Why Continuous Monitoring Is Essential in Background Screening
While background checks are vital in the hiring process, they only tell you about a candidate’s criminal history before they become an employee. Pre-employment screenings offer a one-time snapshot that quickly becomes outdated. They are not able to provide an ongoing reel of information with real-time alerts about illegal activities or misbehaviors. That may be why a growing number of organizations are opting for “continuous monitoring” of employee criminal records, as part of a more comprehensive screening package.
At Orange Tree, we use a combination of various post-hire checks, depending on your needs, to alert you to criminal or risky activities on the part of your employees. These checks can include:
- Criminal checks
- Driving checks
- Professional license checks
- Sanction checks
- Drug tests
- Office of Inspector General/General Services Administration
- Sex Offender Registry
- Global Watchlist
- Social media
Why is continuous monitoring so important? In the next sections, we will lay out the reasons that post-hire screenings are key to effective risk management and should be part of any background check package.
Protection of Vulnerable Clients, Customers, or Patients
Post-hire criminal checks can be very helpful to any organization. They are a critical need, though, in industries like healthcare, finance, e-commerce, and tech, where clients, customers, or patients are more vulnerable to various forms of exploitation.
Prevention and Detection of Fraud and Abuse
Continuous monitoring, including license checks, is a must in the healthcare industry, where fraud and abuse are lamentably common. Fraud represents a vast majority of crime that has hit the healthcare industry particularly hard. The problem is so big that in recent years the Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced an “annual coordinated healthcare fraud takedown.” In the most recent continuation of that initiative, the DOJ issued a press release in July 2022, stating that it had charged dozens of people in multiple states for $1.2 billion dollars in healthcare fraud.
Elderly Americans are especially vulnerable to fraud and abuse, and even more so in a post-COVID world, according to another DOJ report in 2022. At least 10 percent of adults ages 65 and over will experience abuse in any given year, the DOJ has said. If your clients are elderly, this statistic alone should be cause for continuous monitoring.
Of course, older people are not the only healthcare population to warrant this added protection. People with addiction and mental health conditions, those with terminal diagnoses, and patients in hospitals or other inpatient facilities are some of the other groups that face heightened exposure to fraud and abuse.
If your employees visit patients in their homes, that, too, can leave you open to higher risks of abuse, theft, and other crimes. Ongoing criminal checks can enable proactive intervention before a situation has escalated into someone getting hurt or exploited and a public relations nightmare.
Detection and Discouragement of Theft
Clients in the banking and finance industry are uniquely exposed to risk and exploitation in another way. They entrust highly sensitive information to professionals who are supposed to protect and invest their money and livelihood but sometimes do the opposite. In the absence of a transparent continuous monitoring plan that discourages and detects theft, the outcome can prove devastating. As illustration, in August 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged a financial advisor with stealing $5.8 million from a longtime client. The embezzling had gone on unnoticed for years.
In an economy where e-commerce signifies a huge share of retail profits, the threat of stolen data and identity theft is omnipresent. Like retailers, many tech companies also have access to sensitive private data that needs to be handled with the utmost care. In either case, just one employee’s intentional misuse of sensitive data can leave consumers vulnerable to identity theft. Continuous monitoring can help keep this private data more secure.
Safer, More Secure Employees and Workplace
Employees feel safer and more secure at work when they know that their employer has a continuous monitoring and risk management plan. A safer, more secure workplace enhances employee productivity and engagement: good news for your bottom line.
One example might be a company that employs contractors on an as-needed basis, such as an event planning company that intermittently employs personnel to help with crowd control or handle safety-sensitive tasks like stage production. Continuous monitoring acts like a security system for your workplace. It provides real-time alerts of employee incarceration and other early indicators of risky or criminal activity, so you can intervene quickly to ensure ongoing compliance with your safety requirements.
The detection of a low-level offense might also mean you are able to connect an employee with counseling or other resources. In this way, too, continuous monitoring is in the interest of employees.
Your Brand Reputation
The reputation of your brand is central to your growth and success as a business. That reputation is built on trust and credibility. When customers know they can trust you, they are more likely to keep coming back and to tell others about your company.
Just one incident of employee misbehavior or illegal activity can jeopardize how customers view you or ruin your company’s good name. A continuous monitoring program reduces these risks.
In many cases, ongoing post-hire checks can also provide protection from being targeted by costly lawsuits that, in addition to sapping revenue, compromise public perception of a company’s brand. With real-time notifications of criminal behavior, employers can intervene well before the situation has become a crisis.
Your Peace of Mind
Running a business will always involve some level of risk, which is why finding ways to reduce and mitigate risks is an important best practice. Not being able to know what you do not know about the people you employ increases your vulnerability to all sorts of risks. The many unknowns can keep you awake at night.
Consider this question: How would you feel if you learned that an employee’s criminal history had slipped by you? If that prospect causes worry, contact Orange Tree for a free consultation. We can help you create a continuous monitoring program that suits your needs and provides peace of mind.
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