuous employee screening process.

To learn more about Cisive’s continuous criminal monitoring service, call us at 1.866.557.5984 or email info@cisive.com today.

Subscribe to the Cisive Newsletter