Like all solid relationships, your relationship with your employees is built on mutual trust forged over years or even decades. In many cases, the relationship is so strong that it lasts far beyond an employee’s last day. This makes services such as employment verification more critical than ever.
Employment verification, in its simplest form, confirms an employee’s current or past employment. There are two key reasons why employment verification is performed:
- If your role involves hiring or talent management, then pre- employment background checks are needed to verify candidate credentials and/or eligibility to work in the United States.
- Assisting a current or former employee to verify employment so that:
- A bank or mortgage lender can use this information during the approval process;
- A background check company can verify a former employee’s credentials as part of the hiring process for a new job; or
- A government agency can use this information to determine approval of a government assistance application.
Millions of employment verifications are completed annually, many taking days or weeks to complete due to overworked and understaffed HR departments. Delays in the employment verification process lead to unhappy employees which, at best, leads to lost productivity.
It’s the Little Things
As the common expression says, “It’s the little things that matter.” This sentiment applies to all relationships, including the relationship between an employer and an employee. Employee retention is always a factor weighing on the minds of HR departments — and that has only been magnified in a strong economy. Forward-thinking employers include the core benefits but also include beneficial programs that handle the little things that make employees’ lives easier, such as employment verification. As an employer that works hard on identifying and retaining employees, do you really want to keep your employees on hold for days or weeks to complete one of the most important events of their lives?
All successful employment verification programs have the aforementioned components: automation, security and cost effectiveness.
With an automated employment verification process in place, all involved parties can benefit quickly. Verifiers such as banks or mortgage lenders can instantly confirm employment information and the validity of the data, so the loan/ mortgage or refinancing process can be completed quickly. Employees can determine exactly when their employment verification was submitted and the status of the process. Meanwhile, the employer can focus on other critical areas of business instead of micromanaging the employment verification process with full- or part-time staff.
Automating the process also benefits government verifiers that require specific information to enable employees to receive government assistance, including Medicaid, food stamps, Social Security, child support and housing assistance. Government agencies utilizing an automated process have the additional benefit of being able to expedite assistance requests. This is because the government agencies will no longer require additional information on separate occasions to fulfill an employee’s request, as they will be able to receive all necessary information in one report. An additional benefit to this is being in full compliance with government regulations.
All successful employment verification programs must focus on security. This includes making sure that all employer and employee information is protected and only provided on an as-needed basis to credentialed verifiers. Additionally, all transactions must be logged to ensure a complete audit trail.
Some questions to answer to ensure you have a secure program include:
- Are we meeting all Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliance requirements?
- Which HR forms can be automatically populated with employee data?
- What data must be included on employment verification reports?
- What data can be excluded from employment verification reports?
- What data security protocols are in place?
- How are phone-based requests processed?
- How do we make sure we know the verifier is legitimate?
- Is employee data being shared by the verifier with debt collectors?
Some companies choose to outsource their employment verification process, as they realize the complexity involved in creating and maintaining a secure program. If you decide to outsource to an employment verification provider, in addition to asking the preceding questions, make sure to ask the following questions to the vendors as well:
- Can we use an existing payroll file format?
- How quickly are verification requests handled?
- Do you offer customizable reporting?
- How transparent is your process?
- Do employees have visibility into the verification process?
- Has your company ever experienced a Personal Identifiable Information data breach? If so, how was it handled?
- Are you sharing employee data with debt collectors or skiptracing companies?
- Is there ever a cost to the employer or employee?
- What type of training and support is available?
If you decide to use an employment verification vendor, be sure to review your contract to ensure that your data belongs to you. Also, be sure that you understand how your vendor is managing your payroll data. Some employment verification vendors allow unlimited access to your data to debt collectors or other verifiers you may not be aware of. Anytime unlimited access is allowed by a customer of your vendor, then all of your data may be at risk.
Finally, review which solution works best for your organization. Some companies choose an alternative to managing their own process or outsourcing, including working with a vendor on customizing an employment verification solution for your specific needs, or utilizing the vendor’s system but with additional security options in place. For example, you may decide to restrict what data is accessed as well as how it’s accessed and by whom. Employee IDs can be utilized to fulfill verification requests instead of Social Security numbers and restrictions put in place to ensure that only certain verifiers can access employment verification requests.
Successful employment verification programs must be cost effective if they are to remain successful. This is because economic conditions change and if your employment verification program is too costly, its budget may be cut. That can lead to the unvirtuous circle of delayed responses to employment verification requests leading to employee unhappiness and lack of retention and, finally, poor satisfaction with your HR department.
Fortunately, establishing a successful program does not need to be cost prohibitive. Automating a secure solution for your employer or outsourcing for free with an employment verification provider is easier than ever. This is especially true with ongoing reviews of the program that ensure that all associated program costs are minimized or completely removed.