With the South African scenario playing out right now, one has to wonder if there is any Integrity in the workplace (public or private sector). We know that integrity comes in many forms, but above all, it refers to having upstanding character traits and work ethics, including sound judgement, honesty, dependability, and loyalty. Just go online and read the South African news headlines, and you will wonder if this word exists for many people today, and sadly, there is no example for the top for the younger generation to follow.

In the background screening environment, the most common check conducted on a potential employee is a criminal record check. Sadly, with the low rate of prosecution and conviction in South Africa, an employer must ask if they are addressing their risk by only checking on a potential or existing employee’s criminal record.

Research presented early in 2022 by the Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR) unit at the University of the Western Cape suggests some concerning trends in the National Prosecuting Authority’s current performance, including:

They say it is problematic because it provides an incentive for prosecutors to select cases “where there is a high likelihood of conviction and not pursue those where the chances are less favourable”.

A criminal justice system that consistently fails to secure convictions has little credibility. The dangers exist that victims may give up reporting crime, and communities may instead resort to extra-legal, vigilante action.

It is not all doom and gloom for employers, says Sonya Skipp, General Manager of iFacts, the most extensive employee screening company in South Africa. She says that, according to psychologists, there are four types of Intelligence:

1) Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
2) Emotional Quotient (EQ)
3) Social Quotient (SQ)
4) Adversity Quotient (AQ)

Now there is a 4th one, a new paradigm – The Adversity Quotient (AQ): The measure of your ability to go through a rough patch in life and come out of it without losing your mind.

When faced with troubles, AQ determines who will give up, abandon their family, and consider suicide.

Skipp says that employers should always consider an integrity test, a specific personality test designed to assess an applicant’s tendency, to be honest, trustworthy, and dependable. A lack of integrity is associated with such counterproductive behaviours as theft, violence, sabotage, disciplinary problems, and absenteeism. Integrity tests can also be valid measures of overall job performance. This is not surprising because integrity is strongly related to conscientiousness, a strong predictor of overall job performance.

iFacts supply our clients with assessments that can ascertain an employee’s true integrity.

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