August 29th, 2023 | Sterling

Boost your compliance confidence: Five top tips for global screening success

With so many workers now able to enjoy some form of hybrid working and others able to carry out their duties remotely, the need for tight screening and vetting has never been greater. As more people are recruited and onboarded remotely, employers may be at greater risk of criminal activity such as employee fraud, unless processes and procedures are updated, that is. As a case in point, recent figures obtained by RSM UK, the leading audit, tax, and consulting services provider, found that there has been a 10% rise in cases of employee fraud, resulting in close to £200m of losses. In this article, we look at all the key points HR teams need to be aware of and offer some tips so that your organisation doesn’t fall prey to this type of criminal activity.

Among the recommendations listed by RSM, one is for companies “to conduct thorough background checks when hiring new staff, including criminal and credit history checks, to identify any previous fraud-related activities as well as ID checks”. And with the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill — a set of reforms aimed at making it easier for businesses and the Government to identify fraud — currently at the report stage with the House of Lords, the onus will firmly be on companies to ensure that they have safeguards in place. If not, they risk big fines if they fail to prevent fraud, money laundering, or any suspected criminal crypto currency activity.

The landscape is clearly becoming more complex as authorities seek to clamp down on fraudulent behaviour. One of the major challenges that organisations face, particularly those with a global footprint, is ensuring that they have controls in place in all the local markets in which they operate, which adds to the complexities involved in screening a workforce compliantly. Employers need to hire or partner with the right people and teams who understand local hiring regulations while also having knowledge on local cultures, languages, and nuances. Due care must be taken to carry out compliant and effective checks in each location, while also maintaining a streamlined, positive candidate experience.

Validating a person’s background and experience, including all the necessary criminal, financial, and employment checks, can be extremely time consuming, which means that as well as having skilled staff or partners, you will also need to rely on and have the right technology at your disposal that allows for quick but compliant screening. In today’s world, that may involve using facial recognition and biometric data to help establish a person’s identity. There are different elements to consider in ensuring that these processes are fit for purpose, so that individuals don’t slip through and onboard with potential risk to the business.

Providing a best-in-class candidate experience
Social media screening is another important avenue that will enable organisations to uncover any red flags in the behaviours and activity of candidates, such as racism or homophobia. But again, this needs to be executed with compliance at the forefront. Candidates, for example, must be notified of any adverse actions while hiring managers must ensure that there isn’t any inherent bias in the process that could discriminate against a person’s “‘protected characteristics”’, such as age or disability.

And in tight labour markets characterised by excess demand and skill shortages prevalent across industries, providing a consistent level of candidate experience globally is imperative. As companies compete to attract and retain talent, having a compliant screening process provides added confidence to the candidate market that the business is committed to the safety of its people and customers. Indeed, we discovered in our “‘Hiring Reimagined’” report that over half (52%) of organisations were considering adding more services to improving their vetting processes as they increasingly recognise this. A majority of candidates also reported that they felt more confident about working with the organisation or pursuing the job based on their background screening experience.

To meet fluctuations in labour demand, organisations are also becoming more reliant on the contingent or “‘gig”’ workforce, often turning to flexible solutions to source the skills they need globally. Indeed, almost two in three (65%) firms we surveyed told us that they would anticipate an increase in their contractor numbers over the next two years. Yet, almost a third (32%) revealed that they only screen “‘traditional”’ full-time or part-time employees, a concerningly high amount, which may expose them to greater risks.

As we’ve discussed, there are many different compliance considerations for HR teams, who are often already facing heavy workloads, to consider in their hiring processes. So how can you best ensure your firm is implementing solutions that are compliant today, keep up with evolving regulations, and do so without increasing your administrative burden?

Compliant global hiring and background screening – our top tips

  1. Evolve hiring processes. The world of work has evolved since the pandemic, so organisations must adapt to the times and continue to be flexible as we move forward. This means anticipating changes, and having the right people and technology in place to ensure that the whole hiring cycle is as efficient, compliant, and thorough as can be, from anywhere in the world.
  2. Enhance screening and background checks. From criminal, financial, and employment checks to social media screening, organisations must leave no stone unturned in the fight against employee fraud and other potential risks. Operating globally does however add to the complexity, but having on-the-ground experts can improve the process for all involved.
  3. Provide a premier experience. The need for a positive candidate experience in both hiring and background screening is crucial. Jobseekers want consistent communication as well as a thorough screening process, which gives them added confidence in the company and role.
  4. Understand the candidate’s mindset. Those organisations that are most successful in attracting and retaining talent are the ones who actively seek out candidate feedback. This not only builds trust and brand reputation with jobseekers, but will also help uncover the necessary changes that will improve processes.  
  5. Partner with an external expert. If you want to optimise your background screening and remain compliant with evolving global regulations, consider outsourcing the service to a background screening provider that has operations around the world, deep regional expertise, local service proficiency, and reliable global fulfillment capabilities.

It’s a difficult time in the global employment market, but it’s also an exciting one. Those firms that tackle screening hurdles now, such as global compliance, will be the ones set up to thrive in the coming years. The new world of work means that hiring strategies can be truly flexible and global.

This article was first published on the HR Director ( )

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.