When Should Your Company Rescreen Employees?
A nonprofit city zoo found itself at the center of every organization’s worst nightmare when one of its former employees was accused of sex abuse of a minor and arrested on multiple counts of child pornography. While the victim did not come in contact with the accused through his job, the zoo is now tied to those allegations.
Once a Clean Record, Not Always a Clean a Record
Unfortunately, insider threats like these can happen at any organization, especially nonprofits that work with vulnerable populations. Preventing harmful acts – things like abuse, embezzlement, violent crimes, and theft – is the main reason companies conduct background checks on new employees. Background checks are the single most effective tool for protecting other employees, and in this case volunteers, clients and those that you serve.
However, even though an employee or volunteer passed an initial background check, doesn’t mean that criminal behavior won’t happen after they are hired.
Regular rechecks on employees and volunteers is considered an industry best practice, but it is often overlooked. Studies show that less than a third of employers rescreen current employees and volunteers. While some industries like gaming, health care and transportation require additional background checks, most do not.
The reason rechecks are missed: Cost. Legal issues, privacy concerns and worrying about appearing untrusting of your employees also play a role in deciding against follow-up background checks. However, rechecks generally cost less than the initial search simply because the full due diligence has already been completed. Instead of a multi-county search like you would want to do during an initial screen, a single county search is ideal for a recheck.
When Rescreening is the Right Move
There are concrete instances, though, where re-screening employees and volunteers is appropriate and necessary. Here’s three of them.
- An internal move: When employees change positions or volunteers begin serving in a new role, they will undoubtedly have different responsibilities. In some cases, they may have greater access to sensitive and financial information. Promotions may come with benefits like the use of a company vehicle or a key to the building. All of these new access points could put your organization and its people at risk if you haven’t properly rescreened the employees and/or volunteers. For example, rescreening will examine a person’s driving and criminal record and show you any new offense you may not know about.
- A workplace incident: It is your responsibility to ensure your company is a safe place to work. Failing to do so leaves you vulnerable to a negligence lawsuit. A workplace accident is a good indicator that an employee or volunteer needs to be rescreened. You may uncover substance abuse through a drug test. You may discover that an employee was arrested for DUI. From a liability standpoint, you will have shown due diligence in keeping your workplace safe.
- Unusual Behavior: If an employee or volunteer starts acting out or exhibiting otherwise odd personality changes, including, but not limited to, tardiness, rudeness and uncleanliness, it’s time for a follow-up background check.
Think Long Term
The most effective way to incorporate rescreening into your employment guidelines is to make it a mandatory requirement. A study done by the Employee Benefit Research Institute showed the average length of employment for Americans is more than five years.
While annual rechecks are the industry recommendation, many companies who rescreen employees run them every 2 to 3 years. Incorporating rescreening into your guidelines ensures both new hires and veterans are held to the same standards. Another option companies are incorporating into their screening program is to automate the rescreening process with monthly checks on those who have specific roles within an organization, including drivers or those who work with vulnerable populations.