Screen Employees

For many jobs, conducting a background check before hiring is a vital part of the whole employment process. Aside from issues of data clearance and trust & confidentiality, a background check is an important legal safeguard against numerous possible issues in the office. But it isn’t so simple for all employers.

Some companies – or simply some positions – require ongoing and consistent screenings of current employees, to better protect the office, and everyone else’s job there. It’s not a easy process, but more often than not, it’s simply a practical one.

Promotions Or Change in Position

A promotion, or any meaningful change in a position or salary, is a great juncture to screen your employees again. Climbing the ladder means gaining access to sensitive information, along with greater responsibilities. From important details about customers or clients, along with more access to company resources (including the offices themselves), promoting an employee can often result in a whole different kind of employee.

Running another background check on whoever, you’re promoting is a rational act of protection – you’ll be protecting your company’s liability and future the same way you would when hiring the employee for the first time. It’s a small but important step they’ll already understand.

Working With Children

If your job or company involves working with kids at any level, running ongoing background checks is absolutely crucial. This applies to obvious examples like schools and summer camps, but also to broader institutions – from museums to theme parks, theaters and more. Anywhere kids are likely to be present and potentially unsupervised by a guardian is a place where regular screenings of your employees are a no-brainer.

In fact, when it comes to schools specifically, many states require new criminal background checks every 36 months. While that requirement may not be a legal one nationally, or apply to every institution listed above, it’s in place for a reason, and serves as an important example to follow. When it comes to kids, no employer can afford to be anything less than as careful as possible.

Seasonal Staff

Not every company keeps the same workforce year-round. Whether you’re in the business of beachside realty, dining & entertaining, or run a retail business come December – or really any kind of business in-between – seasonal staff might be a cornerstone of your company. In many cases, jobs often employ the same workers from year to year to handle the spikes. While there are many obvious benefits to doing this, don’t make the mistake of only screening your employees once before hiring them back, year after year.

A lot can happen during the off-season, and from an employer’s perspective, there’s no way of knowing exactly what. For liability reasons alone then, re-running a background check on an employee you’ve previously hired is a handy way to close the gap and protect your company.

Note that this advice also extends to seasonal volunteers. Whether they’re paid or not, if they’re representing the company, then it’s important to screen them. You’ll be protected if any issues arise, and so will the paid staff they’re interacting with.

General Guidelines

No matter what the job entails, every two to five years is a great window to use when deciding how often to re-screen employees. When auditing the best practices of most major US companies, two to five years emerges as the preferred time period, and is often mandated in many company policies. When re-screening employees, however, the same laws and guidelines from their initial screenings still apply.

Consent is obviously the most important part of running any background check, and that’s also true when re-running. You are required to let your employees know when you’re screening them. Rules and regulations vary state to state, so make sure you’ve got an expert advising you on what you can or cannot do – this is what PeopleG2 excels at, for instance. Beyond legalities however, it’s a good idea to make all ongoing screening policies uniform, across all departments and certainly across all employees. Running multiple background checks on some staff but not others create confusion at best and well-earned paranoia at worst.

Finally, communication is vital when it comes to any company’s ongoing screening policy. If you’re able to communicate your policy to employees ahead of time, including everything a screening might entail (from criminal to beyond), you’ll be able to create a pro-active environment where employees feel comfortable coming to HR first with any potential issues, instead of waiting for the background check to reveal them.

In Conclusion

While ongoing screenings are important security for any organization, they’re not exactly the most fun part of doing business. By being upfront with company policy, applying it evenly across all departments, and communicating the practical reasons for doing so, you can minimize the unpleasantness, and build trust within the very office that your policy is looking to protect. Just make sure you’re following all the correct guidelines.

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