In the age of social media, anyone can be a journalist. In a recent article about bad employee behaviors gone viral, Erik Deutsch of the LA-based ExcelPR group said that the ability to post anything in real time and make it accessible to the entire world has forced companies to rethink risk management. “If someone was mistreated in a store 15 years ago, they might make a scene and tell their friends, and that would be it,” he says. “Now, they post it online and it can become a sensation.”
As this year’s headlines around workplace harassment, bigotry, and violence suggest, individual departments are struggling to mitigate people-based risk on their own. HR is overwhelmed with paperwork. PR is scrambling to react quickly enough to control the narrative when bad news breaks. Security teams are often ill-prepared to handle allegations that boil down to “he said, she said” disputes. IT is asked to manage a growing set of channels not necessarily optimized for security. The new reality of people risk is exposing major cracks in traditional organizational structures. Unless companies adopt new approaches to people risk management (PRM), it will be increasingly difficult to stay ahead of potential threats.
So what’s on the horizon for people risk management? Moving forward, we will see significant shifts in structure, process, and technology to promote deeper collaboration between HR, risk, digital communications, and IT. While organizations will take a variety of approaches to mitigate these new threats, we predict three general trends…
In July 2018, Uber announced that it would begin conducting continuous background checks on their drivers. Although the company has had a difficult history when it comes to culture issues and passenger safety, this particular decision moved Uber ahead of the curve. It showed they understood that whether caused by executives, employees, or independent contractors, enterprise risk stems from individuals whose behaviors can change over time—and that after years of negative press and internal shocks, they were finally doing something about it.
Like Uber, many companies today are starting to recognize the limits of traditional background checks and looking to recurring, real-time screening solutions to manage employee risk. Nearly half of employers today are scrambling for ways to identify high risk behaviors in their employees, but according to the Society for Human Resource Management, only 11 percent of companies formally screen past the initial hire. This means that nearly 9 in 10 companies are depending on pre-hire background checks to keep their organizations out of the headlines.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how enterprise risk has changed in the last decade and highlight why companies today must extend their screening practices beyond the initial hire.
Earlier this year, The Washington Post announced that the Virginia criminal database has been missing over 750,000 cases, including over 300 murder convictions, 1,300 rape convictions, and 4,600 convictions for felony assault. That means that over the last decade, thousands of firearm purchases, new hires, and crime scene investigations were completed without this information. The story raised hairs about how the background check process breaks down and left us wondering how so many records are falling through the cracks.
This incident reveals a larger point about the broken nature of our systems and processes for vetting—and as rates of bigotry, violence, and other high-risk behaviors grow to record highs, businesses are some of the ones paying the biggest price. Why are companies having a harder time screening and vetting people today, and what can they do to stay ahead of the risks?
In this blog, we’ll discuss the why the current system of background checks is broken, how makeshift methods can expose your company to legal risks, and how automated online screening helps fills the gaps for a more complete and effective investigation.
Each year, the Oxford English Dictionary selects a Word of the Year based on its ability to reflect the ethos of that year and its potential as a term of lasting cultural significance. Though previous words, such as “selfie” and “post-truth,” have revolved around politics or pop culture, the Word of the Year for 2018 could not be more relevant to business. After narrowing all of 2018 down to a few phrases and going through rounds of debate, Oxford has chosen a word that speaks to what we’ve gone through this last year and, more importantly, where we need to go. The Word of the Year 2018 is toxic.
With one word, Oxford called out the elephant in the room: toxic behavior has infiltrated the business world. Though initially used to describe the substances and waste generated by mass industry, more and more people in the world today use ‘toxic’ to describe workplace afflictions. As people in 2018 demanded safe and welcoming workplaces, denounced company leaders for enabling harassment, and took to protest in the Google walkouts, the world became awake to toxic work environments, toxic masculinity, and toxic culture. Regardless of fault, corporations have become a focal point of harmful behavior, and people are tired of it.
According to the Gallup 2018 Global Emotions Report, fewer and fewer people today are well-rested, respected, or finding enjoyment in daily life. Instead, they’re reporting record-high levels of worry, sadness, stress, and anger. As headline after headline hits businesses for the decisions they’ve made or the cultures they’ve enabled to fester, it’s important to recognize the financial and reputational costs of bad business. But to avoid future financial and reputational fallout, business leaders need to recognize the sheer anger emerging from consumers and workers, and the ways they communicate this through turnover, legal actions, and protest…
The walkout against sexual harassment at Google last Friday turned heads. Following an investigation by the New York Times revealing that Android co-founder Andy Rubin was paid a $90 million exit package after being credibly accused of sexual misconduct, employees walked out across Google’s global offices. The world watched as over 20,000 Googlers demanded better reporting, greater transparency, and the end of forced arbitration around sexual harassment. Their actions carried such weight in the broader conversation that some have called this a “new kind of activism.”
