As we head into a new year, there are new hiring challenges and demands in the workforce. Going on two years in a global pandemic, onboarding faces different trends that will take place in the background screening process.
Remote work has become commonplace, and businesses are also returning to in-person work. Employers are shifting many of the processes they used pre-pandemic. As an employer, you’ll want to continue to comply with screening laws. But what can you expect in 2022? Below you’ll find 10 background screening trends that may impact your business.
1. Legal Marijuana Legislation Continues to Impact Employer Policies
Last year, Nevada and New York City implemented a ban on pre-employment testing for marijuana. More than half the states have passed laws that make cannabis legal. For either medical or recreational use, or both. Employers are grappling with how to address legal marijuana in their drug screening programs.
Marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substance Act, making it illegal for any reason under federal law. Future case laws will address the uncertainty surrounding marijuana’s status as legal or not, CBD use, and an employer’s obligation to provide accommodations. These will provide additional direction to employers. In the meantime, many are opting to exclude the marijuana results in their drug screening reports.
2. Fair-Chance Hiring Makes Monitoring More Commonplace
Monitoring programs will be increasingly popular with employers, including second-chance (also called fair-chance) hiring programs. More employers are willing to hire applicants that have a criminal record. An estimated 70 million Americans have arrest or conviction records. These create significant barriers to reintegrating into society.
However, monitoring programs require continuous compliance. Employers must ensure that they have the employees’ consent to continue to conduct background screenings throughout their employment. Policies should clearly reflect when and why the screenings will occur and ensure it is applied equally to all employees.
3. Conflicting State and Local Laws will Continue to Challenge Employers
The rest of the world slowed down during the pandemic. But lawmakers passing legislation limiting information employers can obtain on potential hires did not.
New Ban the Box laws were enacted in St. Louis, Mo. In 2021, Michigan and California moved forward with DOB redaction legislation. Michigan’s new rule limits the personally identifiable information (PII) to verify identity. This will impact research and reporting. Its implementation is to be in January 2022. Once in effect, Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA’s) will not be able to verify the identity of a subject’s report.
4. Drug Screening Delays Will Continue
Continued recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 is impacting supply and laboratory staffing. Additionally, new protocols implemented at some labs have limited applicants’ options. These include no longer conducting Breath Alcohol Tests or Pulmonary Function Tests due to COVID restrictions. This has also created a demand for more oral fluid testing kits. This has increased demand on an already strained supply chain, making it difficult for employers to comply with their drug-free workplace policies.
The good news is that while there is still an ongoing impact on labs nationwide, they have addressed the rising backlog with additional hours, weekend shifts, and adding more staff to complete the testing.
5. County Reports May Continue to Be Delayed
Turnaround times on employment background checks have been significantly impacted this past year due to much of the same reasons that drug screening has been impacted. Reduced staffing at courthouses, courthouse locations remaining closed longer than others, shortened hours of operation, access issues, and a large backlog of requests have all impacted the turnaround times that employers receive reports. Some counties are still experiencing these significant delays, but most courthouses are back up and running.
6. Companies will be Looking at Screening their Vendors and Contractors
With companies of all sizes struggling with staffing issues, many will choose to outsource various functions of their business. In doing so, the need for a comprehensive screening policy to cover the third-party vendors and contractors with whom they work will be vital in protecting their interests. B2B fraud costs businesses billions of dollars each year. Unfortunately, it is becoming more common for the responsibility of workplace tragedies to fall on companies who have contracted employees from another company.
Going forward, companies will not only need to assess their own screening criteria, but also that of their vendors and contractors. In addition to checking the viability and any past litigation, companies are also taking steps to ensure the same criteria they use for their employees is applied. Whether it is for an employee vendor or independent contractor, it is crucial for consistency in keeping the company, its employees, and its customers safe.
7. Candidate Experience will Impact Successful Onboarding
It’s a job seeker’s market and many companies are struggling to find qualified workers for open positions. The candidate experience is becoming increasingly important to keep applicants engaged during the hiring process. Leveraging new technology and integrated systems—such as mobile-friendly apps and text-to-apply communications—help to speed the process and remove roadblocks for employers and applicants. Employers must also be cognizant of their online reputation on popular job boards such as Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor as applicants can post negative reviews of the hiring process.
8. PBSA Will Continue to Fight DOB Redaction Legislation
Legislation significantly impacting the screening industry and employers who run background checks continued through this past year. A change in court rules in Michigan that limits the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) provided by the courts is impacting public records research and reporting.
California has taken it a step further with a decision by its Court of Appeals that has resulted in CA courts refusing to respond to research requests, limiting the number of queries that can be made in person, and limiting the amount of PII provided when a potential record is found.
The Professional Background Screening Association is fighting the legislation on behalf of the screening industry.
9. Remote Workforce is Here to Stay
The pandemic caused companies to shift how they do business day-to-day, with many offices moving to a remote workforce. In a survey by PwC, 41% of remote workers do not want to go back into the office. Employers are adding flexible work schedules as a low-cost perk to attract and retain top talent. As with fair-chance hiring practices, monitoring programs are increasing in popularity with remote workforces.
10. Employers will Use CRAs More for Social Media Screening
Increasingly, employees are seen as the brand ambassadors of the company they work for and their online persona can reflect back on that company, especially for C-suite level executives and other management positions. Social Media Screening is on the rise for companies as they seek to protect their reputation and identify any potential red flags. Approximately 54% of hiring managers who screen candidates via social networks said they’d found information that causes them not to hire a candidate, according to a CareerBuilder survey.
However, social media screening can be a land mind for FCRA compliance issues when conducted in-house. Using a third-party background screening company can run the check and flag only information that falls within four reportable categories.
Background Screening for Your Company
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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For guidelines specific to your industry and locale, please contact your legal counsel.