Our staff would like to introduce to a new contributing writer for this website.  His name is Michael W. Wanik, CPP, CBCP and the article he has submitted is entitled, “Should You Run Background Checks on New Employees?”  Several past postings on this website have often raised the point that employees play significant roles in the success or lack thereof of an organization’s business continuity or risk management plan.  With this point in mind, we welcome Mr. Wanik’s contribution to our website. 

Mr. Wanik’s article begins with the assumption that “…Although the average business owner is likely to consult with his financial officers before making major monetary decisions or check in with legal counsel before signing contracts, for some reason, he’s not nearly as likely to enlist the help of a professional firm prior to hiring new employees.” 

Read the rest of the article below …… 

“Should You Run Background Checks on New Employees?

 Michael W. Wanik, CPP, CBCP 

If you’re a business owner, then your days are probably filled with meetings, conference calls, and emails galore. No matter what size your company happens to be, if the responsibility to successfully run an entire business ultimately falls on you, then you’re no doubt likely to find yourself tasked with making some very important decisions on a regular basis.  

Fortunately, if you’re like most business owners, then you’ve probably hired a trusted support staff to aid in your company’s daily and long-term operations. From accounting experts to legal professionals, chances are that you’ve set up a system in which you can look to others for their educated opinions based on their particular areas of expertise.  

Although the average business owner is likely to consult with his financial officers before making major monetary decisions or check in with legal counsel before signing contracts, for some reason, he’s not nearly as likely to enlist the help of a professional firm prior to hiring new employees.  

Far too many business owners tend to make the mistake of hiring people somewhat blindly and then putting them in positions of trust. The problem with this approach is that often times, it only takes one person to pose a major threat to any given company, regardless of the position he’s brought in to fill. For this reason the best course of action for any business owner is to have background checks run on all candidates prior to extending offers of employment.  

While some might think that such added risk prevention measures are only necessary in certain high profile industries such as banking and healthcare, all types of businesses can benefit from running background checks on prospective employees. Obviously, the more responsibility a potential employee is going to be given in his eventual role, the greater the potential for risk exists. 

Those whose jobs will involve working with numbers, proprietary research and information, or patient records will clearly need to be scrutinized a bit more thoroughly than those being brought in to simply answer telephones and direct calls. However, business owners should still be aware that sometimes it’s the low profile employees who can end up causing the greatest amount of trouble.  

Of course, an employee background check also needs to come from the proper source. These days, it’s a bit too easy to log onto the Internet, pay a nominal fee, and uncover information about a person that may or may not be reliable. Trained investigators who can perform background screenings on potential employees identify points of concern, and offer suggestions as to when further investigation might be necessary is a better alternative. And though one might assume that the cost of opting for a professional personnel screening service is rather significant as compared to that of the Internet search; it really isn’t. While it is more than the $30 or $40 fee that a business owner might pay online, it’s certainly not a shocking figure given the amount of money it could save a company by way of loss mitigation.  

As a business owner, it’s important to always remember that hiring that wrong employee can cost you money in many ways, from lost opportunities to misappropriated funds. Keep in mind, too, that by handling potential employee background checks yourself, you could end up with erroneous information that might cause you to not extend an offer to a highly qualified individual – a fact that can constitute a major business mistake as well.  

We also welcome the comments and reactions of our readers to this article, and would ask that if applicable, please pass this information on to those business continuity and risk management planners and team members in your organization.

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