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Employment Screening: Why a Company Should Monitor Current Employees

June 4, 2013

Backup-Best-PracticesBob has been with the company for 8 years, so there is absolutely no reason to check into his background, right?

WRONG!

Businesses across the country are losing millions of dollars each year as well as their reputations because of employees who have had a negative change in lifestyle. Even if you performed a thorough background screen when you hired the person, this does not mean you are risk free.

Here are 3 reasons why current employees should be monitored periodically:
1: Addiction. It’s estimated that 7 out of 10 people who have drug and alcohol addictions are employed either full or part time. While many people begin using drugs in their teens, this is not always the case. Employees may begin using drugs recreationally, which can spin out of control. The resulting impact can vary from poor work performance, to stealing, to on the job safety issues.
2: Financial issues. Especially in the roller coaster economy of the last few years, many Americans have fallen into dire financial situations. Underwater mortgages, high credit card debt, and spouses losing jobs are just some of the reasons why an employee may be feeling desperate. These stresses can cause changes in even the best employees, and tempt them into stealing from the company or committing other crimes.
3: Overall bad decisions. Let’s face it: some people make really stupid decisions that carry steep consequences. Some of these decisions can even be illegal. If an employee is in trouble with law enforcement, it is best to minimize the risk of the company by learning about it as soon as possible.

Being aware of how negative any of these situations can be for a company’s bottom line is crucial in maintaining a safe and productive workplace. By using the following monitoring tools on current employees, a business can further reduce risk and improve the bottom line:

Periodic criminal checks. At a minimum, run a county criminal search in the county the employee lives, and a nationwide data base search. Do this once per year.
Screen for drug use. Drug addicted employees are more likely to miss work, be unproductive, and steal from their employees than their non abusing counterparts. Utilize drug testing, and have a program in place for offenders.
Check their credit. Periodically checking an employee’s credit report is one way to measure the person’s trustworthiness and decrease the risk of becoming a victim of fraud. This process can uncover bad judgment as well as financial issues that could drive the employee to steal.
NOTE: Only utilize credit reports in this manner for positions in which knowledge of an employee’s credit habits are relevant and fair. Several states have restricted using credit reports in screening employees, depending on the position held.
Social media screening. This type of screening is the new kid on the block. As more people create profiles and sign on to the many social media sites available today, new opportunities to get background information are being created. While criminal checks show what an employee has been caught doing, social media screening can bring to light what they haven’t been caught doing YET. Monitoring or periodically checking an employees’ social media footprint can sometimes detect issues (bad judgment, drug use, etc) BEFORE they become real problems. Utilizing a trusted third party for this search will ensure you don’t cross any privacy boundaries.

Businesses need to realize that the screening of an employee is not complete on their first day of work. While a good pre-employment screening process helps to decrease the possibility of hiring unqualified, dishonest, or dangerous applicants, implementing a screening process for current employees can further guard against risk to the company and the workplace.

Coming soon: Data Facts will be blogging about how to stay in compliance during the post-employment screening process.

~~Susan McCullah is the Product Development Director for Data Facts, Inc, a 23 year old Memphis based company. Data Facts Inc -an NAPBS accredited company- is a leading provider of employment screening solutions. Check our our website for a complete explanation of our services.

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