The 5 Ps of a successful employment screening framework

Employment screening is becoming increasingly complex. There’s a war raging for talent while the use of contingent workers is on the rise, enabled by new technologies that allow people to work from anywhere. As employment fraud becomes more common, regulation around screening and storage of information demands increasingly high standards.

All these factors make setting up robust employment screening more complicated – yet managing the processes well has never been more important.

“A screening framework helps businesses reduce risk and costs associated with re-hiring, and builds employees’ confidence and trust in the organisation,” says Australia Post’s Senior Product Manager – Emerging Identity Services, Robert Petrovic.

A sound employment screening framework should include policies, procedures and practices around permanent and temporary staff screening, and steps to mitigate hiring and promotion risks. It serves as a guide within your broader recruitment and HR policies.

The 5 Ps of developing an employment screening framework

Developing and implementing an end-to-end employment screening framework takes time, planning and commitment. Here are five things to consider.

  1. Processes

Australian businesses are potentially losing the right talent for the wrong reasons, thanks to lengthy and complicated processes. Applicants increasingly expect screening steps to be simple, easy and fast.  While it’s important for your process to meet their expectations, it also still needs to effectively manage organisational risks.

“Investing in a strong on-boarding and checking process reduces the risk of unsuitable hires and helps avoid the costs associated with re-hiring,” Petrovic says.

Your screening process needs to be inclusive and meet the needs of current employees and candidates. Their digital literacy, age and location, as well as the type of identity documents required, can greatly influence their progress through the screening.

Petrovic says Australia Post’s Workforce Verification tool has been designed to help organisations fill positions faster, by making the employment screening process simple and quick.

“Giving candidates options for how they complete the application will ensure that, regardless of their technical expertise, they are able to confidently finish the process,” he explains. “Our multi-channel service also allows people to complete the processes online or in-person in one of Australia Post 3,500 participating outlets.”

When developing your process, keep in mind that screening is usually a small step in a wider human resources ecosystem so it will need to integrate with any up or downstream processes.

  1. Profiles

Creating job risk profiles is an important part of developing a screening framework. While your most senior or highest paid roles will attract some level of risk, they may not be your highest risk groups.

Map your risk categories to the risk levels based on job roles. For instance, system administrator roles would be considered high risk in the ‘access’ category. Then identify the employment screening checks required for each risk level. A low level role might only require an identity check, while a high level role may need police and bankruptcy checks as well. By categorising job functions based on risk levels, you can avoid unnecessary checks.

Under-screening may result in hiring someone who’s not appropriate for the role, while over-screening could waste time and resources – and could send your ideal candidate running for the hills.

With these profiles in place, you can standardise and streamline all screening checks which is a more efficient approach to improving your organisation’s overall risk management.

  1. People

By defining key roles and responsibilities within your framework, you can ensure people are accountable for their part in the screening process. The Independent Commission Against Corruption[1] recommends considering these five areas:

  1. Framework ownership – who in the organisation is responsible for project?
  2. Job risk profiles – who is best placed to develop these profiles?
  3. Screening – who should be executing the checks?
  4. Results – who should action the results of checks?
  5. Monitoring and reviewing – who will be responsible for continually monitoring and adjusting the framework to make sure it functions effectively?

If you’re outsourcing any of these responsibilities to a third party, make sure they are a trusted source and comply with new ACIC regulations.

  1. Platform

The right platform will allow you to on-board your candidates faster, and provide an improved employee experience. It should be intuitive and easily integrated with your current systems. Look for a platform that automates manual and repetitive functions, and that offers alerts and complete visibility over every step of the screening process.

When you can track an application’s progress, it’s easier to co-ordinate additional on-boarding tasks and reduce time to hire. “This transparency also helps with follow up conversations and gives the candidate the ability to dispute a result,” says Petrovic.

Australia Post’s Workforce Verification provides real-time visibility on a candidate’s status on one platform and triggers alerts for key milestones. It has helped Australia Post reduce its own time to onboard by as much as 70%.[2]

  1. Physical

While many of your candidates and employees will prefer to use an online tool for screening, it’s still important to offer alternative options.

Almost a third of candidates still prefer to verify their identity in person[3], and it’s a vital fall-back in case your system goes down. Having an option like Workforce Verification’s in-person checks can make your process accessible to everyone and keep it moving smoothly.

Screening has become more complex for Australian businesses thanks to increased regulation and a changing workforce, but there are still things you can do to simplify your processes and make it more frictionless. The best place to start is with a solid framework.

[1] Strengthening employment screening practices in the NSW Public Sector, February 2018, ICAC NSW

[2] Australia Post subcontractor driver case study, 2018

[3] Australia Post National Police Check Service data (FY19/2019)

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