By Derek Jones
This story was originally published on July 5th, 2022.
Continuous monitoring is the process by which employers can proactively identify potential risks to their employees and within their organization and intervene if needed. Ongoing monitoring is critical, and studies have demonstrated the risk organizations face. A 2015 study we conducted, found that 12% of the U.S. workforce will be incarcerated once in the next 5 years. Most employers rely exclusively on pre-hire screening or role-specific periodic rescreens to manage risk, but these methods leave employers with significant gaps, which allow for the potential of unnecessary risk. Continuous monitoring is distinct from pre-hire or periodic re-screens – it is a solution that works throughout an employee’s time at the company to provide alerts immediately following related incarceration, court appearance, or conviction events. This allows HR teams to communicate with employees at the first sign of risk.
In order to help protect their reputation and keep their workplaces, employees, and customers safe, many organizations are implementing criminal continuous monitoring. This technology allows employers to cross-check their employee rosters information with timely booking information, allowing them to know as soon as possible when an employee may be incarcerated. This does more than help protect the company’s reputation and guard against risk – it also has significant benefits for the health and safety of employees. Monitoring supports workforce trends in employee advocacy and company transparency and allows for better employer-employee communication. Here are four specific benefits that employees and employers glean from post-hire monitoring:
1. It helps you manage your remote workforce
Workforce trends have dramatically changed since 2020, and more employees are working remotely than ever before. Not only that, but individuals looking for work expect to have the option to work remote at least some of the time. Now employers have the added challenge to create a work culture that caters to in-office and remote employees – bridging the gap in communication, trust, and company culture challenges.
To help address these challenges, many employers are now implementing continuous monitoring programs within their organizations. It fosters an environment where leaders and employees exhibit trust and strong communication. For instance, it’s Monday morning and you may notice that one of your employees has not started their workday. In this case, your employee was arrested sometime over the weekend and has not had a chance to disclose this information to you. But with continuous monitoring, you will receive alerts that booking occurred that matched your provided employee roster information. And because not every incarceration leads to a conviction, when your employee comes back to work, you have an opportunity to speak with your employee and start a dialogue regarding their potential violation of company policy. If employers can view termination as a last resort as often as possible, there are benefits to gain from this change in mindset:
At the first sign of risk, continuous monitoring helps organizations intervene by starting conversations with their remote employees, improving the likelihood of a positive outcome. It can also give you more confidence to hire remote candidates that are highly skilled and qualified.
2. It encourages corporate transparency
According to experts, especially during the pandemic, transparency in the workplace helps keep employees happier and more engaged. Corporate transparency can look different for every organization, so here are some ways to keep open lines of communication when using continuous monitoring:
When corporate transparency is present, employees feel safe, respected, and valued. By putting an emphasis on open and honest dialogue with their employees, employers may experience higher rates of retention.
3. It supports employee mental health
Instances of mental health issues among employees have increased since the onset of the pandemic. With more people struggling with their mental health and not knowing where to go for help, it can leave people vulnerable. Behavioral health is linked to other risk factors, such as substance abuse, job loss, residential instability, and incarceration. With continuous monitoring, employers may have an opportunity to intervene and support the mental health of their employees in a number of ways when aligned to corporate policy:
With the reality that 12% of the U.S. workforce will be incarcerated once in the next 5 years, it is not a wise business move to leave employees who are struggling with mental health issues unsupported. Employers have a unique opportunity to help their employees rise above life circumstances that would otherwise lead to a cyclical pattern of behavior that increases risk for the employer and individual.
4. It promotes proactive fair chance hiring practices
When employers prioritize the well-being of their employees, they find that their employees perform better and stay longer. As numerous industries face their most extreme job shortages in years, formerly incarcerated individuals represent a solution to that problem. It may seem like an extreme option to some, but fair chance hiring can benefit both employers and employees. Fair chance hiring can help:
By using continuous monitoring, employers set their company apart from other companies in a myriad of ways. Rather than creating a negative work environment where employees feel undervalued and micromanaged, continuous monitoring enriches your company. To learn more about how continuous monitoring encourages employers to manage effectively, communicate purposefully, and care for and empower your employees while mitigating risk, listen to this recent InfoMart webinar.