September 27th, 2019 | Tim Stokes, Head of Sales EMEA, Sterling

How a Background Check Can Support Your ‘Circle of Safety’

Teacher in front of classroom

I recently returned from a family holiday, where I picked up a copy of Simon Sinek’s book ‘Leaders Eat Last‘ at the airport to read while I was away. As I laid on the sun lounger, I opened the book and read the title of the first chapter “Our Need to Feel Safe.” It immediately reminded me of our mission statement here at Sterling:

“Sterling provides the foundation of trust and safety our clients need to create great environments for their most essential resource, people. We believe everyone has the right to feel safe.”

In the opening chapter of the book, the content was directly comparable to why we exist as a business. Here, Sinek discussed the “Circle of Safety” and how a business (and its leaders) have a responsibility to protect its people.

As a population, we tend to take our safety for granted, putting absolute trust in both the people and the business that employs us. Whether it be the healthcare professionals that take care of us at times of need, the teachers that educate and look after our children, the taxi drivers who get us from point A to B, the engineering professionals that design, build and maintain our infrastructure…. The list is endless, but you get the picture.

One of my favourite films that I enjoy watching with my son is the comedy “Mall Cop“, where a bank robber applies for and secures a job as a security guard at a shopping mall only to get on the inside to pull off a heist. Another of my favourite movies is “Catch Me If You Can“, a film where the main character Frank Abagnale Jr. fraudulently worked as a doctor, lawyer and pilot. Unlike “Mall Cop”, this film is based on a real-life story about a criminal who somehow managed to beat the system to secure such prestigious roles. If only these characters had gone through a robust pre-employment screening process.

If I had a pound for every time a company has asked me what background checks they should include in their screening program, I’d be a wealthy man! This is understandable however, as background screening can be a complex thing. So of course, we can (and should) provide best practices and compliance considerations as well as recommendations for new checks that have come to market, although none of this should be at the expense of a customer using their own legal counsel, of course. This may include basic considerations on when performing a criminal record check, right the way through to the compliance specifics around BPSS, BS7858, regulated screening or global screening considerations.

However, it is ultimately the business itself that is responsible for managing its own risk (their ‘circle of safety’). That risk of course may vary depending on the industry that it operates in or the type of role it is recruiting for. Considerations in relation to different checks for specific job roles, seniority, and relevant compliance obligations should all be found within a background screening policy.

When recruiting new talent or pulling in new candidates from an existing talent pool, a business should consider their ‘circle of safety’ and provide a safe and secure environment for both its new hires as well as its existing employees. Your staff have the right to feel safe. We all have the right to feel safe.

If you want to find out more about how you can enhance your ‘Circle of Safety’ with a robust background screening programme, contact us now.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.