Background investigations for new workers

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Rey Elbo-125

In The Workplace

Usually, we hire our workers through manpower agencies that give us employees who are supposed to be screened, trained and qualified prior to deployment. However, there have been instances in which were sent people with falsified clearances. We ended up blacklisting some manpower agencies. Do we need to conduct another round of background investigations to ensure that we get the right people? (itals end) — Vietnam Rose.

Social media is teeming with outrage about politicians who manage to stay in office despite convictions and pending graft cases involving millions of pesos, while ordinary people can’t even get a decent job without clearances from the barangay (village), police, and NBI.

Who is to be blamed here? Misinformed voters, the general public or the electoral system? Obviously, there is something wrong with our electoral system when convicted politicians manage to continue their careers.

There are also hundreds of cases out there that are seemingly “parked” in court, including the Imelda Marcos case that took nearly 30 years to wrap up.

The same thing can happen in the workplace. Organizations that rely on hiring employees through manpower agencies often leave out the step of professional background checking.

Many organizations ignore this basic requirement for various reasons. Since the workers are temporary, contractors and sub-contractors routinely neglect thorough procedures in order to deploy the workers right away.

Client-companies also resort to this practice because they think these contractual workers can be closely monitored and supervised, until one day they discover that these same people are directly or indirectly involved in theft, immorality, absenteeism, and poor productivity, among other issues.

So what’s the best approach? We can’t just ignore background checks for new employees. We have to do it right

One, the first thing to do is to conduct a background check of your existing or prospective manpower agencies, including its officials and stockholders. You may be surprised that many of them have more than dozens of pending labor cases. That alone is enough for you to raise the red flag.

Two, in case of direct hiring, employers must require new employees to sign an employment contract and application for employment forms where they vouch for the accuracy of the information they provide to employers. To do this, these people must sign an agreement that they are authorizing the employer, its representative or third-party service provider to conduct background checks at any time starting from Day One of employment, but not later than the fifth month of the probationary period.

Three, hire an independent and professional third-party service provider that can give you an efficient and accurate formal report. They can do it faster and more conveniently for you, except that you have to pay them for their services. I guess that is better than working blind with certain people until it is too late.

What is important about this professional service is that they visit organizations to verify information provided by new employees.

Last, if you happen to encounter one of these background checkers, insist that they personally visit your office to establish their credentials. Don’t accept inquiries through telephone, email or worse — via text. You can learn many things from them on all the tricks pulled off by job applicants and how they deceive their potential employers.

Over time, you may end up with relationships with certain background checkers who may also help you on the things to avoid when hiring. Don’t lower your guard and regularly seek their input when evaluating job applicants.

Background investigation is costly and time-consuming. Compare that with your current predicament. If you think ignoring background investigation due to cost is useful, then calculate the losses you might incur or may have incurred when you hire people without clean backgrounds.

Don’t think that a janitor or security guard can be exempted from background investigations. Your background investigation must include the officers and stockholders of job contractors, no matter how they present themselves as legitimate third-party service providers.

ELBONOMICS: One test of integrity is avoiding short cuts.


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