Author: Akansha

Employee Background Verification – Discrepancy Statistics for May 2017

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Here are the high level monthly discrepancy statistics for May 2017.

We observed that 0.5% of the overall number of cases had discrepancies (could be major or minor).Image 1

Next, let us look at the breakup of the discrepancies to identify further which types of components (checks) were the source of these discrepancies. These discrepancies were in education verification accounting for 0.5% of the total discrepancies.
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Rise of the ‘learning & development’ renaissance

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Blog Image“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage” — Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO

People often use the terms ‘training’ and ‘learning and development’ interchangeably, but they mean different things. Training is a sub-set of learning and development. Training was a terminology used in yesteryears, we now use the term – ‘learning and development’. I had once asked a trainer during a training session, why you use, learning and development instead of training. The L&D Manager said to me – “Training is for dogs, you’re a manager, it’s learning and development for you.” That stuck to me! It registered that training is one dimensional, whereas learning and development is a multi-dimensional approach to human resource development. To break it down further – learning is a process of acquiring knowledge, development is a process of applying the knowledge and converting it into a skill, training is a process in which an attempt is made to impart the knowledge, having said that, they both are inextricably linked to each other. So we too have to make that transition in our minds.

Over the years L&D has redefined itself, recharged and emerged stronger than before. Companies are allocating higher budgets to L&D departments, more man hours are being assigned to them and across industries L&D is being taken seriously. We have even found ways to find out ROI (return on investment) of our training sessions.

Most organization adopt a top-down approach for L&D. L&D is no longer about shuffling people through formal training courses, but about providing the tools to access a variety of informal learning on their own. Workplaces are now using mobile videos, social discussion forums to even VR (Virtual Reality) to impart learning. Gone are the conventional instructor-led classrooms, instead we now read about new learning formats like talk shows and learning festivals.

As virtual reality devices are becoming more common and more affordable, the use of virtual training will expand, enhancing learning experiences in every industry in 2017. Also, YouTube is an incredible resource for many reasons, but when it comes to learning one stands out in particular: just-in-time learning (JIT). The platform is the perfect example of quick, easily accessible learning that’s available at all times.

2016 marked the shift toward mobile, device-friendly systems for delivering a growing majority of learning content. This will continue to expand in 2017. Mobile learning comes with the unique benefits of flexibility, portability, and accessibility.

We also have to bear in mind that learning is contextual. Employees want their training to look and feel like their day-to-day working, so they can see exactly how to apply new knowledge and skills situationally. This improves productivity, performance, sales – and therefore, your bottom line.
I had spoken of ROI earlier on. The focus is no longer on training completion rates, but on the measurable business impact of training. What’s your organizations training ROI? The general benefits of training are undisputed: greater productivity, improved customer retention, increased sales, higher employee engagement, etc. But are you measuring them?

To measure specific KPIs, identify them before creating your training program. Ensure the metrics are measurable. You could maybe incorporate a balance scorecard matrix. I have worked on a balance scorecard matrix and totally vouch for it. You need to integrate a testing function into the program, to see how your training is benefiting your operations and your employee’s morale.
So, gone are the days when we witnessed – When the going gets tough, it’s time to cut the training budget. Today L&D is an integral part of every organizations growth and imperative for its success. The world around us is causing your Learning and Development department to be more important than ever. So take it seriously!

Take note of the rise of the ‘learning & development’ renaissance.

Employee Background Verification – Discrepancy Statistics for April 2017

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Here are the high level monthly discrepancy statistics for April 2017.

We observed that 3.3% of the overall number of cases had discrepancies (could be major or minor).1

Next, let us look at the breakup of the discrepancies to identify further which types of components (checks) were the source of these discrepancies. These discrepancies were in education, address and employment checks, with employment verification accounting for 62.5% of the total discrepancies. Education verification accounted for 25% and address check accounted for 12.5% of the total discrepancies.
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Be careful not to be penny wise, pound foolish – Invest in background screening!

