Fraud and corruption. Tragically two words that are no strangers to the average South African. From traffic officials involved in bribery, to tenderpreneurship, not to mention dodgy cabinet and parastatal appointments. Following the Sunday Times expose in October that South Africa’s high commissioner to Singapore, Hazel Francis Ngubeni, has a colourful past as a drug smuggler, industry experts are commentating on what may be going wrong with our countries vetting procedures for high profile positions.
However, Jenny Reid, CEO of iFacts, believes that the problem may not lie with the screening and vetting procedures themselves, but with the fact that appointments are made based on cronyism, cover-ups and dishonesty.
No employee who had spent two years behind USA bars for smuggling cocaine would ever pass any sort of effective vetting or screening process. The problem lies more with the unnamed or anonymous political leader who is said to have nominated her for the position in the first place.
When it comes to employee screening in South Africa, keeping the bad apples out when hiring can actually safe guard the future of your organisation.
It’s been said that an organisation is only as good as its most powerful asset, and for most organisations today, that asset is human capital. While most HR professional and business owners envision a dream team of productive employees that keep the business running like a well-maintained machine, the biggest problem with human resources is that they are human. Sometimes even the most qualified, experienced and hardworking candidate may not quite be the right fit for your organisation. So, imagine the repercussions of making a few bad hiring decisions.
Employee Background Screening has gained momentum worldwide as a crucial, necessary and acceptable aspect of the recruitment process. The unfortunate truth is that hiring one or two inappropriate candidates can have a detrimental impact on the efforts of an otherwise productive and hardworking team, impacting business profitability, worker morale and productivity, and even client service.
The growing need for Employee Screening
Some of the most common problems associated with not implementing Employee Background Screening, include: erroneously hiring an employee who does not have the appropriate qualifications required for the position, an employee who has lied about the past work experience and the reasons for leaving a previous employer, and finally recruiting individuals who have a criminal history or reputation for siphoning funds from their employers.
So why is the need for Employment Background screening & Vetting on the rise? Reid believes that the current state of the global economy has led to a growing unemployment rate. Employees who are unable to find work due to a lack of experience or qualifications will end up making fraudulent claims on their CVs just to try and land an interview with a potential employer.
Business owners and HR professionals are also under growing pressure to find efficient candidates quickly and easily from a large pool of candidates. So if the CV looks good and the candidate dazzles in the interview, one may be tempted to hire based on good faith rather than a scientific screening processes.
Legal and Practical Implementation
Employee Background Screening is actually a very quick and simple automated process that can be outsourced to a third-party screening services company such as iFacts, which offers a range of services that extend into every aspect of proactive and reactive screening, for optimum employee performance, loyalty and integrity.
Some of the most important Employee Screening Checks that we recommend include: Identity Verification, Criminal Record Checks, Integrity Assessments, Past Employment References, Qualification Verifications, and Drivers License Checks.
It’s also to ensure that Employee Screening is seen as part of the company culture and to conduct tests at regular intervals with new and current employees. Ongoing Employee Screening (also known as in-service screening) should take place on an annual basis. We recommend that companies create an Employee Screening Policy so that employees understand this to be a normal company procedure, which not only protects their employer, but them as well. The negative impact of theft and fraud can bring an organisation to its knees and result in job losses. So these processes also protect people’s jobs.
Employee Screening and Vetting is legal and is an acceptable part of any company’s recruitment and employment process. All employees or prospective employees must be made aware of the policy. Reid adds that of course anyone can refuse the process, but they are unlikely then to be seen as a viable candidate for employment. Employers do have a right to protect their own organisations.
Employees consent to the screening process by signing an Indemnity Form on application. This allows the Employer to do the necessary research on data that is not in the public domain such as Criminal Records and Credit History.