In very broad terms, in today’s world I firmly believe that people bring one of the greatest risks to any organisation.

When looking at the risk factor in the corporate environment, we generally consider the employee a small part of the risk prevention strategy and there are times when they have been excluded completely. Employee screening has been around for many years and has evolved from being merely a simple criminal record check and has grown into some companies doing a full lifestyle audit on potential as well as existing employees.

While employee screening may be a great proactive tool, does it genuinely prevent risk in your organisation? This is a question that is often posed and I am quite adamant that most employee screening verifies what an individual has done in the past and does not measure the intention or reputation of a person.

During the life cycle of an employee, risk can be measured in various ways and companies should be encouraged to have people risk become part of the many facets of an organisation: human resources, legal, procurement, finance, etc.

Many of the tools used prior to employing a person should be part of an in-service risk mitigation strategy as people’s circumstances change and often people are very happy to share their activities on social media without realising the dangers of what they are doing. Many will argue that the company has a responsibility to train and keep an employee from becoming a threat, but this does need to be a combination of efforts from both sides and if proper integrity and personality assessments have been done from the start, it does make it far easier to understand the element of people risk.

To manage people risk, there should be three elements to a people risk management strategy:

1. Pre-employment screening.

2. In-service screening and people risk management.

3. Departing employee screening.

In addition to this, it is essential to remember that the people in a business are not only your employees. Third party contractors and suppliers often contribute greatly to the number of people in a company and many of these people are not always on site in the company.

Does your people risk management programme including the screening of contractors and the verification of suppliers?