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Blog ImageTake care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves! Never have truer words been said. Sometimes we focus on the pennies we save; little realizing, cutting corners now, may cost us a lot more in due course of time. Well, that’s a lesson we all learn somewhere down the road.

Uber learnt this lesson the hard way, when they had to fire their Senior Vice President of Engineering, Amit Singhal. The aforementioned employee did not disclose the reason for him leaving Google in his application – sexual harassment charges were levied against him at Google. Infosys has terminated the employment of hundreds of employees due to discrepancies in their resumes. TCS has fired several employees when their resumes were found to be fudged. I’m already trying to approximately evaluate how much this must have cost these employers per candidate that they released.

Just last month, two startups faced a severe setback here in India. The founder of Viral fever’s sexual harassment charges came to light. The controversial shutdown of Stayzilla was in the news last month following the arrest of the co-founder and CEO. Both these startups were backed up by prestigious investor firms. Now, even investors will work out the due diligence before backing entrepreneurs.

We have to understand that carrying out background checks is not merely a routine HR practice but forms a significant part of pre-employment screening. This cannot be done by just anyone; it has to be entrusted to professionals who specialize in background screening. HR professionals often feel the need to get these checks done only for their permanent employees and probationers. Why leave out the trainees, fixed term contract staff, vendors, job contract workers, labor contract workers and others whom we work with.

I feel we don’t take these checks very seriously, as there is no statutory requirement of background screening in our Indian laws. However, the Indian association of professional background screeners lists the below mentioned checks to be carried out to authenticate the antecedents of a candidate:-

1. Address verification
2. Employment verification
3. Education verification
4. Reference checks
5. Global data base check
6. Criminal background check
7. Drug testing and
8. Credit checks

Did you know – the RBI issued notices to banks requiring them to conduct background checks of all the personnel recruited as dealers? The legal profession has also clearly stated in Section 24A of the Advocates Act, 1961 that no person shall be admitted as an advocate on a state roll if he is convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude.

Furthermore, background screening is mandatory for Indian companies to get an ISO 27001 certification. According to a study done by the US Small Business Administration, for every dollar an employer invests in employment screening, the return on investment ranges from $5-16, resulting from improved productivity, reduced absenteeism, lower turnover and decreased employer liability.

Generally, the most common reason among organizations for not conducting background checks is cost. However, the cost of background checks represents a fraction of the cost of – terminating an employee’s service, re-recruiting, re-hiring and re-training.

So let’s be penny wise and save our pounds! After all, a stitch in time saves nine

Employee Background Verification – Discrepancy Statistics for March 2017

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Here are the high level monthly discrepancy statistics for March 2017.

We observed that 1.7% of the overall number of cases had discrepancies (could be major or minor).
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Next, let us look at the breakup of the discrepancies to identify further which types of components (checks) were the source of these discrepancies. These discrepancies were in education and employment checks, with education and employment discrepancies accounting for 50% each of the total discrepancies.

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Another arrow in our quiver – Aadhaar e-verification

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The government of India embarked on an ambitious journey of delivering a grand project to the citizens of the country. The endeavour was of providing a unique identity to the residents of India. With more than a billion people already enrolled in the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) – Aadhaar is increasingly becoming a standard resident authentication and e-KYC. It has been touted as India’s biggest welfare legislation. Aadhaar number is to India what social security number is to the US.
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The government is already making Aadhaar a de facto resident identification means and has already made it essential for availing many of its services.

Aadhaar aims to give a 12-digit unique identity number to all the residents by collecting their fingerprint and iris scans. Our Aadhaar number is a unique 12-digit random number issued to the residents of India after adhering to the verification process laid down by the Authority. Any individual, irrespective of age and gender, who is a resident of India, may voluntarily enroll to obtain an Aadhaar number. I too patiently stood in the long queues when the process of issuance had commenced.

As of September 2017, its database, maintained by the Unique Identification Authority of India, held the names, addresses and biometric information of more than 105 crore people.

