Every organization that aims to protect itself in the most basic ways is encouraged to perform employee background checks on new hires. That's a given. What is less common is for companies to perform periodic checks on existing employees - a concept that's referred to by some as continuous screening.
It's important for business leaders to understand that background screening shouldn't stop at the beginning of employment. What about that staffer who has served at the company for five years? Ten years? A lot can happen in that length of time.
Yes, the employee has served dutifully and loyally, and hopefully has been properly compensated and commended for their service. But any criminal activity that might have been committed, or credit problems that could have popped up in that time, should be identified and possibly discussed with the employee if needed. After all, certain risk factors (like personal financial problems) can be red flags for fraud.
Business leaders who make the smart choice to implement continuous screening should do the following:
- Gain employee consent. Employees should sign a form consenting to period screening.Be in compliance. Any screening (in the U.S) should conform to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as well as state laws, and outside the U.S., screening must conform to all local regulations and laws.
- Provide guidelines for review. There should be a standard procedure for when "trouble areas" are found. Most issues would not warrant an automatic termination; rather, issues that are serious enough to cause concern should be discussed with the employee; and job roles evaluated for any fraud or criminal risk.
- Let experts conduct the screening. companies that specialize in employee background checks can also conduct continuous screening, and they have access to tools, resources and information that most HR departments don't. In fact, an expert firm might find issues that weren't uncovered in your initial pre-employment screening.
- Communicate the reasons for screening. Every business should be a zero-tolerance setting for fraud or criminal behavior. Continuous screening of all employees reinforces this stance, and demonstrates that all employees are treated equally and are expected to act ethically.