COVID-19 pose disruption in background check process of new hires, says report

68 per cent of respondents faced challenges in completing background verifications during the lockdown.

With the COVID-19 pandemic posing challenges to traditional practices of onboarding new hires, a majority of and there is a rising trend of negative corroboration, according to a report by consultancy firm EY.

As per EY Forensic and Integrity Services’ report – Digital transformation drives employee background checks in the new normal – the pandemic’s striking effect on organizations continue to challenge human resource (HR) functions, thereby making the case for use of technology assets and tools for employee background checks a priority.

“Disruption during COVID-19 lockdown proved onerous as traditional practices were inadequate when onboarding new hires. 68 per cent of respondents faced challenges in completing background verifications during the lockdown while only 32 per cent leveraged technology tools as an alternate mode of verification,” it said. The report further said that 72 per cent of the respondents felt technology could be leveraged to digitize records, while 66 per cent highlighted its use for preliminary assessment of employee credentials, and 56 per cent pointed to automating processes.

“A rising trend of negative background verification is concerning, with 96 per cent stating that they experienced failures in up to 10 per cent of the background checks conducted on existing or new employees,” it said. Some of the most common reasons were incorrect employment records (87 per cent), false education history (45 per cent), and undisclosed termination by previous employers (44 per cent), the report added.”Pre-employment checks are still not an industry-wide practice, only 45 per cent considered it mandatory before a new employee is given active business responsibilities,” it further added.

When it comes to leveraging technology tools and solutions as an alternative, only 32 per cent of the respondents said that their organizations could leverage technology tools as an alternate mode of verification during the lockdown.

Commenting on the findings, EY, Forensic & Integrity Services, Global Markets, and India Leader Arpinder Singh said, “The lessons learned from the current crisis outline a dire need for a dynamic and automated work model for talent teams. While business continuity and employee safety have been the core focus, leaders need to pivot and recraft HR strategies, right from the fundamentals of hiring to virtual onboarding, training, and skilling their employees.”

“The adoption of next-generation technologies for employee background checks will be invaluable, can enable to hire deserving and ethically sound individuals quickly and at the same time, protect organizational culture and reputation”, he further added.

EY Forensic & Integrity Services had conducted a survey with over 115 senior HR executives from Indian and multinational corporations for the report.

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