The pursuit of new markets is part of many companies’ long-term growth strategy, as is global expansion. From small businesses to enterprise firms, the key is to involve people. Companies need to be able to create a viable strategy for hiring, managing and keeping people — wherever they expand to. But that’s not a simple task.
Is there a common global hiring strategy?
There are numerous challenges in hiring employees globally — including local employment laws and regulations, differing cultures and expectations, and different languages. When it comes to background screening, it turns out that not very many companies are prepared to meet the challenges of global hiring. And that can mean a critical gap — in time-to-hire, in number of successful hires and in getting a new global location up and running.
What’s the answer? Global background-screening platforms that help companies put all the pieces together in one integrated system. It’s a vital part of a coherent and effective HR strategy. But HireRight’s Employment Screening Benchmark Survey for 2018 found that background checks are not being used nearly enough for either global employees based in the U.S. or employees based outside the U.S. This is a survey of more than 6,000 human resources professionals. The results are telling:
- Only 16 percent of respondents said they verify the international background of U.S.-based employees.
- Fifteen percent said they screen employees based outside of the United States — a 2 percentage-point increase since last year, yet still down 4 percentage points from 2016.
Despite global expansion and an extremely tight job market, we’re doing less to screen employees outside the U.S. than before. Few organizations have developed a formal global screening policy, yet 66 percent of those HR professionals said they struggle with finding qualified candidates, and 55 percent struggle with employee turnover. We know that background checks enable companies to make better hires. The survey found that 84 percent of employers, global or not, benefit substantially from background checks.
But there’s more to it than that, particularly in the context of global hiring. Too many companies expand without a game plan in place on background screening — and no matter where they are, candidate expectations include being able to apply and communicate via social media and mobile and not having their applications stuck in neutral over stalled paperwork. If you have problematic screening processes, there will no doubt be another employer that offers a far better experience. And we know that experience is a key driver not just of candidate experience, but of employee engagement once hired.
So here are three essential elements to look for when tackling background screening for your global hiring.
From a managerial perspective, it’s imperative to have a way to handle the increasing complexity of global background checks. One effective strategy is to partner with a highly capable background screening firm. There are a number of advantages to doing this, but a key factor is that global expansion often creates not only administrative redundancy but a whole range of unintended gaps and inconsistencies, depending on the location.
When a corporation can partner with an outside provider and integrate a background-screening platform into existing functions, that provider should also have the expertise with regards to its data handling requirements in a range of locations, yet be able to bring all functions into a universal user experience. Consistency across the board, no matter whether it’s in Kansas, Hong Kong or Madrid, may save litigation headaches later.
Laws and regulations are markedly different depending on where you’re hiring. Ambitious companies need and deserve to be able to hire a global workforce and answer to local compliance and regulatory changes. This means a screening program that can be tailored to answer to the unique laws, cultures and languages of any location is vital — but so is a program that can change and scale with the company, offering the same results and increased quality of hire, safety, security, regulatory compliance and employee retention, no matter the scenario.
Each company has different preferences as to the way it wants background screening conducted and delivered, and different policies for the how, why and what of background screening. But a fractured approach that reaches back toward the paper-heavy ways of the past to cover global needs won’t work. Companies need increasingly efficient tools to function in this intensely competitive job market — where complexity has multiplied due to both global expansion and sourcing international talent.
One single platform that can handle the company’s needs, adapt to changing laws and regulations, and deliver accurate screening and usable, meaningful data on the entire process is the answer.
These three C’s should be essential qualities in your chosen background-screening platform. Look for a suite of powerful functions, able to do the heavy lifting for you, including reaching out into databases, public media and local criminal records as available in over 100 countries to provide clear answers as quickly as possible. Global coverage isn’t about being spread thin and having to resort to redundant tools to cover all your bases. It’s about meeting all your needs efficiently — managing costs while delivering accuracy, so you can make great hires, offer a smooth and fluid candidate experience no matter the language or location or culture, and feel secure that when it comes to global background screening, you’ve got it covered.