As we discussed last week in CWS 3.0, there are a lot of moving parts to consider when developing and deploying background check policies and procedures for a CW program. Programs stand to derive significant value from a well-run background check policy, but those policies need to be carefully considered to ensure the right CW talent roles within the program are subject to the right treatment.

There are various regulations and contractual obligations to consider as well as how the policy will affect the timely delivery of CW talent resources, which is a critical measurement of any CW program’s overall value proposition and effectiveness.

Here, we discuss six core management best practices to consider when developing and conducting background check policies.

Legally required. In some locations and for certain types of positions, a background check may be legally required. An example of this would be federally insured financial institutions. There are specific statutes that prohibit financial institutions from engaging/employing individuals convicted of a criminal offense involving dishonesty or breach of trust. Entities that still want to  engage or hire an individual with a covered criminal offense can seek a waiver from applicable governing institutions such as the FDIC.

Staying compliant. Laws, regulations and statutes governing background checks are frequently changing, so it is a good best practice to review your policies on a recurring basis to ensure the checks you are requiring are in compliance. Rather than establish a policy blindly, be prepared to discuss and analyze any risk of your contractual requirements with counsel; be sure to include your staffing providers as well, as they are also at risk if the policy is out of compliance.

Specific risks. In each worker engagement, there are specific risks that arise when engaging specific workers for particular job roles. Not all jobs even require background checks, and not all jobs require the same level of background check. A CW program needs to identify what types of background elements or criminal activity would give rise to concerns about those types of identified risks. The core idea is to apply an appropriate and effective background check that addresses specific risks you are trying to mitigate and/or avoid. Your program’s insurance company can provide helpful advice in this policy development and might also ensure that appropriate insurance coverage, along with a background check policy, is a factor in mitigating the risk exposure with the CW talent/workers population in question.

Periodic review. Similar to a CW program’s standard performance metric portfolio of service-level agreements and key performance indicators, background check policies should be continuously reviewed for regulation compliance and for overall effectiveness. Circumstances constantly change and background check policy execution comes with a cost and takes time to deliver. Does that background check policy designed and executed five years ago still deliver the risk mitigation required, or is it no longer required? Test the risk mitigation value being delivered by the background check and whether it matches the time taken to delivery and the cost incurred during a specific sourcing management process. As in any impactful periodic review, focus special consideration on high-cost background checks and ones that take the most time to execute, but always address the risky background checks and determine whether the mitigation they provide is worth that risk exposure.

Routine self-audits. Statistical self-audits should be part of any overall review of background check policies. At the end of the day, any significant impact on a particular gender, race or other protected groups creates a risk of legal exposure and will need to be addressed by appropriate organizational management/counsel.

Leverage technology. It’s one thing to keep up with the ever-changing legal and procedural considerations in your background check program and policies. It’s another to try to manage manually all the background check transactions taking place in a CW program and gain effectiveness analysis and visibility. It’s just getting tougher and uncompetitive to track and analyze background check compliance activity with an old, manual management methodology/approach. So make sure you leverage technology to execute and manage the background check strategy and program.

Just executing the appropriate and effective background checks efficiently takes long enough. Programs need to leverage management-enabling technology that integrates the background-check step into the talent engagement process and technologies (VMS, ATS, etc.). Of course, AI and recruitment process automation technologies are also emerging and executing components of background check transactions, but equally important is how the ongoing background check execution management and effectiveness and compliance analysis are performed. Optimizing the correct competitive balance of risk mitigation and engagement velocity is found in the management and transaction data of your background check execution.

Background checks are discussed in more detail in SIA’s Certified Contingent Workforce Professional (CCWP) Program. For more information, go here.