The groundbreaking events of 2020—including the COVID-19 pandemic, a contentious general election, and a roller-coaster economy, to name a few—will shape the workplace in 2021.
As states pass new laws affecting hiring and background screening, remote work will continue to impact hiring, screening, and talent management processes. Although 2020 put a damper on organizational growth plans and hiring, there will be new opportunities to hire and screen talent successfully in 2021.
Here are the top trends employers can expect to affect hiring and screening in 2021.
Visit each trend and hover over the available links for more resources on the topic:
“Ban the box” legislation requires employers to remove questions about a candidate’s criminal history from job applications and, in most cases, wait until later in the selection process before conducting a criminal background check. Thirty-five states and hundreds of local municipalities have passed “ban the box” laws, and more are likely to follow. In 2021, a new “ban the box” law will go into effect in St. Louis, Missouri. Additionally, the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act, covering all federal employers and contractors, goes into effect in December 2021.
100s local municipalities
have passed “ban the box” laws
As states continue to legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, organizations will need to consider how those changes will impact drug screening policies and practices. In addition to the more than 30 states with some form of marijuana legalization, more changes are coming, for example:
New Jersey has legalized recreational marijuana effective January 2021, and governors in states such as New York and Connecticut have expressed support for doing so in 2021.
In December 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to decriminalize marijuana. If signed into law, the bill will end a federal ban on marijuana and create a pathway to expunge former convictions from individual criminal records.
As of February 2021, Oregon residents may legally possess small amounts of a range of illegal drugs, including heroin and cocaine.
To address concerns about the disproportionate rate of criminal convictions among minority groups, newly elected politicians are likely to revise conviction guidelines for certain crimes. For example, President Joe Biden supports the passage of the SAFE Justice Act, which would pursue sentencing reform, provide convicted individuals with more second chances, and reduce the prison population. Any changes in how crimes are prosecuted and convicted will certainly impact the criminal history information employers may consider in criminal background checks.
Given the likelihood many positions will remain remote and budgets may be strained after a rough 2020, the need to manage talent efficiently from any location will persist in 2021. To find success in the midst of COVID-19 and beyond, organizations will need to do the following:
Follow new and changing legal requirements for COVID-19 symptom and diagnostic testing for employees
Leverage new technology and processes for remote hiring and onboarding
Rescreen employees who are returning to work after an extended absence
Manage ongoing hiring risk by extending background screening to the contingent workforce
According to a recent Corporate Screening survey, HR professionals found budget reductions to be the second greatest concern during COVID-19, after concerns about staffing uncertainties. To manage hiring risk on a thin budget, without compromising compliance and quality, organizations can take the following steps when planning background screening costs:
Anticipate future hiring needs through a robust workforce planning process
Periodically review your background screening program for efficiency and compliance
Avoid pricing gimmicks such as product bundles
Expect your background screening provider to offer best practices and guidance to help you make the most of your background screening budget
History has shown unemployment rates fluctuate over time, and they are likely to bounce back in 2021. In fact, the Federal Reserve has projected unemployment rates will fall to as low as 5.5 percent by early 2021. As a coronavirus vaccine becomes available and unemployment rates approach pre-pandemic levels, employers will benefit from hiring and screening practices aimed at rebuilding talent pipelines and improving the candidate experience.
It’s no secret healthcare workers have been invaluable during the biggest public health crisis of our time. However, as the continued retirement of baby boomers converges with burned-out nurses retiring at greater rates, there will be another healthcare crisis on the horizon: a continued shortage of healthcare talent. As a result, healthcare employers will need to take the following actions to attract, screen, and hire healthcare talent:
Modern technology has transformed background screening from a time-consuming manual process to one offering actionable background data and quick turnaround times. New advances in 2021 and beyond will include: