Continuous staff monitoring

Across the background screening industry, demand for post-employment screening is steadily growing, although it still only represents a small part of the overall market. Post-employment screening involves re-running certain background checks on existing employees, looking for changes in their personal circumstances. The employers going down this route are those who now acknowledge that failing to undertake regular re-checks of employees could represent a significant risk to their business.

Pre-employment checks – while incredibly valuable – are nevertheless frozen in a moment in time. At any point after their first day in your organisation, an employee’s circumstances could change, meaning they may subsequently fail to meet the pre-employment screening criteria you had in place when they joined. They may have picked up a criminal record, a County Court Judgement or been declared bankrupt.

They may have accrued points on their driving licence or even been disqualified from driving. But how would you know? They may be dealing with family issues, ill-health, addiction, debt or suffering a marriage breakdown; highly personal issues which may put them under pressure and lead them to act inappropriately.

The employee who sailed through pre-employment screening now represents a very real threat to the health of your business. But again, without any ongoing monitoring, how would you know? That’s why it’s worth revisiting those checks which may reveal new information, such as credit, criminal, driving licence or social media checks.

Stripping away some of the more sinister reasons, an extra layer of top-up screening may simply be required when an existing employee moves into a new role or is promoted (although there’s an argument for saying that this is technically pre-employment screening being run all over again – but with an internal recruit moving into a new job).

In a regulated industry such as Financial Services, such a move may bring an employee within the remit of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime for example, making the additional screening a statutory requirement. However, without a regulatory prompt like this, many businesses appear to remain sceptical about the value of post-employment screening.

The reasons for this vary. In some companies, once the employer feels comfortable enough to hire someone, their ability to do their job effectively is the only ongoing concern that seems to matter. And in larger companies in particular, continued monitoring can seem like too big an undertaking to consider. Here, the occasional rogue employee is simply lost in the crowd.

Post-employment screening involves re-running certain background checks on existing employees, looking for changes in their personal circumstances

In both cases, businesses seem happy to accept the risk of not monitoring their workforce on an ongoing basis in return for avoiding the cost of running a post-employment screening programme. That’s a brave stance.

Within the regulated industries, the frequency with which re-screening must be undertaken is mandated by law. In other industries, businesses should aim for whatever frequency they feel most comfortable with, focusing on the checks that are either required or most valuable. But they really should be doing something. The risks posed by an unsuitable employee who’s already within the workforce are too significant to gloss over.