The current workplace scenario comprises of Gig workers and this includes the temporary staff as well. This change have provided a surprising paradigm shift in employment dynamics in the recent workplace ecosphere. For example the gig economy in the USA has increased considerably in the recent past. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, it has been estimated that gig workers and non-traditional employees have grown in numbers at a steady pace since 2015 and are expected to continue to grow even further i.e.; doubling in the next 5 years.
There is a reason for making this decision. To carry out background checks organizations need to spend money. They think about saving this cost by ignoring background screening of temporary employees. For example. An organization generally thinks it useless to carry out a background check on the temporary workers doing a one-off freelance job. But the fact is that not conducting background check of temporary staff has a lot of similar risks as those of not conducting background screening of permanent employees.
According to a research by the American Staffing Association, more than three million temporary and contract employees have worked for America’s staffing companies on an average every week. During the course of the year, it has been reported that America’s staffing companies have hired nearly 15 million temporary and contract employees. Pre-employment background screening is one of the best ways to counter the risk of hiring temporary staff in the organization. As in most of the organizations, employers mandatorily carry out pre-employment background checks for full-time employees. But, only a select few conduct comprehensive background screening of part-timers and even fewer when it comes to conducting it on temporary staff.
Given below are some of the most important reasons why you should conduct background checks of your temporary staff as well.
1. Background screening helps you know the person you are hiring
Every employee whom you are hiring in your organization, irrespective of whether it is full-time or temporary staff, he will act as the representative of the brand of your organization. Temporary staff when they take part in certain special corporate festivals or event become the face of the organization by interacting with customers or supporters at those events. Temporary staff, including part-time employees and volunteers are all part of your one big corporate family. They have all the power to affect you positively or negatively. Hence, conducting pre-employment background screening of these employees will make you get an overall idea about the person you are inviting to be a part of your corporate family, albeit for a temporary period.
2. Hiring the best screened candidate can help promote your employer brand
Bad hire can negatively impact your organization’s brand image no matter he is a full-time employee or a temporary staff. For example; if your temp employee assaults a co-worker, legal action can still be taken against your organization since you made the primary decision of hiring the temporary staff without performing the required screening tests. By practicing alertness and conducting pre-employment background screening of temporary staff, it is possible for you to protect your organization’s brand image, end any accusations of carelessness and that can limit your accountability.
3. Screening ensures a safer work environment
Carrying out background screening of temporary staff can protect your organization from facing any lawsuits. But more than that, it will provide a safety net to you. If a temporary staff has a history of repeating violent crimes, they may not be the wisest choice to be onboard for a position that requires collaborative team effort or speaking with customers. Although, they are not full-time employees of the organization, there is always a risk in selecting a person who is dangerous for the work environment. Remember, as an employer it is your responsibility to provide a safe working environment for all your employees and also your customers.
4. Protection from employee theft and fraud
In the United States alone, the annual cost of employee theft and fraud is between $ 20 billion and $ 50 billion. Although, full-time employees have more time to steal items from the workplace, that does not mean that a temporary staff in charge of a cash box will not steal money, or a temporary staff who have the access to your organization’s accounts will not manipulate the record books. You can prevent these expensive incidents by conducting background screening.
5. Screening ensures more trustworthy employees
In most organizations, full-time employees have highest levels of access. They are the ones who are looking after financial accounts, proprietary information, customer details and other sensitive documents and data. But the temporary staff do not share the same level of responsibility. This very reason makes most of the organizations skip conducting background check of temporary staff. But you will still have to give some level of access to them. It can be as basic as the login credentials of your organization’s employee portal. And when you give access you will need to make sure that access is given to the right person. Background screening helps you be sure.
6. Screened temporary employees can be converted to permanent employees easily
Although temporary staff are not the full-time employees of your organization, they do have an opportunity to become full-time employees. Although volunteers are very less likely to move into full-time roles, they still have the same kind of knowledge and experience that can make them good candidates. If you conduct background check of temporary staff in your organization, when the time is right, they can easily be given full-time roles.
With this shift in worker demographics, it is time that employers take all the necessary precautions to mitigate the risks associated with the gig economy. It is high time that organizations should have the same standards of evaluation when it comes to temporary staff and full-time employees. But before doing that organizations need to contemplate on the legal aspects of conducting background checks for temporary staff. This can be done by conducting the background checks on a case-to-case basis, varying between different roles. For example; a temporary staff providing freelancing writing job will pose less risk, than the one who has to deal with the financial accounts of the organization. The right way to move forward would be to accept background screening of temporary staff as a transition strategy for organizations and let it ease into the organizational culture as time goes by.
cFIRST Think Tank is the team that researches and produces content for cFirst. This team comprises of seasoned content and digital design professionals and background screening industry veterans. Together we produce insightful blogs, infographics and reports meant for HR and background screening professionals.