How to Maintain Employee Trust When Implementing a Continuous Background Screening Program
During the hiring process, you conduct interviews and background screening to learn about the qualifications and abilities of the individuals you hire. Once new hires begin work, continuous background screening can help you stay informed about employee activities and credentials that affect their employment. When implemented properly, a workforce monitoring program helps you continue employee background screening activities without violating employee trust or privacy.
Continuous background screening notifies you of any changes in employee histories or credentials, protecting you from unknowingly employing individuals that shouldn’t be in your workplace. In an industry such as healthcare, workforce background screening helps you protect patients by identifying individuals with suspended or revoked medical licenses and those with employment exclusions.
Benefits of Continuous Background Screening
After the initial pre-hire background check, you no longer have the same level of insight into individuals’ licensing and background—unless you continue to check. Continuous background screening provides added transparency about your workforce so you don’t get caught off-guard when an employee’s license expires or they’re convicted of a crime that would impact their employment.
Continuous background screening serves many organizational stakeholders, including employees, patients, customers, and visitors. Here are the things you can do with a continuous background screening program:
Identify Employment Sanctions and License Activity in Real-Time
When you employ individuals in a highly-regulated industry such as healthcare, you need to know whether you have sanctioned or improperly licensed employees in your workplace. To protect patients and others, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recommends consistent monitoring for employment sanctions.
To follow OIG guidelines and maintain a safe workplace, it’s important to recognize that consistent monitoring is not the same as continuous monitoring. One gives you periodic updates about new sanctions and license activity, while the other delivers real-time updates that enable prompt follow-up action.
While you might be conducting consistent and periodic monitoring of existing employees, there can still be a lag in identifying exclusion, debarments, or changes in licensing. For example, a monthly batch upload of exclusions and sanctions can miss important updates until the next monthly screen. Batch screening only checks for exclusions and license activity for one moment in time. In contrast, a continuous screening program gives you up-to-the-minute data from aggregated exclusion data sources, configured to the population groups within your organization.
Prevent Accidents or Inappropriate Behavior in the Workplace
Continuous background screening helps you protect employees and patients from undue accidents, injuries, or malpractice. You don’t want to be in the position of having an employee cause patient harm and discover later there was something about the employee’s license or past behavior that could have been picked up by a continuous monitoring program.
Continuous monitoring finds healthcare exclusions that you might now know about otherwise, including exclusions in other states. One physician voluntarily surrendered his medical license in three states after he performed botched surgeries, but was able to continue practicing medicine in a fourth state. A continuous monitoring program can tell you about license activity for employees in other states and provide updates on actions that occur after that person becomes your employee.
Meet Licensing Requirements for Promoted and Transferred Employees
Employees moving into a new position must meet the certification and licensing requirements for their new role. Continuous background screening provides a way to make sure they stay current in meeting the qualifications for their new position.
The licensing requirements for one role may or may not apply to another. For example, nursing assistants who obtain a registered nurse (RN) license and are promoted to nurse need to meet licensing requirements that weren’t necessary when they were hired. A continuous monitoring program helps you keep track of their new licensing requirements and upcoming license renewal dates.
Stay in Compliance with Screening Laws and Industry-Specific Guidelines
When you continually monitor the workforce for employment sanctions after the time of hire, you can help your organization stay in compliance and avoid fines, such as civil monetary penalties enforced by the HHS OIG. In 2018, the average fine for employing or contracting an excluded person was $126,738.
Continuous monitoring also helps you identify individuals who appear on sanction and exclusions lists such as:
- OIG’s List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE)
- General Services Administration’s (GSA) System for Award Management (SAM) database National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB)
- Healthcare Fraud and Abuse sanction histories
- State-specific exclusion lists
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) governs employer background checks across every industry. When you work with a screening provider who is a consumer reporting agency (CRA) acting in compliance with the FCRA, you can be assured that continuous monitoring protects your workforce and complies with consumer reporting laws.
How to Maintain Employee Trust with a Continuous Background Screening Program
Your continuous monitoring program should deliver employment sanction and license information without derailing employee trust. Here are the key actions you can take to implement a continuous background screening program without alienating the workforce:
Be Transparent About Program Objectives
When you start a continuous monitoring program, employees need to understand why you’re making the change and how it will impact their ongoing employment. You’ll need to explain the role of continuous monitoring in maintaining a safe work environment and keeping the organization in compliance with the laws governing your industry. Reassure employees that continuous background screening is intended to prevent accidents and penalties for noncompliance, and it is not a vehicle for terminating employees.
It’s hard to trust a process that appears to be haphazard or inconsistent. Employees can build trust in the continuous monitoring program when it is applied consistently to employees performing similar work. When you use the same continuous screening activities for all individuals within the same job types, for example, all nurses, you demonstrate objective and fair screening practices.
Explain the Screening Process
You can build employee trust by clearly communicating the screening process throughout the organization. Develop a screening policy that describes the following:
- Job types selected for screening
- Exclusion and license data sources
- Actions employees can take to facilitate screening
- Actions the organization will take based on screening results
Respect Employee Rights and Privacy
Your background screening program must always respect employee privacy and protect their rights. Before you begin continuous monitoring, you need to make legally required disclosures and get written employee consent before screening commences. When employees see the organization complying with all disclosure and authorization requirements, they can trust that the screening program will not violate their privacy or the right to receive screening information.
Safeguard Your Organization with a Continuous Background Screening Program
A continuous monitoring solution for healthcare delivers real-time notifications about employment exclusions and license activity so you can quickly take action when necessary. A powerful continuous screening solution delivers:
- Immediate access to employee exclusion data and license updates
- Tools for roster management and search across employee population groups
- Dashboards to view the workforce by monitoring status and action history
Having a workforce monitoring program doesn’t have to mean that you sacrifice employee morale or trust. If you want to protect employees and patients, select a real-time continuous monitoring solution that gives you transparency and accelerated workforce decision-making.