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Background Check Evolution: From Hiring Requirement to Hiring Strategy (Part 2)

New study reveals eye-opening shifts in employer views on screening standards (Part 2 of 2)

In Part 1 of this series, we shared ways employers are viewing background screening more strategically, based on the results of a recent Aptitude Research study.

Specifically, they’re using it to improve hiring quality, with 82 percent of participants in the study reporting background screening as their greatest area of investment in talent acquisition. Here, we share what those same employers report as the surprising benefits of strategic background screening, and offer key recommendations for moving forward with a more purposeful background screening solution.
Can background checks spark improved performance? You bet!
Instead of considering background checks a necessary hiring expense, companies participating in the 2016 Aptitude Research Higher, Engage, Retain study say they’re using it more strategically to boost performance in two key areas: 1) quality of hire; and 2) quality of the candidate experience. As a result, it’s helping them efficiently identify and hire candidates who are more likely to contribute to organizational performance and growth, while also helping them create a more consistent and candidate-friendly experience that can attract and retain the best talent.

Here’s the best part. Their thoughtful approach to background checks is delivering big results. To begin with, organizations that track quality of hire and candidate experience are 26 percent more likely to have a background screening program, according to the study. In addition to other key benefits from background screening, things like risk mitigation, increased workplace safety, improved hiring compliance, companies participating in the study were also:

  • Twice as likely to have above average levels of employee engagement
  • 34 percent more likely to have below average turnover
  • 44 percent more likely to have a shorter time to hire than industry competitors

Employee retention, diversity and collaboration were other surprising areas of improvement. Compared to organizations without a background check program, companies that perform background screening are three times less likely to lose employees for jobs of equal pay and two times more likely to invest in diversity efforts. What’s more, the study also shows that an overwhelming 78 percent of those companies are improving communication within their hiring teams, compared to 38 percent of companies that don’t perform background checks.

Looking ahead: 93 percent of top-performing companies are doing this
Of the top-performing companies with 80 percent of employees hitting their performance goals and a 90 percent retention rate for high-potential hires, a stunning 93 percent either currently invest in a purposeful background screening program or plan to invest in one this year, according to the study. This begs the question: are there any lessons they can share with other companies looking to follow in their footsteps? The answer is a resounding yes.

Here are a few quick recommendations from the study to help organizations interested in erecting a more strategic background screening program, or revising an existing one.

Find the right background screening partner and invest in them. The big idea here is trust, expertise and experience. Look for screening partners who bring these things to the table, in addition to other differentiators noted in the study such as seamless global access, worldwide compliance support, automated processes, integrated candidate communication for missing information and adjudication flags that promote consistent responses to discrepancies.

Implement a program to measure and track quality of hire. If you want to improve the quality of your hires, this is your essential starting point. By better understanding what’s happening across your organization, you can then take steps to improve it. The study suggests using common measurements such as first-year performance and retention rate, and hiring manager satisfaction.

Consistency is key when it comes to the candidate experience. According to the study, routine feedback and process consistency are valued by candidates during the hiring process, which means that companies looking to improve the candidate experience should be sure to engage candidates in the process and provide them with regular feedback.

Now that you’re invested, take the time to regularly evaluate your efforts. Considering the positive impact a background check program can have on hiring and talent acquisition, routinely evaluate it as a strategic initiative using measurements such as turnaround times, user satisfaction and hit rates.
To read the complete results and overview of the 2016 Aptitude Research Higher, Engage, Retain study, please click here.

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