Local news

Organisation recommends strong background checks before hiring

"Failing to check the credentials and qualifications of new hires can result in major reputational damage to organisations."

“Organisations are prioritising background screening and talent management solutions in their efforts to identify top talent and manage the risks associated with hiring new people.”

This is according to Jennifer Barkhuizen, Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE) head of marketing.

Barkhuizen said this is one of the main take-outs from last year’s Annual Background Screening Index by MIE, which identifies various background screening and vetting trends in South Africa’s evolving employment landscape.

In 2023, MIE completed 3 210 763 background screening transactions for companies throughout Southern Africa, significantly up from 2022, indicating a growing demand for solutions that help organisations find the best talent with the right skills for the job.

Barkhuizen said the increase in volume from 2022 is reassuring, especially in light of the high-profile cases of misrepresentation that have made media headlines in recent months.

ALSO READ: East Rand Business Women host business empowerment meeting

“It is evident that failing to check the credentials and qualifications of new hires can result in major reputational damage to organisations.

“That is why, at MIE, we pride ourselves on our ability to assist organisations in pursuing industry-leading hiring practices,” said Barkhuizen.

“Notably, the most requested checks submitted to MIE for 2023 were criminal record checks, followed by qualifications checks, identity checks, adverse financial history checks, fraud listing and employment history checks,” she added.

According to Barkhuizen MIE recorded a 13% increase in risk associated with background screening year on year.

“This means various discrepancies were uncovered when verifying credentials, or the credentials could not be verified.

“For example, we recorded a 23% increase in requests submitted for employment history checks in 2023, but discrepancies uncovered when conducting employment history checks were high, at more than 30%,” she added.

The report also identifies regulatory changes compelling players in various industries to be more vigilant about their screening processes.

In March 2023, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) issued a directive making it obligatory for accountable institutions, including legal firms, real estate agencies, financial service providers, and other entities specified in Schedule 1 of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), to conduct regular screenings of potential and existing employees.

This measure aims to ensure that these professionals uphold the highest standards of competence and integrity.

ALSO READ: Murder accused businessman, Anton Bouwer in court today

The 2022 amendment to the Criminal Law Sexual Offenders and Related Matters Amendment Act, No 32 of 2007, required various industries, including education and healthcare, to check whether employees or potential employees are listed on the National Register for Sexual Offenders (NRSO).

“This is to ensure that individuals hired to work with children or vulnerable persons are not registered sex offenders, enhancing the protection of these groups.

“The index also highlights a growing interest in social media screening and how more companies are looking to screen potential new hires on various social media platforms.”

Barkhuizen said social media has changed how people interact, consume news, shop and recruit.

“Social media screening can provide additional information on an individual. It can help identify an individual’s likes and hobbies, or it can highlight unprofessional or inappropriate behaviour that companies may not want to associate with.”

ALSO READ: Can IT Companies make your business POPI compliant?

In 2023, industries that requested the most significant number of social media screening checks came from the government, followed by the finance, banking and insurance, professional business and advisory services.

The automotive industry carries the highest risk for adverse financial history (credit check) verifications, reflecting South Africa’s depressed economy and its citizens’ challenges in meeting their financial commitments.

Additionally, integrity testing takes the top spot regarding assessment and talent management solution requests.

“While integrated competency assessments remain the most requested, integrity assessments stand out as the most requested individual evaluation in our portfolio.

“This trend has persisted over several years and underscores the continued emphasis placed by organisations on ensuring ethical standards and trustworthiness within their workforces,” said Barkhuizen.

Barkhuizen said MIE uses innovative smart vetting solutions and extensive industry knowledge to help clients with all their background screening and vetting requirements.

“Looking ahead, we expect organisations to prioritise workforce agility to prosper and excel. To foster this agility, talent leaders will likely implement coaching, upskilling and internal mobility to address evolving demands.

“To ensure they make informed decisions in this dynamic space, companies are expected to opt for comprehensive background screening and talent management solutions to get a better understanding of an individual, as well as to streamline the recruitment process,” she concluded.

Kempton Express News Channel: https://whatsapp.com/channel/0029VaFCgQQ4NViqzTKFGb31

 
Back to top button