Hi! I’m Brad Carlson, Chief Revenue Officer at ClearStar, and this is the next installment of For The Public Record—a blog that features thought leadership from the most seasoned experts at ClearStar, across all functions of the background screening process.
In discussions with clients today, we are constantly asked about one of the latest trends in the industry—continuous background screening. It’s not a surprise, since today’s quickly changing job market and technology means that more due diligence is required of the employer to ensure a safe working environment for all existing employees and their community.
What’s With The Hype?
Why is this getting so much interest? It really is all about safety and risk. Your employee may engage in illegal activity during the term of their employment. The infraction may be significant and a violation of your hiring guidelines. As a responsible employer, you don’t want to have a person who does not meet your standards working for the company, putting employees, clients, and vendors at risk and exposing your organization to costly negligent hiring litigation.
For example, say you have an employee working as a teacher in a school district. Typically, state law indicates that the employee is prohibited from having a sex offense on their record prior to AND during the term of their employment with the school district. Seems obvious, but many employees, while trying to avoid unemployment and financial hardship, don’t disclose that they have been convicted of a crime. Using ongoing monitoring can identify the conviction during the term of their employment and provide a solid security layer, ensuring company policy is being enforced.
How Does It Work?
What can be found with continuous screening includes criminal convictions (both felonies and misdemeanors) and global sanctions as well as entry onto various watch lists, sex offender registries, and much more.
The key underpinning of any monitoring program is a national source of information. Records are usually updated and/or available on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. With ongoing monitoring, once an infraction is found, the data is then validated at the source to help ensure any records are up to date when reported to the employer.
Before implementing a continuous screening program, the employer needs to have one very important element in place: the disclosure and authorization form. Any program of this nature must be disclosed to the employee and their consent to be monitored during their term of their employment must be on file. This helps ensure a legally compliant program.
Once the release form has been addressed, the employer can provide active employee rosters or insert new employee onboardings programmatically. The employer is responsible for removing individuals that should no longer be monitored.
Should I Start A Continuous Screening Program?
The simple answer? Yes.
For several years, organizations that employ a lot of drivers have been performing annual checks of their driving population. This was originally enforced by the insurance providers, but it has a real safety and risk mitigation component—not to mention it can help save money in the short and long term. The industry awarded lower insurance premiums for companies that did periodic monitoring to ensure their drivers had clean driving records. And it’s likely that they saved boatloads of money on legal fees had one of their drivers been taken to court for irresponsible operation of their vehicle.
Of course, with any program that has this kind of sweeping effect on your existing employees, legal guidance should be obtained.
However, if your goal is to create a safer environment and ensure that employees are truly in compliance with company policy, then continuous background screening is a great solution with real ROI. Talk with your background screening provider to ensure that your program is compliant, has the data sources you need, and most importantly, works seamlessly for your particular organization. This is for the record.