Today Aadhaar verification is proving to be a vital tool in the process of verification. In fact not only corporate but even individuals can avail of this instant service – Aadhaar e-verification. It can also be used for the domestic help segment (maids, cooks, drivers and guards). In fact Aadhaar verification can also be used to verify tutors, hobby teachers and gym instructors. We can verify almost any individual weather a corporate worker or a household worker based on his/her Aadhaar card number.

Technology enables us in so many varied ways; today you can instantly verify via e-verification with JantaKhoj InfoServices. The turnaround time for this service is instant. We instantly confirm the validity of the Aadhaar card details entered.

So, let’s put this new arrow in our quiver to good use; get your employees’ Aadhaar verification initiated!

Winds of change – HR Trends to watch out for in 2017

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The year 2016 has been quite eventful for us in the corporate sector. Here at home, we witnessed de-monetization; Tata Power acquiring Welspun Renewables Energy. We topped the ‘2016 Outsourcing Index’. We are the world’s biggest outsourcing destination in terms of financial attractiveness and business environment, according to a study published by a global management consulting firm.

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Globally we witnessed Microsoft swooping in to purchase LinkedIn, Ranstad acquired Monster.com, and Oracle bought Netsuite. These were the big ones in the mergers and acquisitions arena. Donald Trump being sworn in as the president of the United States is at the forefront. In today’s times, we no longer function in a vacuum. In the era of globalization and glocalization, events overseas affect us too. Business environment doesn’t have boundaries and is definitely not static. We have to keep our eyes and ears open to trends shaping up in the international market, as disruptive change is hardly a new phenomenon. We have to galvanize with the international emerging trends. Having said this let us briefly skim through a few of the HR trends analysts are talking about and try and incorporate it within our organization, workplaces and departments.

Gone are the days when HR management was considered a mere recruitment department. Over the years it has evolved to perform a wide array of functions. In recent times, HR departments have become one of the foundation pillars for a company’s growth.

The year gone by saw more pressure and stress in the workplace: more challenging work hours and job cuts. And it is just expected to increase. Human resource teams are trying to keep pace. The only way out is to keep reinventing and working around the already existing fundamentals of HR.

Hiring
LinkedIn’s annual Global Recruiting Trends 2017 states that there is definitely going to be an increased focus on diversity in hiring. Now, India being a diverse country, this is not new to us. We are also going to see the inclusion of more pre-hire assessments and innovative interviewing tools in the year 2017. The report states that ‘we will see technology replace a lot of traditional processes’.

We have already seen companies outsourcing their talent acquisition to third parties. A couple of months ago Tata Motors outsourced its talent acquisition (barring top management hiring) to a leading RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) company. Citigroup’s shared services centre in Pune moved to a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) in October. Others like Mahindra, Wipro, Honeywell, L&T Technology Services and HDFC Life are among an increasing number of companies in India that are embracing RPO to get an edge in securing top talent and in narrowing the challenges of replacement.

The younger generation a.k.a the millennials/ generation Y are going to make use of their smart phones more when it comes to seeking jobs and engaging with recruiters. Also, 2017 is going to see the launch of iPhone 8, which will certainly shake up the smart phone industry. As per reports, in 2017 globally 75% of internet usage will be on a mobile phone, which means more employees will use mobile devices to manage their time, check and respond to emails, check their benefits, manage their trainings, communicate with HR, look for jobs, etc.

Employee experience
Deloitte anticipates that business and HR leaders will be challenged to improve the employee experience, ensure workers remain engaged and their skills updated. After all attrition and retention issues were prevalent in 2016 as well and they will permeate into 2017. The report also highlights that HR leaders also will be challenged to redesign organizations, jobs, and the work itself around digital solutions to optimize business performance. To thrive in the digital age, organizations should focus on breaking functional groups into smaller teams, which are customer-centric and based on learning. Culture and engagement will remain top priorities in 2017

Reward and recognition systems
We would also need to re-look our reward and recognition systems. They need to be measured to know their effectiveness and to ascertain where and how they may be misaligned.

Performance management systems
In the realm of performance management, annual reviews are fast becoming outdated with employees, as employees are wanting more regular feedback and a shift from performance review (where focus is on recent projects) to performance coaching (where long-term goal development is the key and employees skills are developed with career objectives in mind). Frequent feedback is becoming a necessity in performance management programs as nearly 60% of employees say they would like to receive feedback on a daily or weekly basis. HR will need to evolve in 2017 to accommodate this rising need.

Work culture
Several years ago Richard Branson made news, with a picture of him cutting his tie with a pair of scissors. With the rise of the younger generations joining the workplace, 2017 will see continuation of such trends, with more employees demanding to drop their suits and ties, in exchange for jeans and t-shirts. Friday dressing will be incorporated by many more organizations. A lot many may go the Google way by adopting casual dressing as a part of their work culture.

Freelancing
Another trend gradually coming up is the rise of the freelancers. Instead of hiring full time employees, companies may opt for freelancers. In addition to saving a lot on your recruitment cost and other costs, you get highly motivated individuals. Most of the freelancers pursue their passion so they do not view their assignments as ‘work’. Also, the younger generation is especially keen to earn extra income. They are not bound by organizational shackles leaving them free to express their creativity. Capitalize on this growing pool of talent and reap its benefits.

Amalgamation is the key
So all the HR folks, team leaders, visionaries and great managers out there – amalgamating best Indian practices with overseas practices is the way ahead in 2017. Make use of technology and incorporate the upcoming trends within your fold to continue enhancing the overall experience for all your internal and external stakeholders’ – employees and job-seekers. We have to continue our endeavour to create value proposition for our internal and external stakeholders while we continue focusing on our core competencies.

To, sum up I would like to quote someone I greatly admire, Jack Welch- “Willingness to change is strength, even if it means plunging part of the company into total confusion for a while”, “Change before you have to”.

Domestic helper’s verification – a must for safer homes

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Image2Every day when I skim through the news, it’s so disheartening to see articles of crimes ranging from burglaries, robberies, murders, rapes and abductions. It seems our city, our state, our country, the world is no longer a safe place. Every year countless innocents are harmed/killed due to the above mentioned crimes. It’s heart wrenching to read of the ghastly and dastardly side of us humans. It seems to me the moral fibre of our country has deteriorated. As a society, we have gone to the dogs! In such a scenario what can we do to make a change? Various measures are being taken at macro and micro levels to nip crime from the bud. However this change will be sluggish!

If we analyse the data we will be shocked to know that the burglaries, robberies, murders, rapes and abductions we read of, have the hand of people in close proximity to us. A sizeable chunk of these cases occur either because of our domestic helpers or due to their connivance.

Now we come to the questions that who all come under the umbrella of domestic helpers? Are they just our domestics helps i.e. aya? No, when we speak of domestic helpers here we are talking about – domestic helps (aya), maidservants, manservants, nannies, housekeepers, cooks, drivers, gardeners, guards, medical attendants, etc.

While various steps are being undertaken to curb the crime rate, we have to be proactive and safeguard ourselves as well. The first and foremost step towards that is, verifying the people who work in close proximity with us in our homes.

In this day and age we hire helps to lessen our burden but practically it can be doing more harm than help if they are not verified. We so easily let unknown people into our homes, lives and around our families as nannies, maids, servants and watchmen. Do we know of their backgrounds? We hire helps through trusted references or somebody who has been employed in many households in the neighbourhood. A bad hire at work costs companies few thousands however a bad hire at home can cost us much more.

In most of the unfortunate cases, the loss and tragedy can be traced back to the ignorance of the homeowners who recruit these unscrupulous so-called domestic helpers. Failure to take due caution while going through the hiring process can be lethal. We hire helps based on verbal references and pay sometimes in the form of loss of valuables, abused children, broken bones, trauma, rape and even death.

