The pace of change in the human resources world is unrelenting and the digital age has brought a myriad of risk management challenges along with it.
There was a time where reference checking, due diligence on a person’s work history and – in some cases – a ‘gut feeling’ were the only factors that influenced our decisions when it came to new hires. But, in an ever-connected, tech-savvy and super-competitive world, the complexity of the 21st century demands unprecedented levels of scrutiny when recruiting new staff.
Drug and alcohol screening, and police or security checking, of potential and existing staff are increasingly popular and effective methods for minimising risk exposure and due diligence in the workplace. While they are truly effective tools in judging the suitability of a new hire, it’s not uncommon for people to wonder where they should begin.
If you’re a HR manager thinking about adding police checks to your hiring process, and you haven’t done it before, this is what you need to consider:
1. Do you want to control the process internally or are you comfortable with your employees obtaining a police check themselves?
If you decide it’s OK for potential employees to organise a police check for themselves, it’s vital you are satisfied with the integrity of the organisation providing that police check, as well as the accuracy and quality of their information. Take some time to think about whether you give job applicants a list of ‘approved providers’ (for lack of a better description) or whether you direct them to just one source for consistency, accuracy and quality of police checks.
There is some considerable upside to being directly involved in controlling police checks internally within your organisation. It gives you the opportunity to develop a best-practice and efficient relationship with a reputable police checking company, as well as important peace of mind from an integrity perspective. Consider the following important questions when it comes to handling police checks internally:
Do you have the organisational capacity to handle police checks internally? Do you have the administrative capability? Do you have the people to physically key in data?
Engaging the right police check provider – like National Crime Check, for example – can significantly support your administrative processes and perfect a system that fits your current capabilities and/or ambitions for growth. Other benefits to securing a police check partner include drawing on the expertise of a company whose core business is supplying police checks, which means being made aware of factors that may not have even entered your mind, and enjoying the infrastructure and processes that can facilitate your requirements.
2. How do you choose a police check partner?
When it comes to making a decision about a police check partner, you need to look at the provider’s reputation and ensure they’re a good fit for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for references from your potential police check partner to see what their other clients have to say about them. A good police check provider should not be intimidated by any due diligence on your behalf.
Another important thing to consider is the provider’s turnaround times. Some organisations can supply same-day reports as standard. Other organisations require a 24-hour turnaround but can supply same-day reports, if required, for an additional fee. There may also be cost implications depending on the volume of reports you’re getting done, while some providers charge a blanket fee-per-report regardless of how many reports generated.
Be fully aware of a police check provider’s costs structure before making a commitment. Things like subscription fees and cancellation fees are often hidden in contracts. Make sure you ask the provider directly about these fees because, depending on the volume of police checks required, hidden fees can have a huge impact on the overall cost.
3. Who pays for the police checking?
Finally, whether you decide to ask employees to source their own police checks or you choose to handle it in-house, you need to think: who covers the cost? It’s not uncommon for organisations that ask applicants to cover their own costs to reimburse the costs for successful candidates. Other organisations pass the costs of police checks directly to applicants, regardless of whether they get hired or not.
Whichever position you take, clearly communicate your policy to applicants as early in the process as possible. Transparency and consistency plays an important role on the people attracted to your organisation, as it does on the kind of people you will deem worthy of hiring.