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…
For many organizations, online screening has become central to successful talent acquisition. Shown to identify high-risk behaviors and save some of the world’s biggest brands from the headlines you’ll never see, online screening has become a new frontier of employee risk management. However, it is often an entirely new part of the hiring process, and can introduce significant operational hurdles, especially if your company is hiring at scale.
While it’s possible to integrate online screening into your organization in just a few steps, it can also seem daunting when you’re just starting out. Identifying which behaviors pose a hiring risk and when to take further action on a report can already be challenging. Imagine doing this for every single person in a large enterprise and it becomes clear that when screening in high volumes, maintaining speed and quality can seem nearly impossible.
How do you make sure that gathering and acting on this information doesn’t slow down your hiring process? The key is to help your organization create a digital screening workflow. It is an end-to-end, fully customized set of instructions that has helped countless Fortune 500 companies reduce logistical overhead and increase the quality of hires while screening candidates online.
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…
When it comes to American politics, there is no shortage of commentary about the role of social media. Given the pivotal role that social media played in the 2016 presidential elections, voters today are more aware of the role of social media than ever before, and more engaged when it comes to casting their ballots. Early voting in the 2018 midterms is record-high, and voters are using all tools available to learn about who they are electing.
To bring clarity and transparency to what these candidates are saying online, Fama has analyzed the public social media profiles of candidates in 16 of closest races for governor and senator. Our analysis, totaling 32 political candidates, covers over 236 public social media accounts and nearly 153,000 posts spanning a time period of over 10 years. In particular, we sought to answer a few questions around their online behavior:
‣ Which hashtags, mentions, and words do Democratic & Republican candidates use most?
‣ How many posts do Republican and Democratic candidates have? Governors and senators?
‣ What kinds of positive and questionable behaviors do candidates exhibit on social media?
‣ How often do these candidates post each month, especially as Election Day gets closer?
Here are the candidates we analyzed, and the behaviors we found…
Corporate scandals today are no longer just a PR or communications issue. According to the Aon Global Risk Management Survey, CEOs have ranked brand and reputational damage as the #1 risk to companies for two years running. That means that as companies continue losing top talent, loyal customers, and market share over workplace issues such as sexual harassment or discrimination, bad headlines are now a company issue. To keep their companies protected, HR leaders need to stay ahead of the issues and figure out how to stop high-risk individuals from inflicting damage on the organization.
As HR leaders search for ways to protect the company brand, they’re finding that traditional background checks are missing important information. With the growing amount of job-relevant information online, the cost of culture risks increasing, and the cost of bad hires becoming more measurable, HR leaders and business partners are looking online to learn more. Those who can implement an effective social media screening policy will help their organizations get ahead of a new wave of hiring risk and make a meaningful impact on the company brand.
This post offers a simple two-step method to help you develop an online screening policy in line with your organization’s goals and create a business case internally. Feel free to leverage our resources on the cost of toxic workplace behavior to build your case. From there, all you need to do is work through the exercise below. After doing so, you will be able to frame strategic priorities in terms of hiring risk and build a plan that helps solve your company’s unique challenges.
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?
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…
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…