Businesses have always looked to improve safety and reduce risk around their workplace. Indeed, ensuring safe facilities for both employees and customers is foundational to any commercial enterprise. “Safety” can mean different things for different industries:
- Restaurants take steps to only serve food that is clean and safe-to-eat.
- Construction and engineering firms source carefully their building materials to ensure structural stability and avoid customer exposure to toxic chemicals.
- Technology companies invest heavily in information security, keeping customer data safe from theft or abuse.
- Retailers need to ensure the products they sell are safe to be used, and they issue warnings and recalls when a product does not meet those standards.
But despite these differences among industries, the immediate, physical safety of all employees, contractors, volunteers, and customers is a must-meet standard.
This fundamental corporate responsibility is why 96% of employers conduct background checks. Pre-hire background screens keep potential bad-actors out of the workplace by confirming relevant employment, licenses, and education, and by identifying previous criminal activity or industry sanctions.
However, risk from employee criminal activity continues post-hire, despite the findings of a background check. This risk is why more companies are turning to post-hire continuous criminal monitoring. The product, which alerts employers to criminal activity among employees and contractors, is a critical risk mitigation tactic.
Companies that experience issues of workplace crime are exposed to the financial, legal, and reputational risk that comes with such an event. More importantly, they’ve failed to keep their employees and customers safe.
Let’s look at two key benefits of establishing a post-hire monitoring solution.
Keeping Employees and Customers Safe
Criminal activity within the workplace represents a significant threat to customers and employees.
There are more than 5,000 fatal workplace incidents annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (a 10% increase from 2013). Additionally, while the rate of nonfatal workplace injuries due to overexertion, falls, and equipment has decreased over the last five years, the rate of nonfatal injuries due to violence has remained steady.
Nationally, there were an estimated 1.2 million violent crimes in the United States, according to the FBI. Violent crime includes conduct like aggravated assault, robbery, manslaughter, and rape.
However, it’s not just violent crime that endangers employees and customers. Drug- and alcohol-related criminal activity can endanger employees and customers in a variety of scenarios:
- When organizations have a fleet of drivers, like utility companies, transportation companies, and taxi services.
- When organizations have employers operating heavy machinery like cranes or forklifts.
- When organizations have employers working directly with at-risk populations, like school systems, in-home service providers, and home healthcare companies.
In short, a broad variety of criminal activity poses active threats to the physical safety of employees, customers, and the broader public.
Post-hire criminal monitoring alerts employers in near-real time of relevant criminal activity from among their employee, contractor, or volunteer base. Equipped with this knowledge and in accordance with their internal policies, companies can take proactive action to keep customers and employees safe.
Maintaining a Positive Brand Image
Maintaining a positive brand reputation is crucial to the success and stability of an organization. Research has shown that a company’s reputation is responsible for 25% of its market value.
A single incident can quickly erode years of corporate brand marketing and messaging. Because brand reputation is highly correlated to financial, operational, and talent metrics, the cost of a well-publicized workplace incident is high. In fact, company reputation and sales are the two metrics most negatively affected by organizational crisis (source). According to the same survey, customer loyalty, productivity, share price, and regulatory action are also significantly impacted.
When brand reputation suffers, so do sales. Consider these stats:
- More customers’ purchase intentions are explained by their perception of the company than the perception of the particular product (source).
- 70% of consumers avoid purchasing a product from a company they don’t like (source).
- 69% of prospective employees are unlikely to accept a job offer from a company with a bad reputation, even if unemployed (source).
Post-hire continuous criminal monitoring empowers organizations to avoid these brand crises in two primary ways. Most importantly, criminal activity outside of the workplace is a strong indicator of potential crime or negligence at work. For example, employers can prevent tragedy by knowing a bus driver was arrested for a DUI, or an in-home healthcare employee was arrested for domestic assault.
In the event that a relevant workplace incident does occur, post-hire monitoring equips employers with the information they need to prepare an appropriate response. This is particularly powerful for large companies with many thousands of employees spread out across the U.S., or for those with high-profile executives. A near-real time incarceration alert (such as Continuous Watch) would give companies essential information as soon as possible about a potential incident. Then, following internal policies can help the company prepare for an internal investigation and P.R. strategy.