Magazine Article | February 16, 2007

Reduce Risk With Employee Screening

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

Protect your business from employee theft and workplace violence by screening existing employees and those in your hiring pool.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, March 2007

Managing risk is critical to successfully maximizing your profits and staying ahead of the competition. Yet, an area of risk often overlooked in the retail industry is the issue of crime in the workplace. Without an effective strategy to mitigate such risk, your business may be left vulnerable to significant expense, and in some cases, could place its very existence in jeopardy.

The United States Chamber of Commerce reports that $50 billion is lost annually due to employee theft and fraud. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 1.5 and 2 million workplace violence incidents occur each year.

One of the best ways to mitigate employee theft and workplace violence is to implement a pre- and posthire screening solution that requires applicants and employees to undergo thorough criminal background checks. Doing so can easily make you aware of undesirable behaviors or criminal histories that could impact your decision to hire. Proceeding without such information could lead to unfavorable publicity, legal liability, turnover, and anemic profits.

Complete Multijurisdiction Searches
By implementing safe hiring practices that include pre-employment criminal screening, you can choose the best-qualified applicant, provide a safer working environment, minimize theft, and avoid civil liabilities associated with negligent hiring practices. An important consideration when selecting a preemployment screening solution is to find a provider that offers multijurisdiction searches rather than single jurisdiction/county searches. Criminals frequently commit crimes outside of the jurisdiction in which they reside. Multijurisdiction searches improve the likelihood of identifying criminals and allow for more thorough prehire screening.

A high percentage of retailers' loss and risk is due to insider theft and workplace violence after the hiring stage. Therefore, it is critical to understand your vulnerability to ongoing risks. Regular posthire criminal screening is a critical component of managing the risks associated with workplace theft and violence. 

Embrace Posthire Screening To Monitor Existing Employees
Currently, posthire screening is a practice often overlooked by many in the retail industry. Even when an employee has no prior history of crime, circumstances can change. Therefore, it is important to closely monitor existing employees for criminal behavior occurring outside of the workplace. When selecting a posthire screening solution, consider one that actively monitors multijurisdiction criminal databases and automatically notifies you if criminal records are found for current employees. Implementing postemployment screening will help employers manage ongoing risk and more effectively address the issue of theft and workplace violence with preventative efforts.

"Businesses should embrace posthire screening to further manage risk by identifying potential problems in a proactive manner," says W. Barry Nixon, executive director for the National Institute for the Prevention of Workplace Violence. "Having the right information at the right time enables businesses to minimize workplace theft and violence and improve overall business performance." Partnering with a professional background screening company and implementing pre- and posthire screening will help you mitigate the risk of workplace crime and improve overall business profitability.