Sexual misconduct has been previously exposed at large and powerful Silicon Valley firms, so what made this event so unprecedented? As a company, Google represents the pinnacle of corporate culture, offering everything from gourmet cafeterias to free time for side projects. So when more than 20 percent of Google’s workforce walked out in protest, they exposed a glaring gap in the company’s culture and shed light on its consequences. While backlash to harassment has often come in the form of lost revenue or negative press, the Google walkouts showed that employers who fail to engage cultural issues don’t just risk customer attrition or litigation. They risk losing large swaths of top talent, even if they’re Google…
Attracting and retaining talent is hard work. For years, employers have tried to understand what helps companies attract and retain top performers. For the most part, they've found that companies with great financial outcomes almost always have happy employees. The research even shows that it's employee satisfaction that results in good performance, not the other way around.
However, this phenomenon has led many companies to confuse the difference between culture and perks. In an attempt to please and attract high level talent, companies are spending more money than ever on perks and benefits believing this to be the key to happiness. Though the increase in company amenities, trips, and material rewards can temporarily boost employee satisfaction, it does little to address any real underlying issues that could be destroying your culture.
If your company offers great amenities but is experiencing low performance or high turnover, then you need to ask why it’s happening. Is it because you need to allocate more of your budget towards perks and benefits, or because your culture has a toxic behavior problem that you need to confront?
Looking to figure out who’s who in your sea of applicants? If you’re using search engines or social media, you are in good company.
Today, over 70% of employers are manually screening applicants. In other words, over 13,000 large U.S. businesses and 4.2 million small and medium enterprises are searching candidates online, but few have considered the costs. How much will it cost to screen all these candidates by hand? How do you make sure each profile matches the individual in question, and how do you make sure you don’t miss the critical detail that makes all the difference? Manual screening can lead employers to spending thousands of dollars on research, only to misidentify a critical profile or make a costly oversight.
Beyond being a financial and logistical burden, manual screening can also land your business in legal hot water. To ensure full compliance, companies need to adopt a set of best practices for online screening that includes involving the candidate in the hiring process, avoiding protected classes of information, and making principled hiring decisions. If not, they risk getting caught in a storm of mass employment lawsuits. Manual online screening has grown by over 500 percent over the last 12 years. Along with it, FCRA litigations have quadrupled, growing over 400 percent without a decrease in over eight years.
As both toxic employee behavior and employment lawsuits continue to trend upward, applicants are not only wreaking havoc once they get into a company—they are now so highly attuned to non-compliance practices that some will submit defective applications for the sole purpose of litigation before they ever walk into an interview. When it comes to pre-employment screening, companies must find a way to screen at high volumes with rigid compliance or face the consequences…
Just how costly is a bad hire? It depends on who you ask. If you were to Google “cost of a bad hire,” you’d find percentages, arguments, and even calculators promising to show you the “true cost of a bad hire” while offering little insight beyond the fact that they cost more than the worker's salary and turnover. As a result, the discussion on the direct and indirect costs of bad hires has become somewhat obscured. Some sources cite the “astronomical costs” of an unfortunate appointment while offering few measurable impacts, while others claim that a bad hire costs $240,000 while citing outdated and unavailable sources.
None of these sources tell you how often you’re making a bad hire, making it hard to know how these figures apply to your company. They often don’t tell you how the calculations are made or where the numbers come from, making it impossible to say whether the issue is of genuine business concern. When it comes down to it, they offer vague ideas about how to definitively avoid paying the costs of a bad hire. All of this has led HR to rely on "hope for the best" approaches to personnel management, with no clear insight into their hiring risk or effective actions they can take to manage it.
How much are toxic hires costing your organization? Relative to hiring a standard, non-toxic worker, a single toxic employee on a team of 20 will cost $25,600 per year due to increased voluntary turnover and absenteeism alone. This means that a company of 1,000 employees is losing at least $1.2 million to toxic workers each year…
What are the costs of sexual harassment?
Companies have long known that sexual harassment can lead to costly lawsuits. But since the explosion of #MeToo and the fall of Harvey Weinstein, the costs of misconduct have grown. Today, harassment is no longer just a cultural or legal issue, but a financial and brand issue that reaches every corner of the company. That means that no matter how good your training and reporting may be, they’re no longer enough.
Story after story has shown that when a brand loses authenticity over sexual harassment, they also risk losing their hard-won earnings. Uber has lost nearly 15% of its market share over the two years of its harassment scandals. After it was announced that Steve Wynn had received multiple allegations of sexual harassment, Wynn Resorts lost $3.5B in company value.
Your company should be armed and prepared to deal with toxic behavior as well as the brand damage that results when people hear about it. Companies are owning up to faults and taking action faster than ever when CEOs misuse their power. If you turn a blind eye to identifying and preventing toxic behavior, you’re risking more than legal fees and turnover—you risk irreparable damage to your market share, merger outcomes, and your name…