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Incident Prevention Techniques: Background Investigations

Jim Schumann

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December 27, 2018

Incidents of workplace violence are a major concern for any organization. Yet although there are many effective incident prevention techniques, some key tactics are frequently underutilized. One such prevention strategy is the practice of conducting background investigations. Through the use of background investigations, your organization can reduce the risk of workplace incidents by ensuring you know exactly who you're hiring and having access to detailed and thorough information on the individuals present within your organization.

Why Background Investigations?

Background investigations are the cornerstone of public institution on-boarding processes. Particularly within government entities, incorporating background checks for new employees is common practice. Today, many private companies are now also regularly conducting candidate screenings and background investigations due to an increased emphasis on workplace safety.

Background investigations can mean the difference between hiring an ideal candidate who's the right fit and someone who will not last more than a year—or worse, someone who will be detrimental to your organization's goals and safety. Asking the right questions, gathering good references, and gaining visibility into a candidate's background (criminal or otherwise) helps paint a clearer picture of the people you're considering welcoming into your organization.

By creating a record of your employees for future use, background investigations enable you to work proactively to minimize risk and reduce liability. Utilizing advanced reporting software to collect background information into an employee log creates a centralized, comprehensive view of past employee experience, issues, and incidents to inform further action and provide additional context, if needed.

How to Successfully Incorporate Background Investigations Into Your Hiring Process

Security departments that conduct background investigations require adequate bandwidth to properly carry out each investigation. Occasionally, during the investigation process, information may arise that requires further context and possible explanation from the potential candidate. Without the proper software, methods, and processes in place, background investigations often take more time and resources than anticipated. With the use of advanced software, your team will be equipped with the necessary resources to gather the appropriate information and record it in a secure and easily accessible database.

When new positions are listed, work with your HR department to develop questions that are legal, in depth, and specific to the job requirements. Typical details recorded for pre-employment background investigations include past work references, non-vehicular tickets or violations, and relevant past experience. Prior to beginning any new investigation, be sure to review your state's regulations on background checks as the rules vary greatly.

Once a full investigation is complete, your organization will have a comprehensive view of the person being hired—and the data to back it up. Gaining this knowledge helps reduce your organization's liability and ensure compliance with certain regulations.

The key difference between a simple, box-checking investigation and an in-depth one is whether or not the information you gain remains available and actionable in the future. Advanced reporting software provides you with the ability to compile full employee reports that are private, secure, and compliant. In the future, if additional information on an employee's history is needed, or a complaint has been filed against that person, your incident reporting software provides instant access to key details to be used for reference and analysis—an important step in preventing future incidents.

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