As a homeowner or a tenant, you already have a number of things to worry about regarding the upkeep of your home. Having a major issue like a theft because of an employee with an unverified background can be an unnecessary headache that can easily be avoided by doing background verification on any potential or existing domestic help to make sure that they are, in fact, who they claim to be. Here are a few kinds of background checks that a homeowner can avail of:

Domestic help verification – Home staff, popularly called domestic helpers, work in close proximity to the family, and are therefore the employees who need to undergo the most comprehensive background verification. JantaKhoj provides a background verification option tailored specifically for domestic helpers, like maidservants and manservant’s, nannies, gardeners, or security guards, which includes an address check, criminal verification and reference verification (by checking with the person’s previous employers).

Driver verification – Surprisingly, your driver can be a big threat to your family’s security, for the simple reason that he (or she) is in charge of your means of transport. Recently, there have been reports of incidents where drivers – even those enlisted by security agencies – gave their employers the slip and escaped with a large sum of money. The driver verification process is therefore focused on minimising these risks and includes driving license verification in addition to the basics (address verification, criminal record check and reference check).

Tenant Verification – In today’s world, one’s word or a handshake has no value, as tenants renege on their promises without a care. If you are thinking of renting your home to a tenant, make use of this service provided by JantaKhoj that is targeted specifically at tenants seeking possession. Things factored into the tenant background verification are a permanent address verification (including the family’s reputation in that area) and the basic criminal record and reference verification.

Customised Verification – For the homeowners seeking a middle path, there is an option where you can put together your own made-to-order background verification package from the options of address verification, criminal record check, previous employment verification and a reference check. This is particularly useful if you want to go above and beyond the other packages and do a thorough check.

Although the government and state agencies try their best to ensure the safety of citizens, these perpetrators still manage to strike. You are also responsible to play an active role in ensuring the safety of your family and home. With crime rates on the rise in recent years, it has become imperative to check up on employees in your home both when you recruit them and periodically while they are working under you for maximum security and minimum worry.

We are always there at your service – JantaKhoj InfoServices: Your candidate. Our verification!

Looking behind the curtain: Background checks

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Blog ImageFaced with escalating instances of forged data from job applicants, organisations are hiring professional background verifiers to salvage the situation. The awareness about the significance of verification has increased among organisations.

Most employers conduct background checks on job applicants as part of the hiring process. A background check can uncover important information such as criminal records, any lacuna in education records put forth, discrepancy in employment details submitted, it also helps us ascertain an applicant’s cultural fit via social media scans.

Today background verification is not limited to sectors like IT, ITES/BPO, BFSI, and it has shown rapid growth in e-commerce, hospitality, healthcare, travel, educational institutes, automobile sector, manufacturing sector, security and staffing.

We would like to put some background verification growth rate data forth : ITES/BPO have topped the graph at 29%, followed by IT at 12% being the second highest, followed by BFSI, Security, Staffing at 11%, e-commerce at 9%, automobile, engineering and manufacturing at 7%, healthcare at 3%, education institutes and travel sector at 1%.

Here are some more details to further my case:-

• There are approximately around 7500 companies operating just to provide counterfeit education certificates, so it is not very hard to get a forged certificate/degree.
• No platform for companies where information of fraudulent candidates can be found.
• Many candidate’s cover their gaps by extending their employment duration.
• Some also falsify lofty titles to leverage higher pay.

Let’s take a look at the most harrowing problem plaguing human resources managers at work – The common discrepancies found in resumes. Some of the common discrepancies we find are:-

Dates of employment – Candidates think they’re smart and try and cover up/omit potentially negative employment situations like gaps between jobs, short-term employment or gaps after graduation.

Education – As stated above there are agencies specialising in providing counterfeit degrees and certificates. So next time you see a fancy college name stated in a resume and the candidates profile doesn’t reflect the pedigree, the alarm bells should ring in your head, it could be a fake degree. The candidate may have never attended the college or maybe did attend college, however never completed the mentioned course.

Experience, accomplishments and job titles – People often inflate previous experience, undertakings and job titles when they apply for jobs where they aren’t qualified or feel they will face hard-hitting competition.

Remuneration – Candidates pump up their stated salaries in an effort to increase their starting offers. Unfortunately, upon verification, the employers discover the exaggeration, if any.

Criminal history – Some people lie through omission of facts regarding their criminal history and background. This is a very sensitive aspect of unearthing candidates past.

In the age of an intensely competitive job market, you can no longer literally rely on visual checks of your candidate’s qualification certificates or do email reference checks on your own. Many surveys have revealed that educational qualification and work experience are one of the credentials most commonly manipulated by job applicants.

As for potential candidates reading this, who feel a little exaggeration or a little lie won’t hurt anyone! Watch out – fudging the facts can backfire! A little fibbing on your resume might not seem like a big deal when you’re applying for a low-ranking position, but you never know where your professional career will end up. A perfect example of the same is Yahoo’s ex CEO, Scott Thompson; he was under heavy fire for apparently stating in his resume to the board that he had a computer science degree from Stonehill College when he actually had an accounting degree.

An ounce of prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure! So all the managers out there, outrun these fibbers, liars and fraudsters by getting a verification done on each and every candidate you hire without fail. Minimise the adverse effects of fibbing candidates by undertaking proper candidate due diligence.

Adieu 2016! The BGV vow for 2017!

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ImageSeason’s Greetings readers!

The year 2016 has been quite eventful with the launch of the budget, rebate in income tax for resident individuals, changes in Provident Fund, turmoil in Kashmir, insurgency strikes on our army camps in the valley, Prime Minister Modi’s demonetisation wave, etc. The beauty is, we sailed through it all!

What is a new year all about? For me, it’s about new beginnings, a clean new slate, a brand new chapter of life. Which is why, we all make personal resolutions for a new year. Although we struggle to cope with the string of new resolutions and for most of us they usually fizzle out before they even begin. I too make a string of resolutions for myself, which do not even see through the month of January. Nevertheless, we should not discontinue this age-old tradition of making ‘Resolutions’.

As we bid farewell to the year 2016 and bring in 2017, let’s make a workplace resolution for ourselves – Let us take the BGV vow! (BGV – Background Verification)

The background screening process involves carrying out checks at different levels in the organisation like employee education check, previous employment check, address check, criminal record checks to reference checks, identity checks, drug testing, etc. The employee screening industry has been growing at a rate of 25% to 30% ever since 2007. Has your company been a part of this growth?

As per a recent background check trends report:

• Overall 10% of cases were closed as ‘Discrepancies’.
• Discrepancies in employment verification has been the highest at 43%
• Verification of education, address and employment checks are way higher in South India, followed by North India, West India and East India.
• Criminal Checks are high in North India, followed by South India, West India and East India
• In employment verification – exit formalities not being completed/staff absconding/disciplinary issues have topped the graph at 38% followed by fake documents submitted and mismatch in employment details.
• Under education check discrepancies – fake documents submitted have topped the graph with 55% followed by degrees from fake universities and degrees from unapproved institutes.

Today background verification is not restricted to sectors like IT, ITES/BPO, BFSI, it has also shown rapid growth in Ecommerce, Hospitality and Manufacturing as well.

A background check on a potential candidate and also on existing employees can yield only good news for any employer, be it from IT / Pharmaceutical / BFSI/ FMCG or Manufacturing. If the prospective screening is clear, it’s great news. If an employer has already invested time, money and resources on an employee/ candidate and the screening reports come up with discrepancies, sweat not, it’s better now than later. The more you delay, the more damage it will lead to later on. Either way, a background screening proves to be a Win – Win situation for the employer/ human resources.

So take the BGV vow for 2017!

Wishing you and your families a very Happy New Year!

Warm regards
Team JantaKhoj