Employee Screening: Top 7 Trends for 2018

Posted: January 04, 2018

2018 is here, and your business needs to understand best practices for employee background checks when looking to expand your workforce. Here are seven top trends we expect to take precedence in 2018. Many of these trends have been growing in popularity over the past few years, while others have only recently emerged.   “Ban the Box” Legislation Will Continue to Expand Currently, around 24 states and 150 cities and counties have adopted ‘Ban the Box’ or similar measures to help applicants with criminal records move past initial hiring stages, according to the National Employment Law Project.  The laws have also  evolved and increased in complexity over the past several years. However, many ordinances still allow employers to consider convictions later in the process, particularly if it that criminal history has implications for the position. In 2017, California enacted The California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) which has finalized the “Consideration of Criminal History in Employment Decisions” regulation. This focuses heavily on “Ban the Box.” “Ban the Box” is also expanding beyond criminal history inquiries and now includes salary inquiries for some states. It is expected that this new type of “Ban the Box” legislation will gain popularity. In 2018, we expect this type of legislation to continue to expand across more states and cities in the United States. The movement is growing quickly, and the stipulations vary by state, city, and county.   Interest in ATS / Background Check Integrations Continue to Increase Applicant Tracking System (ATS)/ background check integrations are changing the world of employee background checks. While these integrations have been around for years, more global companies of all sizes are recognizing how these integrations can improve the candidate experience and lead to better employees. Integrating your ATS platform is a great way to save money, increase visibility and eliminate dual data entry. They can also lead to faster hiring processes, fewer phone calls and emails between decision-makers and candidates, and improved candidate experiences on mobile and desktop devices. When choosing employee background check services, look for a company that offers custom integrations with your existing solutions.   Continuing Complications around Legal Marijuana and Drug Testing California recently voted to make marijuana legal for recreational use, following previous states such as Colorado and Washington. Sooner or later, marijuana may be legal under federal law, as well. However, while marijuana may be legal at home in some states, that doesn’t mean that it’s legal at work. Creating a company policy that offers conditional employment pending a drug test is one way to ensure you hire responsible employees. Additionally, you should educate current employees about possible repercussions for recreational marijuana use. Drug free work place policies, trainings, and informational posters can help deter marijuana use. Expect legal complications and related legislation to expand as more states continue to legalize the substance.   Millennials Continue to Impact Background Check Evolution Millennials have taken over the workplace, and they’re having an impact on traditional workplace procedures—including background checks. Transparency is prized by millennials, so providing it during the employee background check process is important. When working with potential employees, explain what will be performed in the screening process before it happens, and allow for questions and explanations if a negative piece of information arises when the background check is conducted. Additionally, millennials may not rely on credit cards as much as older generations.  Looking at a credit report, as part of the job responsibility, may pose a challenge when screening millennials.   Social Media Screening Will Continue to Increase Including social media as part of employee background checks is a hotly contested issue. Despite that fact, the practice has grown by 500 percent over the past 10 years, according to CareerBuilder.  60 percent of employers using social media to research job candidates in 2016. While it can provide a wealth of information about an individual’s social habits, it can also provide misinformation that steers HR employees down the wrong path. In addition, some states have already passed legislation that prohibits employers from requiring potential or current employees to share their social media information. Researching an employee’s social media profiles can be beneficial, however. If the job applicant works in public relations, marketing, or social media, for example, an evaluation of his/her online presence and knowledge can be invaluable. A candidate’s profile on LinkedIn provides professional recommendations and connections, as well work experience verification. While you should be very cautious when researching potential candidates on social media, researching their LinkedIn profiles is generally a safe bet, while exploring Facebook is probably not a great idea. To avoid making any mistakes with social media background checks, partner with a knowledgeable background check company.   Continuous Screening Will Increase Many companies screen employees one time using pre-employment background checks; however, some organizations are now adopting continuous, post-hire screening. This provides employers with continued peace of mind and helps keep employees on their best behavior. However, it may also make employees feel uneasy or that they can’t be trusted. HR employees must create a clear, well-crafted policy around continuous employee background checks then communicate the policy with honesty and transparency. Other considerations include complying with EEOC regulations to ensure the screening program is not discriminatory, dealing with employee morale and culture issues, and obtaining consent from employees to be continuously screened. Continuous screening requires explicit employee consent. In some states, consent is needed for each screen, while others allow for a more evergreen policy. It’s not clear if an employee can be terminated for a refusal to consent to continuous screening without some explicit employer policy, making the issue more complicated. For this reason, legal counsel should always be consulted before implementing any new screening program. Despite these issues, we expect that the amount of continuous screening will continue to expand in 2018.   Background Checks for “Gig” Workers Will Get More Stringent The “gig economy” has exploded over the past few years—most notably with transportation services such as Uber and Lyft. According to a report from Intuit, 7.6 million people will be part of the on-demand gig economy by 2020, and that slice of the labor market will grow by 18.5 percent per year over the next five years. But recent incidents have occurred that have put such companies in the spotlight for their lax background checks. Because many of the workers in the gig economy aren’t employed full-time, the companies they work for don’t always perform due diligence in terms of pre-employment background checks. Some states have already strengthened background checks of gig economy workers. In August 2016, Massachusetts passed legislation to regulate drivers of “Transportation Network Companies” (TNCs) such as Lyft and Uber by requiring them to undergo a full state Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) background check. However, many other states and companies are lagging behind in addressing these issues. In 2018, we expect more legislation will be passed to regulate such workers.