Interviewing prospective hires is both exciting and stressful. With so many names, faces, and stories, many qualified interviewees may seem like the perfect fit for your company, but you can never be 100% sure. Now more than ever, it is important for HR professionals to take the next step and develop Safe Hiring Programs (SHP). While legally compliant employment background checks on potential new hires can effectively weed out problem candidates, SHPs can protect your business before the recruiting process even begins.
Not convinced you need an SHP? Let the statistics speak for themselves. Approximately 53% of job applications submitted and received by HR departments contained inaccurate information. Additionally, the FBI predicts an estimated 355,000 businesses will encounter some sort of workplace violence in any given year. Making one bad hiring decision can lead to a costly cleanup process. In the past, studies not only show that employers have lost more than 79% of cases, but also that an average settlement of a negligent hiring lawsuit is about $1 million. Don’t wait for problems to arise; take proactive steps to ensure that your employees and organization are protected. Safe Hiring Programs can help you do that by:
- Deterring potentially problematic applicants
- Encouraging honesty from candidates
- Providing concrete evidence to support hiring decisions
- Providing defense in the face of lawsuits
So what exactly does a Safe Hiring Program consists of? SHPs are policies, practices and procedures designed to identify capable, trustworthy, and qualified candidates for a given position. A holistic SHP consists of five core areas:
1. Organizational Infrastructure
Create an organizational commitment to a well-defined Safe Hiring Program structure. See S.A.F.E. System below as an example. While HR works directly with onboarding new employees, your company as a whole must understand and respect whatever rules and regulations you put in place around hiring.
2. Initial Screening Practices
Establish a clear procedure for the application, interview and reference-check processes. By defining and documenting the details for these practices, your company can make sure to apply them to all candidates across the board.
3. In-Depth Screening Practices
Conduct comprehensive FCRA-compliant employment background checks using trustworthy vendors. Taking these precautions significantly reduces your risk and helps create company standards.
4. Post-Hire Practices
Commit to a safe workplace after an applicant has been hired. This can range from conversations to gauge employee progress and happiness or annual repeat screening. Outline what your company needs to function at its best!
5. Legal Compliance Practices
Promote awareness of the legal and regulatory environment surrounding safe hiring and compliance to those standards. Education around these topics is crucial, so be sure to provide resources wherever they are needed.
Ready to jumpstart your own Safe Hiring Program? Incorporating the following elements of the S.A.F.E. System!
S- Set up a comprehensive program of documented hiring policies, practices and procedures for your organization.
A- Acclimate and train all current employees who have safe hiring responsibilities.
F- Facilitate and implement the program.
E- Evaluate and audit the program.
By exercising your “duty of care” (i.e. due diligence), you will shield your organization from both risky hires and negligence. So, what are you waiting for? Start investing the proper time and energy into creating a holistic Safe Hiring Program in order to protect your business from the get-go.
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 Society of Human Resources Management, 2003
 OSHA Forms Alliance Focusing on Workplace Violence, by Roy Maurer, Society of Human Resources Management, 2009
 Human Resources Management, 2008
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