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January 20th, 2021 | Sterling

How to Create Safer Workplaces with Rescreening

As the Covid-19 vaccine is rolled out and employees return to the workplace over the coming months, creating environments that embody trust and safety should be a vital consideration for organisations across all industry sectors. And with lingering threats such as occupational fraud estimated at £3.2 trillion worldwide, businesses are under increasing pressure to do all they can to mitigate risks. From time to time news stories may crop up shining a light on the negative behaviours of employees which may make you question your own screening processes and whether you’re doing enough. Failure to keep pace with the lives of your staff could seriously impact your organisation’s reputation, culture, and ultimately the bottom line. That’s where a robust screening programme could play a critical role – check out our checklist for the considerations you need.

What is Rescreening?

Rescreening is the process of performing background checks on employees after a certain period of time, during their employment. This may be six months, a year, or even five years. While an initial background check provides you with insight into a candidate’s history at that point in time, rescreening goes beyond this, providing the opportunity to update an individual’s record with any relevant findings that may have occurred during this specified period.

As a result of the pandemic, the BBC reported that there were a record 8.9 million workers furloughed during the middle of 2020. Many of these employees from a range of industries, including but not limited to hospitality and manufacturing, were phased into the workplace albeit for a limited duration and this may continue to be the case when Covid restrictions are eased. In an ideal world, the employer should be able to place full trust in their employees, although with prolonged breaks in employment may come an increased element of risk. Rescreening could be seen as another form of the employer reaffirming their trust and faith in the employees following these times away. A LinkedIn poll carried out by Sterling in June 2020 found that around a quarter of employers intend to rescreen furloughed or laid off employees.

Why Should you Rescreen?

As a responsible employer, you’ll want to ensure your organisation has mitigated the risks to protect and safeguard your people, culture, and reputation. Your workforce is dynamic and so too is the risk they may pose. Throughout an employee’s work life, for even the most trusted of employees, circumstances may change which could lead them down different and sometimes adverse paths. Rescreening puts your organisation one step ahead, and can be invaluable, not just for covering any breaks in employment because of furlough, but for any changes in employment such as a promotion and increased responsibility, in addition to transfers to other departments, secondments or acquisitions.

While the first background check on an individual stands your organisation in good stead, it’s important to keep up with their evolving life. Rescreening can be used as a best practice approach across a range of industries, even outside of the typically regulated sectors – such as healthcare and financial services. Typically, rescreening is also less broad in scope than the initial check and rarely includes verifications like activity and gap, employment or education. This is because it’s unlikely they would have changed since the employee was first hired.

The Impact of Internal Fraud

The impact of a few dishonest employees at an organisation cannot be underestimated. In one high-profile incident involving a cafe chain,  five employees were arrested in connection with a major case of internal fraud. Subsequently, there is far more at risk than the monetary loss to the business. In this case, it took its toll on the shareholders and bottom line, as well as the employees of the organisation that bore the full brunt, resulting in the laying off of over 900 staff. This also sent the share prices of the business into freefall, decreasing a once estimated company valuation of £450 million to a purchase price of £5million. As we wrote back in 2019, internal fraud is seen far too often with 38% of UK businesses experiencing this in some form. This ranks 11% higher than the global average and only surpassed by sub-Saharan Africa at 44%, as reported by the Kroll Annual Global Fraud and Risk Report. While rescreening provides no guarantees you’ll catch these members of staff, it can give you an indication of warning signs or red flags that have occurred during the period of employment, allowing you as the employer to make more informed decisions.

How to Prepare for your Rescreening Programme

Here are just some of the key considerations your organisation can bear in mind before putting a rescreening programme in place:

For existing employees, it may be confusing to find out another background check is required, especially if they have already undergone one before that was successful. To clarify the situation, your organisation can work closely with a trusted screening partner such as Sterling to help ensure your candidates are in the know and that the relevant information is relayed to them. As a first step you may wish to also determine the type of checks needed. For a rescreening programme your main focus will be on the checks that cover activities that occur at any point. This could come in the form of credit enquiriescriminal checks, adverse media, or checking whether the individual has a disbarment from the FCA or disqualification from Companies House. Secondly, consider defining the processes for international checks. When rescreening your existing workforce, you may wish to consider the scope of your rescreening services, perhaps you have candidates that have resided internationally or currently live abroad – this is something to keep in mind.

While the considerations above may only be the tip of the iceberg, our rescreening checklist allows you to dive deeper, helping to create safer environments for your organisation, customers, and partners across the globe.

Download our exclusive checklist.

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.