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Enterprise Risk Is Changing: The Case for Continuous Screening

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Enterprise Risk Is Changing: The Case for Continuous Screening

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.

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Why Automated Online Screening Is the Future of Background Checks

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Why Automated Online Screening Is the Future of Background Checks

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.

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Screening Your Candidates' Online Content? Don't Miss This Detail

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Screening Your Candidates' Online Content? Don't Miss This Detail

Online content is powerful. From social media to personal blogs, the internet has become one of the largest platforms for people to express themselves. With more and more information being created each day, our online profiles often show more about who we are than we ever share in person.

Companies have recognized the value of this information when determining how well a current or prospective employee will further their mission and values, but there are often more questions than answers around online screening.

When you discover questionable content, what should you do? What are the steps to take when you see something that might be problematic for a particular role?

While every business has unique policies to follow based on state and local regulations, nearly all companies can adopt a few common principles to help ensure compliance within a complex legal landscape. The key to enacting any adverse decision when screening is to focus on the requirements of the job—and to base decisions on the candidate’s overall profile, not individual pieces of content…

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Stop Googling Your Candidates: Why Manual Screening Costs Companies Millions

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Stop Googling Your Candidates: Why Manual Screening Costs Companies Millions

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…

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Toxic Hires Cost Your Enterprise Over $1.2 Million Per Year (and Other Stats You Might Not Know)

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Toxic Hires Cost Your Enterprise Over $1.2 Million Per Year (and Other Stats You Might Not Know)

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…

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Hollywood's Billion Dollar Social Media Problem

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Hollywood's Billion Dollar Social Media Problem

TV and film studios are scrambling for ways to protect themselves from the controversy and expense of a social media scandal, without having to actually read through thousands of old tweets. The proliferation of digital content has outpaced the industry’s tools for staying on top of it all, leaving companies wondering what to do—and who will be next.

With Roseanne's scandal costing over $60 million in lost ad revenue and Gunn being just the latest star to run into financial and reputational losses over online content, it has become clear that Hollywood has deeply entrenched issues when it comes to screening and managing stars for reputational risk online. At this rate, the industry is slated to lose over $1 billion in the next year over social media issues alone.

Shouldn’t companies be able to mitigate risk up front, before another high-profile social media or sexual harassment scandal arises…?

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20 Years Ago, Harassment Training Was Revolutionary. Here's Why It’s Not Anymore

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20 Years Ago, Harassment Training Was Revolutionary. Here's Why It’s Not Anymore

More and more Americans have grown to consider sexual harassment a problem in the last 20 years. In 1998, 53 percent of adults surveyed by Gallup said that people were too sensitive about sexual harassment. But something has turned in the last two decades: in 2017, 59 percent of adults now say that people are not sensitive enough. The general public is expecting more from businesses than ever when it comes to creating a safe, inclusive work environment. So how is sexual harassment in the workplace still so widespread?

In 1998, the Supreme Court determined that for a company to avoid liability in a sexual harassment case, it had to show its employees were trained and given a way to report offenses. At the time, this ruling was revolutionary. In response to the new federal code, companies across the U.S. adopted training seminars and videos, understanding that any company that shrugged off sexual harassment would now pay a steep price. Companies tracked attendance at trainings, clicked through a PowerPoint, and collected signatures on the employee handbook, and this was unprecedented.

But in recent years, trainings have reinforced gender stereotypes, received more backlash when delivered by women, and failed to promote accountability unless done by a supervisor. Women and minorities who support diversity have even been found to be penalized in performance reviews. If everyone believes training and reporting are integral to corporate culture, then why aren’t they working—and how are businesses expected to meet the standard today?

