Most organizations conduct background checks as a condition of employment, before job candidates come on board. They review and verify a candidate’s background to ensure they are hiring the best candidate while also mitigating their risk. 

However, once they have joined the organization, employers typically cease worrying about that risk. But people and circumstances change. While an employee may excel at his or her sales job, would you know that their driver’s license was suspended a few months ago? What about the finance clerk who lost their home earlier in the year due to mounting debt?

Are these issues that concerned you when they were hired? If so, you won’t know about either of these situations unless you periodically re-screen your employees. More companies are conducting post-hire screenings, mainly to mitigate company risk by creating a more secure workforce and workplace. Consider post-screening as an effective risk-management tool since it offers the same valuable information about employees as when they were hired.

Over the years, people’s lives can veer off in many different directions. Even employees with exemplary job performance and a happy marriage can land in trouble years later with overwhelming problems that can even lead to criminal activity. Unfortunately, the headlines are filled with employee wrongdoings.

Don’t forget that these are the same individuals who also work side-by-side with other employees,deal with customers, sensitive information, or critical company resources on a day-to-day basis. 

An employer never wants to learn from a long-term customer about employee indiscretions or ethical lapses. This can destroy business relationships.

Then, there are employees who work with sensitive company data, patents or other intellectual property.

Without knowing about key changes in their lives – ranging from substance abuse issues, criminal convictions to debt accumulation– you’ll be unaware  about their potential for misusing or mishandling proprietary information.

Overall, the goal of re-screening  is to reveal any changes that impact employees’ ability to effectively perform their job.

Maybe their professional license was suspended or even revoked. Especially critical if they are a caregiver, nurse or physician.  It also holds them accountable for their actions. Knowing that a background check may be performed tends to motivate or encourage employees to report any potential issues to their boss or human resources.

The only question for debate isn’t whether or not to conduct background checks on existing employees but, how often. The frequency of background checks varies by job or industry. Some conduct annual routine checks for all employees, just like a scheduled performance review or pay raise. Others support a policy where a pool of employees are randomly selected for a repeat check several years after they’ve been hired.

It is critical you understand that the same regulatory standards must also be followed for re-screening, and you should have this stated in your overall background screening policy. Post-employment screenings must comply with the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, to include the Adverse Action Process if a background report reveals information that will negatively impact an employee’s job or employment status.

While the expense of follow-up background checks may be a concern, the cost is negligible compared to the exposure your company faces to long-term risk. This is one established approach that can help you build and maintain a safe, productive and reliable workforce.