Bill Cosby is everywhere in the news these days for all the wrong reasons. The list of women accusing Cosby of drugging and raping them is growing almost daily. The lessons we can learn and extrapolate from the entire sad situation are plentiful but there is one angle in particular that pertains to how employers handle negative information once they know about it.

Do they address the concerns right away, working to investigate the information and find the truth?

Do they choose to ignore the red flags and hope the situation plays out quietly?

In Cosby’s case, not only did producers move ahead with plans to put the comedian in another family-oriented sitcom after knowing about previous allegations stemming back several decades, so did NBC. As this article states, it wasn’t until public backlash reached cacophonous volumes that producers and execs took notice.

Here’s an excerpt:

I want to see the network take responsibility for ignoring these allegations until this week. I want some explanation from producers Mike O’Malley and Mike Sikowitz about why, exactly, they didn’t think they warranted consideration until it became a brand crisis. Or why network entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said allegations that Cosby drugged and raped more than a dozen women (“the other things”) would just “sort themselves out.”

How your company handles a crisis like this shows a lot about your corporate culture and character. In some cases, attempting to sweep a problem under the rug will only make it worse. And these days, chances are good… no, make that great… that you will get caught.

That’s why it’s so surprising, alarming even, to find out that so many top executives (CEOs!) are still making it to the top of the ladder without their credential being vetted. That’s right… a whopping 45% of HR leaders know organizations where CEO’s get less background screening than entry-level graduates.

This survey, though performed in and based on findings from the UK, says many CEOs take leadership without something as simple as their resume being verified. We’ve written about this before (Yahoo’s Scott Thompson) on ActiveCare, but this the first survey of its kind that’s really stopped us in our tracks because of the weight CEOs carry and the long-term impact they can impart on an organization.

If you think of Cosby as a CEO of NBC, his being offered another prime time position while other decision-influencers at NBC knew of his hidden reputation, you can see the long-term negative effects this can, will, and is having, on NBC. The whole thing – Cosby, NBC, and all the behind the scenes junk that went on and is going on – just feels icky. Imagine how your company would look if you promoted a CEO with a spotty reputation without investigating it first?

Background checks are a vital component to the health, longevity, reputation and security of any company. That big name companies like NBC, Yahoo and the others who participated in this study, are still missing (or worse, ignoring) this important should be a serious wake up call.

The good news is that it’s never too late to take ownership of your background check process or your reputation. Call and speak to one of our nationally accredited background check researchers today to find out about our effective and affordable list of screening services to fit any industry. If only NBC had done that with Bill Cosby, it could’ve made smarter decisions and might’ve saved itself a lot of public grief.

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