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Webinar Recap: Navigating The Evolving Landscape Of Employee Background Screening

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In today’s rapidly changing business environment, maintaining a safe and secure workplace is critical for the success of any organisation. With a wide range of challenges varying from cyber threats to addressing workplace safety concerns, it becomes important for companies to safeguard the welfare of employees along with protecting their integrity. 

At AuthBridge, we recently conducted a webinar on Friday, March 26, 2024, where we explored the ever-changing landscape of background screening. Our webinar featured two esteemed speakers: Anil Dhar, SVP at AuthBridge and Himanshu Sonawane, Sr. Product Manager at AuthBridge.

Check out the full video here: Webinar | Evolving Landscape of Employee Background Screening

Here is a quick recap for you.

Evolution of Employee Background Screening

Initially, the process began as a simple reference check, where organizations would write to previous employers to inquire about new employees. However, over time, the process evolved significantly. 

According to Anil Dhar, “The US pioneered the concept of background verification, integrating it into the onboarding process, particularly as outsourcing became prevalent in the late 19th century. Companies like Infosys and TCS, engaging in US processes and technology, played a pivotal role in this evolution.

Until the mid-2000s, background verification remained largely confined to the outsourcing sector. However, as awareness grew regarding its importance and value, its adoption expanded. We at AuthBridge initiated our processes in 2005, initially facing the challenge of convincing people of the significance of background verification.

Anil shared, that initially, employees would submit documents to clients, who would then forward them to AuthBridge for verification. However, with technological advancements, verification processes streamlined and led to utilizing clients’ HRMS platforms for instant checks and background verification.

While the primary objective remains confirming candidates’ credentials, organizations now also seek to identify potential liabilities and red flags.

Latest Trends in the Background Verification Industry

The landscape of employee background screening has undergone significant changes in recent years, shifting from manual documentation to technology-driven processes. This evolution has been influenced by advancements in technology, including AI/ML and global market trends.

As Himanshu stated, “Over the past decade or so, there has been a huge increase in startups in India, growing from around 2.5 thousand to over 8 thousand. This growth, coupled with the rise of gig workers and entrepreneurs, has created a diverse employment landscape with unique success metrics. Technology has played a crucial role in enabling startups to onboard a large number of gig workers efficiently.” 

However, one challenge has been ensuring a smooth onboarding process for individuals with varying levels of education. With an increasing comfort in technology and a tech-first workforce,  companies have shifted towards fully digitized processes, integrating deeply with CRM or HRMS platforms. This allows for seamless verification of candidates before they are hired.

Looking ahead, the gig economy is expected to continue growing, with an estimated increase of 25 million gig workers in India by 2030. This projected growth underscores the importance of leveraging technology to streamline background verification processes and adapt to the evolving employment landscape.

Further, Anil discussed the evolution of background verification over the last 15-20 years and the emerging risks associated with it. While the primary objective remains confirming candidates’ credentials, companies are now also focusing on identifying potential problems or risks early on in the hiring process. 

However, the methods of verification have evolved significantly. In addition to verifying employment and educational details, organizations now also conduct social media checks on candidates’ social media platforms. Further, drug screening has gained traction as companies are looking for employee health screenings along with identifying employees with substance abuse issues.

Additionally, there is a growing demand for instant background verification. So, instead of spending days verifying a candidate’s background, organizations now seek instant checks to be conducted before making any hiring decisions. This trend highlights the importance of efficiency and timeliness in the screening process.

Challenges in Background Verification

During the webinar, we conducted a poll to identify the major challenges organizations face in background verification today. As per the results, data accuracy was one of the primary concerns, closely followed by BGV TAT (Turnaround Time).

Lack of data accuracy could be because of the reliability of BGV vendors and the quality of data sources. These sources, however, can vary, including government databases like the UIDAI. 

Another significant challenge that emerged from our discussion was poor turnaround time for the background verification. There is a growing demand for instant verification. Companies today are increasingly looking to mitigate risks even before extending job offers to employees, highlighting the need for pre-offer stage screening. This trend reflects a proactive approach to risk management in hiring, where organizations prioritize early detection of potential fraud or discrepancies.

Frequently Asked Questions

By standardizing processes and integrating technological advancements like AI intervention, AuthBridge aims to enhance fairness and mitigate biases in background screening.

Continuous background verification is a crucial practice for organizations aiming to maintain a secure workplace at all times. While employment and education checks remain constant throughout the process, other parameters such as location, address, and potential involvement in criminal activities can change over time. Court record checks are the most common checks that need to be monitored regularly.

When considering the costs associated with changing background verification (BGV) practices, it’s essential to analyze how these practices evolve from post-joining to pre-joining and profile creation stages. Take, for instance, an organization hiring 35,000 individuals, resulting in approximately 10 lakh profile creations. While additional modes may reduce costs per check, the overall expenditure remains significant due to the large number of profiles created. However, organizations are now transitioning towards initiating background verification processes at the time of profile creation itself. This shift may not necessarily reduce spending but ensures that verification procedures are integrated seamlessly into the hiring process, enhancing efficiency and accuracy while managing costs effectively.

With the shift towards remote work, technology has become instrumental in collecting candidate documents and details through various platforms and mobile-friendly applications. This technological advancement has greatly facilitated BGV procedures, ensuring efficiency and accessibility.

The remarkable increase in digitization over the past four years and its impact on remote work dynamics. Remote work has led to a significant rise in moonlighting, where individuals work additional jobs outside of their primary employment.

Integration of AI technology has revolutionized the verification process by automating certain checks. This reduces the need for extensive human intervention, enhancing efficiency and accuracy. For example, OCR technology is currently used to verify basic standard documents across various industries. However, with advancements in AI, future applications may extend to OCR verification for documents related to education and employment. AI will significantly enhance their capabilities, leading to more effective and thorough checks. Ultimately, the adoption of AI will revolutionize the verification landscape, transforming the way checks are conducted and ensuring greater accuracy and efficiency in the process.

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