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Background Checks

How Remote Work Impacts Your Hiring

  • August 8, 2023
  • Larry Neal
  • Approx. Read Time: 9 Minutes

The COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed a significant shift in the professional landscape, ushering in the era of remote work. Driven by the need for social distancing and the potential for increased productivity and employee satisfaction, organizations across the globe have adapted to this new paradigm.

 

Top three takeaways:

  1. The rise in remote and hybrid work has changed how we hire.
  2. Continuous criminal monitoring is now more important than ever.
  3. Employers have strict guidelines to follow when implementing a continuous monitoring program.

 

Table of Contents:

  1. Hiring processes have evolved
  2. Benefits of continuous criminal monitoring in the remote/hybrid workplace
  3. Key considerations to implement continuous monitoring
  4. Creating your continuous monitoring policy

 

The shift to remote work, once a temporary measure, has now evolved into a permanent fixture in many corporations.

With this transformation comes new challenges and implications, particularly for hiring processes, background screening, and the necessity of continuous criminal monitoring in the remote work environment.

 

Hiring processes have evolved

The hiring process has evolved significantly with the shift to remote and hybrid work models.

  • Digital Interviews: The conventional in-person interview has been replaced by video calls and other digital platforms. This allows companies to interview candidates from anywhere in the world, expanding the talent pool significantly.
  • Online Onboarding: Once a candidate is hired, the onboarding process also takes place remotely. This includes virtual meet-and-greets, digital handbooks, and online training sessions.
  • Focus on Independent Skills: As remote work requires a high level of self-motivation and independence, hiring managers now prioritize these qualities more than before.
  • Adoption of AI and Automation: To streamline the hiring process, many organizations have adopted AI-driven tools for pre-screening applications, scheduling interviews and conducting initial assessments. This not only accelerates the hiring process but also reduces the likelihood of human bias.
  • Increased Background Checks: In the absence of physical supervision, companies have emphasized the need for comprehensive background checks, including continuous criminal monitoring, to ensure the integrity of their workforce as employees work from anywhere.

 

The evolution of these hiring processes underlines the necessity for continuous criminal monitoring in the remote/hybrid work landscape.

 

It’s not just for safety-sensitive positions anymore

Before the popularity of remote work exploded, ongoing monitoring was most often seen as useful for employees in safety-sensitive jobs, such as:

  • “Final Mile” delivery drivers, particularly those who are required to enter homes of customers,
  • Utility workers with access to customer property and/or homes,
  • Healthcare staff who have regular access to patients,
  • Financial services employees with access to important information, and
  • Any other employees with access to the public, clients, sensitive information, homes, etc.

 

However, with 41% of employees working remotely on a consistent basis, more employers are turning to continuous criminal monitoring for all positions.

This provides an extra layer of security, ensuring the safety and protection of both employees and clients no matter where employees work from.

 

Recommended Reading: Continuous Criminal Monitoring

 

Benefits of continuous criminal monitoring in the remote/hybrid workplace

Continuous criminal monitoring offers several benefits that specifically apply to a remote/hybrid workplace.

 

Criminal Monitoring keeps your organization safer

There are several reasons to consider continuous criminal monitoring as your organizations work remotely or in a hybrid structure:

Proactive risk management

Continuous criminal monitoring is a vital tool in proactive risk management in a remote or hybrid work structure. This mechanism alerts employers on an ongoing basis if an employee has engaged in criminal behavior, allowing organizations to act promptly and decisively.

In a remote work environment, where in-person supervision is absent, this tool is even more critical. It equips organizations with the necessary information to mitigate potential threats, protect their assets, and maintain an ethical, safe, and productive workspace.

Rather than reacting to potential issues after they arise, continuous criminal monitoring enables companies to stay ahead, allowing them to protect their business assets, reputation, and other employees.

 

Ensures integrity and trust

Continuous criminal monitoring plays a key role in fostering integrity and trust within an organization, particularly crucial in a remote work setup.

This ongoing process provides businesses with timely and important information about any changes in their employees’ criminal records. By doing so, it ensures that only individuals who adhere to the law and the organization’s code of conduct continue to be a part of the workforce.

This transparency can foster a high-trust environment, where coworkers feel secure knowing that their colleagues are reliable and law-abiding citizens. It reassures stakeholders that the organization takes the integrity of its workforce seriously, leading to a more robust and trustworthy brand image.

 

Regulatory compliance

In certain industries, especially those dealing with sensitive data or vulnerable populations, it is often required to regularly monitor employees’ criminal records. Compliance with these regulations not only ensures legal operation but also safeguards the reputation of the company.

Regular criminal monitoring helps organizations stay on top of any changes in their employees’ records that could put them at risk. It enables them to swiftly take necessary actions, avoiding potential legal issues, financial penalties, and damage to their reputation.

This process substantiates the company’s commitment to upholding regulatory standards, reinforcing its credibility in the eyes of stakeholders and regulatory bodies.

 

Enhances overall security

Continuous criminal monitoring significantly enhances overall security in a remote or hybrid work environment. In the absence of traditional, on-site security measures, it acts as a robust safeguard, keeping a check on the criminal records of all employees, wherever they may be located.

By providing real-time alerts on any criminal activity involving an employee, it allows swift action to be taken, thereby mitigating potential risks and maintaining the safety of the remote workspace. This proactive system ensures that only law-abiding individuals are part of the company’s workforce, thus fostering a secure and trustworthy working environment.

