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Embracing Continuous Background Checks on Employees

September 18, 2018

Inadequate due diligence and negligent hiring practices not only can hurt an organization, but its customers, too. Indeed, poor hiring has contributed to a rise of lawsuits, medical claims and multimillion-dollar settlements.

background checks
CCIG’s T. Scott Kennedy

No wonder we’re seeing what some are calling a new normal: continuous, post-hire monitoring.

As a risk-management tactic, ongoing criminal background checks make good sense, especially at a time when unemployment is at historic lows and employers have been desperate to find labor.

Simply stated, continuous screening involves periodic background checks on existing employees to identify criminal cases that can occur after a worker was hired.

Manufacturers and retailers have begun to do this, along with employers in the healthcare and financial services industries.

The point, of course, is to help companies spot an arrest, a lawsuit or alarming financial behavior – all of which can be warning signs and which many companies miss because they don’t screen current employees or only rescreen periodically.

The number of companies constantly monitoring employees isn’t known, but the screening industry itself has seen explosive growth. Membership in the National Association of Professional Background Screeners more than quadrupled to 917 last year from 195 members when it was formed in 2003.

Perhaps most famously, Uber earlier this year announced it would boost the background checks conducted on its drivers to ensure they “continue to meet our standards on an ongoing basis.”

To accomplish that, Uber said it would rerun criminal background checks and motor vehicle checks each year. Uber will use the latest screening technology so that it receives notifications when drivers are involved in an offense such as drunken driving.

Thanks to those tech advances, continuous, automated risk monitoring can be done in real time, with screening firms able nowadays to scour thousands of data sources at costs that might have been prohibitive a few years ago.

New, improved screening technology, however, doesn’t mean employers can forget about some of the basics.

Job application forms should make it clear that any material falsehood or omission from the applicant can result in termination no matter when it is discovered.

Also, employee handbooks should include language on what will happen if the employer discovers falsehoods or omissions post-hire.

Continuous screening does carry some risk for the employer.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission expects employers to comply with its rules on the fair and proper use of criminal records to ensure their screening programs are not discriminatory.

T. Scott Kennedy, president and COO of CCIG, has more than 30 years of insurance and risk management experience.

CCIG is a Denver-area insurance broker with the full-service capabilities of a national brokerage. We do more than make sure you have the right business or personal insurance policy. We help you manage your long-term cost of risk with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.

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