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By Mark Ridgeway 13 Sep, 2017

Lying on a resume is not a widely acceptable practice. It is however, becoming a serious problem. According to CareerBuilder in a recent study, more than 50 percent of hiring managers have found a lie on a resume.

Since education and work experience are important, background check providers have to be meticulous and thorough when validating educational reference stated on resumes. And as simple as verifying a school record may seem, it is not necessarily a quick or easy task.

A lot of educational institutions just don’t respond directly to requests.

Many of them subscribe to the National Student Clearinghouse, the largest provider of electronic student record exchanges and postsecondary transcript ordering services in the U.S.

For a fee, the Clearinghouse checks enlistment and graduation data for understudies of most open and private U.S. organizations. The degrees confirmed through the Clearinghouse ensure against false information that can be supplied by “diploma mills.” (dipoloma mill- an institution or organization that grants large numbers of educational degrees based on inadequate or inferior education and assessment of the recipients).

Contacting the institution directly can be challenging. Verifying services attempt to contact the administration, but it is often hard to get in touch with someone at the institution. School holidays often delay the verification process.

Some schools have restrictions in place that only allow the student to gain access to his/ her records. Names might also be confused, causing errors. The schools often prohibit the GPA, degree or awards from being released.

An employer may request to see an actual diploma. But if the diploma needs to come from an educational institution, the turnaround time may increase substantially.

In the event that real transcripts are required to check participation, graduation, courses taken, and GPAs: don’t hold your breath because this is going to take a while…

By Mark Ridgeway 29 Aug, 2017

Pre-hire background checks are the norm these days. Most businesses do it and most applicants expect it. But, even if you pass the pre-hire screen with no complications you may not be out of the proverbial woods.

A growing number of employers are performing periodic background checks or so-called “infinity” screening on current employees. The ongoing scrutiny of your criminal activity, credit report and social media posts could have a major impact on your career.

There’s no limit on the type of background checks employers can run on current employees as long as they have a signed release and the items checked during the investigation are legal and job-related.

The idea behind continuous screening is to protect the business and workplace from current employees that are involved in criminal activity AFTER they are hired.

Here are some of the positive and negative ramifications of continuous background screening:


POSITIVE

Knowing that your fellow employees have clean records could give you peace of mind about sharing the responsibility for preventing data breaches. According to a Forrester Research report titled “Understand the State of Data Security and Privacy: 2013 to 2014,” 25 percent of survey respondents said that abuse by a malicious insider was the most common way a breach occurred at their company.

Plus, having a pristine background may give you the confidence to ask for a raise or pursue a management position, since 29 percent of companies that re-screen employees do so in response to a status change


NEGATIVE

You could be denied a promotion or even terminated if subsequent background checks reveal damaging information. For instance, you could be fired if you’re convicted of a crime or your employer discovers that you lied about your degree or qualifications on your resume or application.

There are also the cultural considerations with Continuous Screening. What type of message does it send the workplace if workers are constantly suspected of criminal activity? What type of workplace stress is created if an otherwise long time and loyal employees feel they are subject to dismissal at any time for a minor offense that may or may not bear upon their suitably as an employee?


If you don’t know whether your company is running post-hire background checks, ask. Many industries have regulations that require continuous background checking.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) , if an employer is interested in continuous screening, it needs to work with a screening partner who can assist the employer with understanding all of the pros and cons in order to make an informed decision and to avoid pitfalls in setting up the program, and avoid providers that  simply want to sell more searches that could  end up doing more harm than good.


By Mark Ridgeway 16 Aug, 2017

“Human resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business.”  -Steve Wynn


It’s easy to ignore the human resources side of your business when things are flowing smoothly. After all, there are far more pressing concerns nagging us each day. Relations with employees can be enjoyable and fulfilling or time-consuming and terrifying, depending on the situation.

Being proactive in the area of HR, recognizing and rectifying HR mistakes before they become serious problems, can save you countless headaches and protect your business against costly legal claims.

HR mistake #1: An outdated employee handbook

Every business, no matter how small, should have an up-to-date employee handbook. If you don’t put the most current dos and don’ts in writing, you’re asking for trouble. In addition, laws change, which may significantly alter the applicability of your policies.

Even a few pages outlining acceptable and expected behavior provides employees with tangible guidelines. The employee handbook should be updated about every two years, and all employees should sign an acknowledgment form stating that they received the publication and will abide by its policies.

Include information such as your company’s:

  • Code of Conduct
  • Communications policy
  • Non-discrimination policy
  • Compensation & benefits
  • Employment & termination guidelines

HR mistake #2: Failing to document performance issues

Written policies and standard operating procedures are the boundaries that govern employee conduct. When a violation occurs, it must be accurately and thoroughly documented. Although it may seem time-consuming to jot down in a file that someone was reprimanded for repeated tardiness, it’s important evidence that can support a decision to terminate that individual for unsatisfactory job performance, for example.

In addition, when a company is consistent in its application of performance issues, it’s better able to address potential legal issues that may arise in the future, such as a discrimination claim.


HR mistake #3: Incomplete employee files

For compliance reasons, it’s very important to keep records of all the personnel documents attached to your employees’ work histories.

It’s also a good practice to make sure the proper documents are kept in the employee performance file. Some documents that contain personal information, such as leave and disability forms, should be kept in a separate folder since these are personal in nature and aren’t needed to manage an employee’s performance.

It’s helpful to have a binder for all valid I-9s, which verify employee identity and work eligibility in the United States. They should be easy to access and updated when necessary. Fines can add up quickly if you can’t produce current and accurate documents upon request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

And because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), it may be wise to store your employees’ health and welfare-related benefits information separately as well.


HR mistake #4: Disregard for training

Taking time to train your employees is a valuable investment in the future of your business. By including training in the onboarding process, your employees may become more fully engaged and understand how to use their skills to best benefit your company.

Employers who spend time on training also get training’s indirect benefit: employees who feel like they’re valuable and capable of doing more for your organization.

And remember, it’s important that the employee’s performance, including skills and areas of opportunity and growth, are accurately reflected in their performance reviews.


HR mistake #5: Inadequate HR policies

Don’t overlook the importance of an internal HR audit. Set aside time annually to make sure your HR policies are current and complete.

Also, sometimes the unthinkable happens and disaster strikes. By providing clear guidelines on how to respond prior to an incident, you can help minimize the impact it might have on your employees and your business.

A well-thought-out plan will help protect you, your employees and your customers. Consider these questions when developing your plan:

  1. Who will be in charge?
  2. What circumstances do you evacuate or take shelter?
  3. Do you have an off-site meeting place for people to gather?
  4. How will you communicate with your employees during a disaster?
  5. What is the vacation payout policy if an employee quits?

Having policies and plans for handling unexpected events reduces the stress, liabilities and costs to your business.

HR mistake #6: Lack of knowledge in employment compliance

Managers must be fluent in employment laws and regulations. In addition, they must have access to a resource that can keep them up to date in the changing employment environment.

Misclassifying employees as independent contractors when they’re not, or as exempt from overtime when they shouldn’t be, can be costly oversights.

Failure to comply with OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) regulations for your industry may also yield stiff fines.

Prevention is key. Take time to identify what regulatory agencies govern your industry and what laws must be followed.




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