Such a safety net goes a long way in reassuring both employees and stakeholders about the company’s dedication to maintaining a secure work environment, even in the face of the challenges posed by remote work.

 

Nationwide scope

Facilitated by the remote work model, nationwide hiring comes with its own set of challenges, one of which is the comprehensive background verification of candidates across different states.

Continuous criminal monitoring emerges as an invaluable practice in this scenario. It enables companies to perform thorough nationwide background checks, ensuring that no criminal record is overlooked due to state boundaries.

This diligent practice safeguards the company from potential legal and reputational risks associated with hiring individuals with a criminal past. It assures that the company’s remote workforce, spread across various states, maintains a consistent standard of integrity.

This nationwide scope of continuous criminal monitoring, therefore, allows companies to leverage the benefits of a geographically diverse talent pool, while ensuring the safety and security of their remote work environment.

 

Key Considerations to Implement Continuous Monitoring

For a successful continuous monitoring program, organizations should consider the following:

Consent

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 on board 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, show how the policy benefits everyone and require all employees sign a consent form that indicates they are aware of the policy.

 

Accuracy

If these checks are based on the use of criminal databases, employers should understand the limitations of these databases.

When some databases are used to screen for criminal records, then there is the possibility of both “false positives” and “false negatives.” A “false positive” means although there is a match, it is not the consumer in question, or there has been an expungement or some other judicial set aside that has not been updated.

Reputable background screening vendors will use these types of searches, but only as a secondary research tool for the purposes of possibly locating reportable criminal records in additional jurisdictions.

If a match is discovered during a periodic check, the background screening firm will conduct a courthouse-level search in order to confirm the identity and the details of the case to determine if it is even reportable under applicable laws before including such information in a report to an employer.

As an employer, you’ll want to ensure that your background screen provider is a member of The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), that they have experience with continuous screening, and can ensure accuracy in the information they provide.

 

FCRA Compliance

Adherence to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is crucial when conducting any form of background checks, including continuous criminal monitoring.

The FCRA sets stringent guidelines to protect individuals’ privacy rights and ensure accuracy, fairness, and confidentiality in the collection and use of their information.

In the context of employment, this law demands that employers obtain written consent from employees before conducting a background check, provide a copy of the report if any adverse action is taken based on its contents, and allow the employee a chance to dispute any incorrect information.

Non-compliance with FCRA regulations can lead to significant legal and financial penalties, making it vital for companies employing remote workers to carefully understand and follow these guidelines.

This not only mitigates potential legal risks but also fosters a culture of transparency and trust within the remote work environment.

 

Adverse Action

It’s important to note that The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) also requires that 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.

 

Permissible Purpose

Permissible Purpose is a vital aspect to consider when implementing continuous criminal monitoring checks.

Under the FCRA regulations, employers can lawfully conduct such checks only if they bear a permissible purpose – typically, this means the individual is an active employee.

The employer, therefore, needs a reliable system to track current employees and communicate this information periodically to the screening firm. This is significant as conducting a background check without permissible purpose can lead to severe legal consequences, including hefty fines and potential lawsuits.

Regular checks carried out with permissible purpose and due diligence can contribute to maintaining a safe and secure remote work environment, by ensuring employees continue to uphold the organization’s standards and societal laws.

 

Recommended Reading: What Employers Need to Know Before Implementing Continuous Screening

 

Create Your Continuous Monitoring Policy

Here are the top five things to consider when creating an ongoing monitoring policy for your remote workplace:

  • Understand the Legal Implications: It’s crucial to understand the legal aspects related to continuous criminal monitoring. Legislation varies by state and country, so organizations must ensure their policy adheres to relevant local, state, and federal laws.
  • Ensure Employee Consent: Employees must give their consent before you can start monitoring their criminal records. Policies should outline the reasons for the monitoring and how the data will be used to ensure transparency.
  • Include Clear Guidelines: The policy should clearly define the situations where monitoring is necessary and the actions that will be taken if an employee’s criminal status changes. These guidelines should be consistent to avoid any potential bias or discrimination.
  • Data Security Measures: With sensitive data collection, organizations must take necessary steps to protect this information. The policy should detail the security measures in place, such as encrypted data storage and restricted access.
  • Review and Update Policies Regularly: As laws and remote work scenarios evolve, so too should your policy. Regular reviews and updates will ensure your policy remains relevant, legal, and effective in maintaining a safe and productive remote work environment.

 

Recommended Reading: 6 Best Practices for Implementing a Continuous Monitoring Program

 

In the era of remote and hybrid work, hiring and continuous monitoring practices have undergone significant transformations. The increasing geographical diversity of workforces necessitates a meticulous approach to remote hiring, ensuring the prospective employee fits into the organizational ethos and meets legal requisites.

Similarly, continuous criminal monitoring has evolved into a crucial element of maintaining a safe, productive, and compliant remote work environment. This type of search helps organizations proactively respond to changes in their employees’ criminal statuses, fostering a culture of transparency and trust.

Irrespective of the work setup, companies must continue prioritizing the legal, ethical, and practical aspects of these processes to uphold the integrity of their operations.

At Cisive, we understand the unique challenges and intricacies that come with onboarding remote workers and implementing continuous monitoring programs.

Don’t leave your company’s safety and compliance to chance – let our experts assist in creating a robust and effective remote hiring and continuous monitoring policy that protects your organization and empowers your remote workforce. Contact us today to get started.

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