How do employers strengthen their employment screening programs to navigate uncertainty, safeguard corporate cultures, and maintain environments of trust and safety? Technology, automation, and identity verification all play essential roles, writes Lou Paglia, president at Sterling, a provider of background and identity services.
As the U.S. continues to face the COVID-19 crisis, specific industries â€“ including healthcare, retail, the gig economy, financial services, and staffing â€“ are experiencing urgent demand as the country battles this pandemic. Also, many companies are considering what hiring may look like post-crisis.
Amid these unprecedented circumstances, HR teams are evaluating their background screening processes and policies to ensure that background checks don’t create bottlenecks in hiring. In this situation, HR and IT teams must help to hire managers, better leverage technology, and clarify the role technology, automation, and identity verification play in creating a culture of trust and safety during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
Leverage a Broader HR Technology Framework to Strengthen Your Screening Program
At the foundation of successful hiring is a smart screening strategy coupled with an effective HR technology platform. In some cases, organizations have already invested in in SaaS-based applicant tracking systems (ATS) and human resource information systems (HRIS). These systems provide the necessary tools for their HR professionals to recruit effectively, screen, and onboard workers in a decentralized and distributed manner. IT organizations already likely hustled to mobilize the company’s workforce to operate remotely and access such tools during this crisis.
Many of our clients have taken steps to leverage the integration capabilities of HRIS platforms to weave elements of their background screening programs, including identity verification, into the broader HR technology suite. This creates efficiencies, helps programs adhere to HR and compliance policies, and keeps business processes consistent.
Taking steps to have a background screening program integrated into an HR technology suite affords organizations the necessary agility to adjust to changing needs and policies. This requires a screening provider that integrates with a variety of ATS and HRIS platforms to adapt to technology changes as needed.
Furthermore, leveraging APIs will provide even greater flexibility to seamlessly connect your screening partner’s technologies with your proprietary HR platforms, allowing for essential processes to continue functioning consistently despite disruptions. Amid the current shift to remote work, these integrations are more critical than ever in safeguarding workflow and optimizing the background screening process.
Automate Background Screening
Due to widespread court closures during the COVID-19 crisis, some companies report that they are unable to fulfill the most basic criminal checks. This is putting critical industries in an untenable position of having to trade the safety of having complete, thorough background checks for timely hiring.
However, the reality is that court closures do not have to be disruptive . Employers do not need to make a tradeoff between urgent hiring and safe hiring with thorough background checks if their screening provider continues to have access to the majority of critical court information.
Background screening experts ultimately control and manage a compliant and thorough background check, but leveraging a screening provider that offers the right technology and automation can provide the necessary access to information and the capabilities to process that information. This combination gives HR professionals the information they need to make smart, informed, and timely hiring decisions without bottlenecks.
Leverage Identity Verification
How do you know that the candidate you are meeting for an interview is who they say they are? While this question is relevant in an increasingly mobile and nomadic world, it is now more pertinent than ever during this pandemic. With remote interviewing, hiring, and onboarding becoming a required practice due to social distancing, HR professionals are looking to adopt identity verification in more significant numbers as a necessary step in the process.
As a result, the need for innovative, state-of-the-art identity authentication and verification solutions has never been greater. There are several elements to look for in your identity partner’s program: a fast, convenient, candidate-driven process, mobility, advanced APIs, and artificial intelligence backed by human review.
These ingredients, when combined effectively, can improve data quality at the start of the screening process, deter bad actors, reduce fraud, create trust, accelerate time to hire, and enhance the candidate experience.
Implement Flexible Technology Platforms for Uncertain Times
Looking ahead, what does a return to standard look like as we return to work? Your company may be bringing workers back from vacation or aggressively hiring to meet returned demand. Your HR team may choose alternate screening methods due to prolonged court closures. Further, what you want to do for one week may change next week. You may wish to turn services on and off and then back on again.
This uncertainty calls for agile technology that can pivot to evolving policies and practices. From an HR technology standpoint, one of the most important lessons to learn from this crisis is that flexible platforms allow you to operate through times of uncertainty.
During any time, and especially in times of uncertainty, companies should always aim high when it comes to strengthening their safety, culture, and reputation â€“ which are all greatly influenced by the people you bring into your organization and the process through which they are hired.
In the end, when it comes to the processes companies adopt to ensure safety in hiring and bringing the workforce back to full productivity, there is no room for cutting corners or accepting compromise. Background screening and identity need to be an integral part of your HR technology strategy as they become even more critical to maintaining the foundation of trust and safety that your company has built for employees, customers, and the broader community.