How Background Checks Protect Employees, Customers, and Businesses

We often say that a solid employee screening program will help protect employees, customers, and the business itself.

Today, let's discuss exactly how certain types of background checks accomplish this.

Education & License Verifications Can Weed Out Dangerous Con Artists

Did you ever see the movie Catch Me If You Can starring Leonard DiCaprio? It was based on the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr, a famous con artist who posed as a pilot, lawyer, and medical doctor during his life of crime (he now consults for the FBI about check fraud, which was his specialty).

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to "get" everything that could possibly go wrong if someone poses as a pilot or doctor—and the disastrous outcomes (like loss of life) that could occur. And all because someone didn't bother to verify the details of Abagnale's fake resume, like graduation from medical school and actual licensure. (He used a fake name. That would have been discovered during the verifications check, too.)

Licenses are required for a reason (mainly to ensure the person has the requisite expertise and skills that they claim to have). And, sure—most candidates are likely telling the truth regarding their licensures and certifications.

As the employer, however, it's your responsibility to weed out the ones who are lying. If not, prepare for the consequences, such as lawsuits, brand damage, and costly settlements (like Walgreens recently faced after it employed an unlicensed pharmacist for over a decade).

Effective Alcohol & Drug Testing Programs DO Create Productive, Safer, and Happier Workforces

The stats concerning substance abuse in the workplace are troubling:

  • People with substance use disorders miss nearly 50% more work than their peers. This can equal up to six weeks annually. And, of course, absenteeism leads to decreased productivity. (Source: National Safety Council)
  • Alcohol and drug users also use three times as many sick days, are more likely to injure themselves or someone else, and are five times more likely to file a workers compensation claim (Source: Very Well Mind)
  • "The annual cost of untreated substance use disorder ranges from $2,600 per employee in agriculture to more than $13,000 per employee in information and communications." (Source: National Safety Council)
  • Substance abuse disorders cost the U.S. economy $400 billion dollars each year in crime, health, and lost productivity. (Source: U.S. Surgeon General [opens PDF])

None of these stats are likely surprising, and they're just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Plenty of other issues bubble up when people abuse drugs on the job: low workplace morale, poor decision-making, higher turnover (and the costs involved with replacing workers)—the list is seemingly endless.

It's easy to think that simply implementing an alcohol and drug testing program would be enough, but here's the thing: in order for a program to be truly effective—meaning it acts as a deterrent, helps flag issues before they escalate, and has options for recovery—you need a program that's well thought out, compassionate yet fair, and is 100% compliant with applicable laws.

That's almost impossible for an organization to do on its own, which is why working with a respected drug testing partner is a wise investment.

Unfortunately, too many companies decide to forgo drug testing altogether due to the fact it can be challenging to create and maintain a quality program—and because they don't want to lose good employees who test positive. But this head-in-the-sand approach isn't a smart strategy.

Yes, substance use in the workplace can create dangerous and costly situations for employees, customers, and the business itself, as noted above. But having a sound drug-testing policy with a fair, compassionate, and truly helpful plan for those testing positive can actually benefit everyone in the long run.

Consider these three points:

  • The Chicago Tribune reports, "It's in an employer's interest to be proactive. Employees are more likely to undergo treatment if it is initiated by an employer, and those in recovery become better workers . . . Each employee who recovers from a substance abuse disorder saves a company more than $3,200 a year."
  • The National Safety Council says, "Workers in recovery have lower turnover rates and are less likely to miss work days, less likely to be hospitalized and have fewer doctor visits." As such, the National Safety Council recommends that companies "enact strong company drug policies."
  • Very Well Mind shares this important note: "When the issue of workplace substance abuse is addressed by establishing comprehensive programs, it is a 'win-win' situation for both employers and employees, according to the U.S. Department of Labor."

Again, to do it right, don't go it alone. Good Egg is well-versed in all aspects of drug and alcohol testing. Let us help. In the meantime, you can access our free resource: The Ultimate Guide to Workplace Drug Testing.

MVR Checks Help Create Safer Roads

Reckless drivers are a danger to themselves, their passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, and property. Accidents can result in costly hospital bills, skyrocketing insurance premiums, legal fees, and brand damage. (Not to mention the sadness and grief that results from serious injury or loss of life.)

We've made this point in numerous articles and guides, but it's worth repeating here: you likely have more people driving on behalf of your company than you realize. As a result, their driving history matters!

For this pool of employees who drive either a company-owned or a personal vehicle during work hours with some regularity, you should conduct a pre-employment MVR check and seriously consider ongoing MVR monitoring. The latter keeps tabs on a go-forward basis. So if someone who drives on behalf of your company passes an initial MVR check, but gets a DUI three months later, you'll know and can take proper action.

Social Media Background Screenings Offer an Important Reality Check

If there's one thing we've all learned in the last couple years (and the last several months in particular), it's this: how you act online matters. Racist, violent, and intolerant tweets and Facebook posts won't be tolerated by consumers, employees, or businesses—nor should they be.

So, if you unknowingly hire a person with a history of making incendiary remarks online, be prepared for the consequences: customer backlash, employee backlash, and untold brand damage (just to name a few).

The good news? A compliant social media background check is a quick and cost-effective way to make sure abstract items that people add to their "personal summaries" on resumes or that they say during interviews are actually true.

For example, if someone says during an interview that they pride themselves on their level-headedness and that they consider themselves a fair and unbiased manager, but a social media background check shows a history of rants filled with racist language, well . . . you can make the final determination based on a full picture, not an incomplete one.

Criminal History Checks Allow for Added Peace of Mind

When people say "background check," they're often referring to criminal history checks, since these have typically been the gold standard when it comes to employee screening.

Criminal background checks are still relevant today (especially as more and more states "ban the box"), but since these checks only look at a person's past (typically going back seven years), they only provide a partial picture of a candidate.

Make sure you combine criminal history checks with some of the other ones we mentioned (including ongoing criminal monitoring) in order to get a more complete picture of the candidate—and, as a result, added peace of mind along with the biggest bang for your background check buck.

Now is a GREAT Time to Audit Your Background Check Process

We're half-way through 2020, which means now is a great time to audit your background check process. What’s it doing right, what can it be doing better, how can you hit the ground running come Q4 and into 2021?

Let Good Egg help! We'd be happy to audit your current process and give honest feedback.

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Danielle Deutsch

Posted by Danielle Deutsch

Danielle is the Senior Digital Marketing Coordinator at Good Egg. In her spare time you can find her either visiting an aquarium, enjoying a Broadway show or competing in a Crossfit competition.

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