Giant Group Plc offers advice to REC members on ongoing background checks of current employees

Filed under Business partner update

Wednesday, 06 September 2017

Ongoing background checks of current employees –  is it a good idea?

If you read any of my blogs, or recruit staff, you will know the benefits of background checking applicants and the pitfalls of not checking. But what about your current workforce? It's great you check applicants as they join the company. In some industries, regulation means companies must check their staff on a regular basis.  If you're not in one of those industries, the next step is to consider if the investment in ongoing background checks is worthwhile.

So, what's the rationale behind screening current employees?

You need to ask yourself: do you know what's happening in your employees lives outside of the work? They could be the perfect employee but you are only seeing a snapshot of their lives.

What's happening outside of work can have a significant impact on their future performance? It could be any type of life event, from financial troubles to a brush with the law.

Let's consider an employee who has overstretched on a mortgage, their wife has recently been made redundant and they have become bankrupt or received a CCJ. This puts considerable stress and pressure on them, which may mean their behaviour, or what they would normally consider acceptable, may change and potentially impact the risk to your business.

Does this scenario sound far-fetched? Not really. It's happening in businesses around the country every day, you just don't know about it in your business. However, if you have an ongoing programme of financial or criminal checks, then not only will you get early red flags, but employees are much more likely to come forward and discuss this with you when it happens. It's not a club to hit them with, it's an opportunity for you to offer help and support.

So, when should you carry out these ongoing checks?

You should have a policy in place that clearly communicates to your staff when these checks could be carried out, what you look for and what action could be taken if negative information is found. This policy could simply state the frequency of the checks is random or if an employee is promoted, or a sample is carried out annually. As this can impact existing employees, it's good practice to explain and communicate the business case behind this. By doing this you are more likely to get cooperation. It's not a case of rerunning all your employees for pre-hire background checks, but rather a select few. Clearly, if you have checked work experience and education prior to recruiting, that's unlikely to change. Checks to consider are financial, criminal, professional memberships, sanctions and their driving licence.

Don't portray it as a witch hunt. The programmes should be there to protect your clients’ employees, plus providing assistance or advice to those affected.

If you want to focus more time on your core business and have excellent support on your background checking requirements, contact us today.

For a free consultation to review your current processes, email or call 020 7167 4554.

Contact: Mathew Armstrong

Phone: 020 7167 4554

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