Keeping customers safe and ensuring that customers feel safe are two
different challenges, and successful companies proactively look for
ways to address both.
Maintaining actual safety is a fundamental requirement of
doing business. Consumers expect the food they purchase won’t make
them sick, the cars they drive won’t malfunction, and that the roof
of a retailer won’t collapse on top of them. They also expect the
employees they interact with to pose little risk to their physical,
mental, or financial health. In each of these cases,
businesses have legal, ethical, and fiduciary responsibilities to maintain high standards of safety.
But beyond meeting the safety standards of regulators,
businesses should also look at the perceived safety of their
business. Customers might be safe, but a history of unsafe incidents
might make them feel otherwise. Conversely, businesses may have
effectively positioned themselves as a safe and trustworthy
organization but have neglected to make operational changes that
match their message.
The perception of safety is critical in maintaining trust,
brand loyalty, and credibility with customers and employees.
Forward-thinking risk management professionals should look to
implement programs that both improve the actual safety of their
customers and their feeling of safety.
presents several major challenges in companies’ efforts to provide
safe products and services.
Employees are people, and people
can be unpredictable. An obvious but
important hurdle in mitigating workforce risk is the
simple fact that employees are
people. Ensuring the products your customers interact with are
safe is far more straightforward than ensuring the employees they
interact with pose them no threat. Employees have different
personalities, motivators, and stressors that can reduce the
effectiveness of a one-size-fits-all risk mitigation strategy.
Changing work models make identifying
criminal behavior after hire more difficult. As
remote work, contract work, and gig jobs grow, there are
fewer built-in signals that might alert an organization to
investigate further. The “work when and where you want”
model has increased flexibility for the workforce but made
it more challenging for
organizations to know when an employee has been
safety and fairness. Initiatives like “ban the box”
continue to gain traction, and there’s a growing feeling
that just because someone made a mistake in the past, they
shouldn’t be continually punished by prospective employers and
government social service providers.
Americans are obsessed with background checks, but often
don’t fully understand them. Background checks have
broad market adoption and strong public support. But, the average
consumer has a very loose understanding of the background
screening process. Typically, they do not understand there is no
“standard” background check and no centralized source of criminal
These distinctions make identifying and managing criminal
risk among employees all the more challenging. However, the upside
is clear: Creating and communicating policies that help reduce
criminal risk among your employees are a win-win in improving safety
and building trust with your customers.
This is the mindset that both companies and background
screeners should share: how can we make decisions that genuinely
improve safety yet also have a clear, tangible message that
customers and employees understand?
To that end, background screeners
and employers alike need
to shift their perspective beyond the traditional pre-hire background
check. Because criminal activity is one of the clearest indicators of
risk, employers shouldn't limit the search for criminal activity to
the years before someone is hired.
Over the past decade, some CRAs have begun offering regular
re-checks (typically annually or every two years), but this approach
is limited in effectiveness.
Knowing as soon as possible when an employee is
involved in potential criminal activity helps employers
maintain safe business environments and build a reputation
of proactive, customer-first decision making.
To be blunt, customers should be aware that an individual
recently convicted of assault will not be hired in a customer-facing
role. But by that same logic, customers expect that an active
employee charged with assault will be, at least, temporarily removed
from that customer-facing role.
This is why true post-hire criminal
monitoring matters: people still get in trouble after they’ve
passed a background check, and employers need awareness as soon as
possible to ensure customers, employees, and the company remains safe
A real value-add of continuous criminal
monitoring is that the value proposition is clear. The concept of
"safety" is broad, and building clear messaging around it is
challenging. Employers must ensure that their message of safety cuts
through the noise. And while there are countless strategies for
improving safety, how many of them are as easy to communicate to
your customer as: "We'll know immediately when an employee may
have been involved in a crime, and we can investigate and respond quickly."
Sometimes, simple is best. Knowing in near real-time when an
employee may have been involved in a crime has a clear and plain value
proposition. This initiative has the added bonus of setting your
company apart by improving actual safety and the perception of safety
among your stakeholders. Implementing a post-hire
criminal monitoring program sends a signal to employees,
consumers, and the media that you care about safety.
To learn more about our continuous monitoring
solution and how it can help your company reduce employee-based
risk and achieve both actual and perceived safety, contact us here.