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Sexual Harassment: An Inflection Point

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Sexual Harassment: An Inflection Point

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the veil has been lifted on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workplace and the numbers are staggering. Millions of men and women have finally been empowered by the #MeToo movement to come forward and tell their stories of being harassed. In fact, 1 in 3 women reported that they have experienced some form of sexual harassment while at work. Unfortunately, this problem isn't limited to a few bad actors either. About 20 to 25 percent of men self-reported participating in sexually coercive behavior, ranging from forced sex to verbal manipulation like guilt-tripping a woman into having sex.

Given the immense breadth of harassment claims that have emerged, it doesn’t seem that there are large enterprises in any industry that can credibly claim that harassment is not an issue they face in their workplace.

That being said, we have begun to learn a lot about the types of companies that are less susceptible to workplace sexual harassment. Organizations with more women in leadership roles, executive buy-in on anti-harassment efforts, and consistent enforcement of corporate policies have proven track records of being less likely to experience workplace harassment (EEOC). Unfortunately, even with all of these efforts, moving the needle on these fronts can still be quite challenging.

This moment has the potential to be a major inflection point in the effort to stop sexual harassment in the workplace. However, if we fail to truly understand the scope of the problem before us, the moment will slip through our fingers. We believe that leaders in technology, law, politics, and HR need to come together to find solutions that speak to the underlying foundations of this problem. Major victories have been won in rooting out some of the worst of the worst but our work is just beginning.

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Fama helps identify harassment at the source and notifies HR professionals immediately to risky behavior. Fama’s web based solution leverages AI technology to identify potential threats before they enter your organization. Call us to learn more.

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5 Ways Social Media Behavior Can Create Security Risks

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5 Ways Social Media Behavior Can Create Security Risks

There is increasing awareness among security experts about how social media behaviors can open the door for insider and outsider threats. However, other than an employee posting a direct threat online, it can sometimes be difficult to know what to look for.

When attackers want to penetrate an organization’s security, they look for vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities may be technical in nature but oftentimes employees themselves can be the weakest links in a security system. The content that employees post on social media can give would-be attackers clues as to who in the organization might be susceptible. At Fama, we’ve worked with numerous organizations to help them interpret potential risk indicators on social media.

5 examples of social media posts that have left organizations vulnerable to an attack:

1. Complaining about security protocols – We’ve even seen employees complain online about security measures and even state that they don’t plan on abiding by those measures. In one instance, a government contractor had a policy prohibiting employees from bringing company phones to work. One employee complained on Facebook about the “absurdity” of the rule and joked about not following it. By posting these comments publicly, the employee not only encouraged others to ignore the protocols, but also advertises to potential outside attackers that his phone is a potential path into the organization. 

2. Bullying or harassing others online – We unfortunately see public bullying of co-workers on social media. This behavior is obviously unacceptable and hurtful in its own right but it also indicates to outside attackers someone who is potentially hurt, angry or resentful and would have a reason to lash out against the company.

3. Financial desperation – Financial debt is the second leading cause of insiders turning rogue[1]. An employee talking about student loan debt but not be a problem but when an individual starts talking about financial problems with emotional desperation it is an indicator that they may be willing to do something extreme.

4. Badmouthing the corporation – While most insider threats are motivated by financial gain, employees who are happy with their jobs and their companies are less likely to take such an extreme step. An employee who talks about hating their job, hating their boss, or calling their company “evil”, is more likely to rationalize self-serving behaviors.

5. Revealing sensitive client information – Revealing privileged information is a problem that you need to know about. When someone seems to talk too freely about clients or corporate IP, even if it’s not a direct privacy breach, it is an indicator that this person is likely to share information that he probably shouldn’t.

Make sure that your organization has clear policies for what is acceptable for your employees to post online. Have process in place to ensure that those policies are being followed because a policy with no enforcement might as well not exist. Finally, make sure you have options for how to act in the event a policy was violated whether it be further training, restrictions, or more serious action steps. We'd love to tell you more about how Fama can work with you to identify these kinds of risks at your organization.

Contact us at [email protected] if you’d like to learn more.

[1] “Insider Threats and the Need for Fast and Directed Response,” SANS Institute, 2016.

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