3 Cultural Considerations Before Rolling Out a Continuous Background Screening Program

Senior Director of Marketing

Continuous background screening was recently named as a top employment screening trend for 2019 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Greater numbers of employers are weighing the advantages of conducting post-hire screenings on their workforce. While the benefits of recurring background checks are compelling to employers, successful program adoption also rests on sensitivity around cultural impact.

Before rolling out your continuous background screening program, consider the following cultural implications for your workforce.

Communication of Your Continuous Screening Program to Employees

If you choose to inform your staff that you will start to conduct rechecks, consider that your continuous background screening program’s efficacy can be supported by effective employee communication strategies. Legally, in your FCRA disclosure and in the consent you must obtain, employees will be aware of the re-screening, but if you intend to make a more pointed announcement, employers should consider that long term, valued employees may feel nervous and resistant, particularly if they fear exposure as a result of the criminal recheck. Likely, employers adopting continuous background screening may not be concerned with older offenses that are not relevant to the employee’s responsibilities and job duties.

Work closely with counsel and consider communicating appropriate and relevant items from your recheck program to address your workforce’s potential concerns about the impact of this initiative. For example, just as the presence of criminal history does not necessarily present a bar to hiring, employers may want to reassure employees that depending on the severity and nature of the offense, as long as the employee is forthcoming, termination from employment is not necessarily the only outcome.

Align Continuous Screening with Patient and Staff Safety

Employers may want to re-emphasize that continuous background checks demonstrate that they value the safety of patients and employees; therefore, they are committed to making informed decisions on an ongoing basis. Employers should also consider acknowledging that most employees expect that if their colleague were convicted of a crime while employed, their employer should be aware in order to take appropriate actions. Particularly in healthcare, where vulnerable populations are served, employees want to have confidence that those serving alongside them should remain in those positions.

Relate Continuous Screening to Your Compliance Program

Maintaining a compliance program can be challenging, but healthcare organizations can establish a culture of compliance by instituting “See Something, Say Something” programs whereby employees and department heads can bring compliance concerns to the attention of leadership. Like continuous background screening, the ultimate goal for this type of program should be protecting patients. Therefore, when communicating your continuous background screening initiative to your workforce, consider relating it to your healthcare organization’s overall compliance program. By focusing on the “why” and tying your program to compliance and patient safety, healthcare employers can address concerns and support program adoption. Of course, it is highly recommended that HR and compliance leaders meet to discuss the communication and roll out of the program.

While certainly an important factor in building a continuous screening program, cultural impact is only a small component of the planning process. It’s extremely important for employers to work closely with their legal counsel to craft the most appropriate message to employees. For a more in-depth overview of the key considerations for implementing your program, download our white paper on Continuous Background Screening.