While the US employment market has seen an explosion in the use of pre-employment criminal background checks over the last 15-20 years, the number of companies using re-screens to manage risk is still relatively small. You may (and should) be looking for criminal records on new hires, but are you overlooking criminal records your current employees may have? It is a common misconception that employers will find out if one of their employees has committed a crime because they would miss work, but that is not always the case.
How Employees Keep their Convictions a Secret
• They are bailed out of jail
• Serving a sentence with work furlough or volunteer hours
• Weekend jail
Since it is not always obvious when a current employee is convicted of a crime, it is beneficial to conduct continuous background screening with an annual background check program. There are several advantages of re-screening current employees, including:
- Maintaining security – Studies show that approximately one in four Americans have some type of criminal record and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American worker stays with an employer for a little over four years. This presents significant risk for companies with tenured employees that may have passed an initial background check but could have picked up a serious record or two since. Because of this, it is useful to conduct an annual background check on current employees to become aware of any new criminal activity. Remember to include substance abuse screening in the updated background check.
- Keeping accurate records – Background checks only include information about an employee’s past. Any current information regarding new records will not be reported to the employer unless requested.
- Brand protection – If an employee is engaging in ongoing criminal activity, this could permanently tarnish an organization’s image. Depending on the severity of the criminal behavior, customers could lose trust in your company. Consider, for instance, the headlines regarding sexual abuse at childcare facilities and church organizations where the criminal activity lasts for years or even decades.
- Compliance – Your local or state government may have specific laws about how often employees in your industry need background checks. For example, people who work with children, such as daycare workers and school employees, may need to undergo background screening more often compared to other industries. Anyone who interacts with children on a daily basis should definitely be subject to annual background screening. In addition, company policies should be regularly evaluated and updated, meaning that employees who have been with the company longer were screened under different criteria than newer employees so it could be beneficial to rescreen veteran employees under the current criteria. Also, be sure to have a company policy that differentiates pre-employment screening and employment screening. Lastly, examine your company’s background check consent form and ensure it includes employment screening. If it does not, obtain a new consent form from the employee specifically for employment screening and consider adding language to your pre-employment screening form that includes future background screening.
Fortunately, criminal record re-screens can be relatively quick and easy compared to a full-blown pre-employment check. Variables like industry, turnover, location, and company size all factor into the process of determining the kind of re-screen program that will best serve your company. True Hire’s background screening experts are here to help you settle on a program that maximizes employee experience and cost-effectiveness without sacrificing quality and accuracy. In addition to selecting the re-screen that’s best for you, True Hire’s web-based tools help you manage the process with automatic reminders and two-click ordering.
You may be confident that your pre-employment background check program is helping to lower your risk by giving you the information you need to make safe, smart hiring decisions, but after a year or more of employment, how confident are you that your risk hasn’t increased?
Making sure you’re conducting regular criminal background checks is a key step in maintaining a safe and welcoming work environment for your employees and customers alike. If you’re unsure whether your current screening program is up to snuff, or if you aren’t conducting re-screens at all, contact True Hire today to review your program with one of our analysts.
Employee Tenure in 2016 News Release. U.S Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. September 22, 2016.