The 2014 Employment Screening Benchmark Report from HireRight, revealed an optimistic hiring forecast as 71 percent of respondents indicate their organizations would increase hiring this year. However, the report also identified potential security gaps in the majority of employers’ background screening programs.
HireRight, a provider of employment screening, drug and health testing, and employment eligibility solutions, conducted the benchmarking report which consists of surveys completed by more than 3,000 talent management and security professionals on a broad range of questions related to employment screening.
While the report confirms that most employers conduct background checks, only 32 percent of respondents reported their organizations screened their contingent and extended workforce, which includes temporary or contract workers, volunteers and vendor employees who have access to a company’s facilities, systems, personnel and data.
Contingent workers often represent a significant part of an employer’s workforce, and can include those in critical positions, so failure to screen these workers at the same standard employees are screened can present a substantial risk for organizations, according to HireRight. The lack of a contingent workforce screening program has the potential to lead to workplace violence or fraud and can result in negligence claims. Negligent hiring cases have had verdicts of up to $45 million (as in the case of Solomon vs. Developmental Systems Inc., American Habilitation Services Inc. and The State of Arizona in 2004), and the average negligent hiring lawsuit settlement is nearly $1 million.
Another area where employers can open themselves to risk is in global hiring. Only 15 percent of survey respondents indicated their organizations perform international background checks on individuals who have lived, worked or been educated outside of the United States. The global screening rate increased to 33 percent among organizations with 4,000 employees or more, but the majority are not performing these screens. By conducting global screening, organizations can improve their safety and security, create consistency across their programs, ensure better hiring quality and help protect against negligent hiring.
The study also found only 20 percent of employers conduct recurring screening, where employees are re-screened on a periodic basis. This demonstrates that the majority of employers are leaving themselves vulnerable to new security or liability issues that may crop up over the span of an employee’s tenure. As negligent retention lawsuits are also prevalent in today’s employment environment, re-screening can help reduce an organization’s long-term risk by enabling employers to stay well-informed through the life of the employment relationship.
Increased security, risk mitigation and improved quality of hires are critical benefits of background checks. This is reflected by 88 percent of respondents who reported screening revealed the person in question lied on their resume. Further, 72 percent of respondents indicated running a background check uncovered an issue that would not have been found otherwise. Screening also helps protect employers against security risks and the risk of a bad hire, which can be costly for businesses.
The following are the top benefits of screening reported by respondents:
- Better quality of hires (56 percent)
- More consistent safety and security (52 percent)
- Improved regulatory compliance (48 percent)
- Better company reputation (22 percent)
- Greater employee retention (17 percent)
The full report can be downloaded at www.hireright.com/benchmarking.