As many organizations' workforces become more global, new challenges arise in maintaining effective and compliant employment background screening programs.
Organisations that expand their operations overseas, or employ staff who have lived, studied or worked abroad, must ensure that they adapt their background screening policies to address this global workforce, or they may face security and compliance risks.
As the HireRight Employment Screening Benchmark 2011 report shows, some of the risks and challenges of global background screening include different international regulations on employment background screening and cultural and social differences in the recruitment process.
These challenges can make it difficult for employers to verify identity, criminal history, educational and other background checks, common practices for American workers.
To help reduce the risk of poor international hiring decisions and noncompliance, organizations should evaluate and update their background screening programs to include multi-country background checks. Here are five best practices for successful global background screening policies.
1. Outline the existing background screening process
Whether you have 1 or 100 employees with an international background, research how human resources currently handles background screening for these people. If your organization has any offices overseas or uses contractors, list the location of each office and all foreign countries where workers in those locations may have previously lived, studied or worked.
Check with the management team for any plans -- such as outsourcing or international expansion -- that might affect the global background check policy. This information will help your organization develop its future global background screening policy.
2. Check each country's employment screening regulations
For each country where the worker has a personal, work, and educational history, find out if there are existing regulations on background screening. Failure to meet a country's regulations may cause your organization to be non-compliant in that country or allow your organization to claim that your background screening process is discriminatory or other claims made by workers.
To better understand foreign regulations, many organizations seek the help of local experts in each country by hiring local legal counsel or contacting members of foreign consulates.
3. Consider culture
Navigating differences in cultural and social norms is another important reason to hire local experts to develop employment screening policies. Although your global background screening policy may comply with the regulations of a particular country, this does not ensure that the policy is appropriate or within the normal range for the employee itself.
Processes like calling previous employers to verify a worker's history may seem normal for workers in the United States, but can be unsettling for workers from different cultures. To help ensure a better applicant experience, educate new hires about employment screening policies, what background checks they can expect, and why.
4. Develop consistent employment background screening policies
According to the HireRight Employment Screening Benchmark report, 75 per cent of employers around the world conduct background checks on new employees, but only 16 per cent screen new non-employees or temporary workers.
This opens a huge gap for workers with a history of negligent or criminal behavior, or without proper education, licensing and certification, to slip through the background screening process without noticing. When creating a global background filtering policy, you are advised to keep the policy consistent between employees and non-employees.
5. Introduce and implement employment background screening policies
Employers may turn to background screening providers to better integrate the new global checks into their existing screening programs. This can help human resources personnel make the transition to new global policies easier. To help ensure that global screening policies are properly implemented, hold meetings with members of the employment screening team to educate them about the risks of not screening international workers.
If your organization currently employs international employees, or plans to do so in the future, then you should consider a global screening policy to better mitigate recruitment risks.