There’s a paradox that exists today in background screening that might be putting your business—and your brand—at risk. On one hand, pre-hire background checks are nearly universal, evidenced by the fact that 96 percent of businesses conduct some form of employment screening. Organisations around the world do it because they understand the critical role it plays in protecting against employee-related risk. However, only a small fraction of businesses, around 15 percent, update their background checks by regularly rescreening their employees.
Here’s why this is a big problem. A background check is a “snapshot in time,” meaning it can only show you relevant activity that occurred up until the moment the background check is processed. Literally, the second that background check is completed, an individual with an acceptable or “clean” record can commit a new criminal act or anti-money laundering offence, or file bankruptcy and lose their good credit standing. At that point, the “clean” employee record is no longer clean, and you’ll never know about it unless you perform an updated background check.
Trio of risk factors: time, trust and access
Admittedly, the chance of an employee committing an offence right after passing a background check is low; however, as more time passes, “life happens.” People experience personal issues, develop debilitating addictions and sometimes they make mistakes with big consequences. Put simply, the longer an employee works for an organisation—and the more time that passes since the original pre-hire background check—it becomes more plausible that their background check status may change.
Further, employees who have been with a company for a long time are often trusted, due to their tenure, and as a result, they gain greater access to sensitive or proprietary information. This trio of risk factors—time, trust and access—continually expand the longer an employee works for a business. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, an employee who has worked at a company for 10 years may actually pose a greater risk than someone who’s only been there six months if updated background checks aren’t being performed.
This notion is supported by a 2020 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) report for the Asia Pacific region. According to the report, employees with more than five years at an organisation stole 59 percent more than those who worked at the organisation for less than five years.
Rescreening for brand integrity vs. employee integrity
Just as employee risk evolves over time, so does an organisation’s brand. These things don’t exist separately in a vacuum; instead, they’re intertwined. Knowing that your employees are inextricably tied to public perception of your brand, rescreening your employees at regular intervals—every two or three years—can help strengthen and protect your brand.
“Brand perception can change from day to day, and though it’s not possible to foresee when and where every possible risk could come from, it is important to revisit your reputation regularly,” said Katharine Mobley, Chief Global Marketing Officer for First Advantage, in a recent Forbes article. “…background screening, both during the hiring process and through continued rescreening, is a worthy “insurance policy” that identifies vulnerabilities and helps manage compliance.”
While the brand motivation for employee rescreening is sound, it’s not always that simple. For example, within the Asia Pacific region, workers may sometimes refuse or push back on an updated background check request, claiming it insults their integrity. This pits your brand integrity versus employee integrity. In this situation, brand integrity should always win, with rescreening being used to bridge employee-driven gaps in brand protection.
Instead of positioning rescreening is a ‘requirement,’ try promoting it as part of a broader brand strategy that helps ensure employees are aligned with the same objectives, goals and values as the organisation. After all, employees are a living, breathing extension of your brand, even when they’re not at work. Regular rescreening can serve as a steady, gentle reminder that everyone should be reading from the same brand playbook.
Learn more about the power of rescreening in the white paper, “Rescreening Employees for the Greater Good.” You’ll discover the many benefits of rescreening, including the potential for high-dollar ROI, and get practical insights on what’s involved in a rescreening programme, recommended rescreening frequency and how to get started.