A good employer knows that background checks are an important part of the employee screening process. But very few know about the importance of post-employment background checks. While they may not seem like something you should do, they’re actually a vital part of keeping a safe and effective workplace. They reveal any new problems that may arise with your employees and let you deal with them appropriately. They let you deal with new issues proactively instead of waiting for the consequences to spread to the workplace, as they all to often do.
What is the purpose of the pre-employment background check? To check out potential employees, of course. You want to know about any criminal, credit, or other negative history in your hiring candidates. Keeping tabs on them after they’re hired is even more important for a variety of reasons.
It seems unlikely that someone’s background check would change after hiring. But it happens all the time. An employee’s arrest and conviction may never make it back to you if they weren’t in the news and they didn’t spend much time in jail, but as an employer it’s vital to know if it happens. A credit report can change overnight so it needs to be checked as well.
Post-employment background checks may actually be the most important type for a simple reason: recency. Problems in someone’s past may not be an issue. If it happened long ago, the employee has likely been able to move on from it. But a post-employment background check will show what’s happening in the here and now. Present criminal activity and credit problems are far more important than anything that’s happened in the past.
A current credit report can show you if the employee is having trouble with debt now. It can show you what their debts are and the employee’s history of paying them. The reason you should know this is because employees with severe credit problems can be less trustworthy. If they’re in a position where they have access to trade secrets, financial problems means that it’s easier to try to bribe them into corporate espionage. They may also steal if they have access to corporate valuables. The US government routinely revokes security clearances from people who’ve gotten into severe credit problems. While your security screening needs are probably not as extensive as the government’s, it’s still important to look for these issues in your employees.
Of course, your employee’s current criminal records should be examined as well. The same issues that apply to poor credit also apply to an employee who’s had criminal problems. Knowing if an employee’s been arrested or convicted of something while they’re your employee is perhaps the most important piece of information for you to have.
Post-employment background checks aren’t given much thought by most employers. After hiring, it’s assumed that an employee will continue to be an asset and not a liability to the business. In reality, continuing checks of the employee’s records during employment is just as useful as checking them before hiring. Make sure to run background checks and get credit reports on all of your employees at least every few months.