Author: Akansha

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, 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.

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.

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

The deafening silence – child abuse in day cares and crèches

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Blog ImageJanuary 2016 – A 62 year old man in Ghaziabad was arrested for raping a six-year-old girl inside a daycare centre. He is the father-in-law of the owner of the day care facility. The little girl apparently addresses him as ‘Dadu’. (In North India children lovingly call their paternal grandfather Dadu)

May 2016: A four year old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by her dance teacher at a summer camp in Bengaluru.

May-2016: Man held for sexual assault of a 3 year old girl child at a day-care centre. The accused is the husband of the woman who runs the centre.

25 Nov 2016: A 10 month-old girl manhandled and brutally thrashed in the crèche by the attendant in Mumbai. CCTV footage of the incident showed the female attendant hitting, kicking and throwing the child while the other kids were asleep.

Every day we wake up to the gruesome reality of India’s growing instances of child abuse. As a parent, these dastardly incidents disturb me deeply. It makes me wonder do all working mothers and fathers feel guilty because they have to leave their child/children at a daycare. I’m sure when such working parents read of all this they must be engulfed by rage, fear and would want to withdraw their little ones from the daycares.

I chose not to send my daughter to a day care! That was a choice I made, however I am cognizant of the fact that all parents do not have this choice/option. I am blessed to be working with an organization that is sensitive to my needs as a parent. But then again, we all are not lucky to find such sensitive and progressive places of work.

Coming back to the parents, who send their little ones to day cares/ crèches – Do they feel their children are safe? I am sure – NO!

Experts say children left at day care centres are at risk because the government does not have any regulation over the sector. Most of these centres operate in the unorganized sector. Anybody can start a day care in India.

So what is the solution to the horrifying incidents mentioned above?
The day care centres should have completed the criminal verification and background screening for all its staff members. It is a basic form of verifying the criminal/civil background of a candidate/employee often ignored by day care managers and owners. They should go a step ahead and get their address and ID proofs verified too.

We have to be certain that the people we entrust our little children with are not only who they claim to be, but also have a clean record. Parents must make it a point to demand that these checks are done by the centres/ crèches.

Furthermore, owners should train and sensitize the support staff; teachers and caretakers who look after the children. Owners should tell their staff explicitly to handle children as per the company policy and not in accordance to their own parenting beliefs and state the required guidelines for them to adhere too. Often attendants are maids/ayahs who are from rural/semi-urban backgrounds. They believe it is alright to whack or spank a child, because that is the practice followed at their homes and that’s why it’s important to have a clear policy on handling children.

In addition, parents should insist that the day care should follow an ideal adult-child ratio. Ideally as per me there should be one adult for every three to four children who are less than a year-old as they require extra attention. A ratio of 1:5 can work for children between one to five years.

Apart from the above mentioned precautionary measures, parents have to be aware that sexual assault with children is not the only face of child abuse. Elucidated below are other major forms of child abuse:-

1. Physical abuse – It include striking, kicking, shaking, starving or throwing any object over a child with an intention to cause physical injury on the child’s body.

2. Neglect – Neglect is that form of child abuse where a child is subjected to emotional or physical harm due to neglect of his parents, guardian or any other person.

3. Emotional abuse – It includes unnecessary and continuous criticism of a child. This abuse has a negative effect on a child’s emotional development.

4. Substance abuse – This form of child abuse includes exposing and indulging the child to alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs and illegal substances of intoxication.

5. Abandonment
– In this form of child abuse, the child is left alone without food, medicine or care. For example: – the abandonment of a child in a dark room for a long period can have deep harmful effects on the psychological development of a child. Abandonment for a longer period of time can also lead to death.

To sum up, verification of caretakers, maids and nannies at day cares and crèches is an important mechanism for reducing the risk of a bad hire that could affect the lives and psyches of our little vulnerable children. Your little ones at these centre’s are in close proximity with the staff. Ensure you leave your bundle of joy with verified staff. Verification plays a major role in averting danger at day cares and crèches, as it helps sift the good grains from the bad ones.

Demonetization – The phoenix will rise from the ashes

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Blog Image‘The Phoenix rising from the ashes’ popped into my head one day while I was casually skimming through the demonetization news. As a child I had read in Greek mythology – the phoenix is a mythological large bird with a long life span. Cyclically it settles in to its nest of twigs which then burns intensely, reducing the bird and the nest to ashes. And from those ashes, a fledgling phoenix rises – renewed and reborn. That’s what I hope this demonetization wave will do for my beloved country. Like a phoenix India will rise from the ashes of despair and soar.

Our honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi on 8th Nov’16 made a historic announcement of phasing out our two major currency denominations of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000. It is one of the boldest decisions, I have seen any Prime Minister make, at least in my lifetime and I have been around for some time now. This is a major re-boot for our financial system and a mighty kick to the black money both hoarded and in circulation.

As part of the Demonetization process, our Prime Minister had announced the decision to withdraw the old higher denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 in circulation and issue new currency notes of Rs 2000 and Rs 500. This as per him and noted economist and financial experts, aims to address the unaccounted money problem, corruption, the issue of fake currency and funding for terrorism. Reduction in cash transactions will help multiply digital and plastic transactions such as cheques, credit card and mobile wallets. This measure would improve the liquidity in the overall system and could lead to lower interest rates in the long term. Demonetization of high value currency notes in India will provide a big boost for Digital India.

Demonetization, in combination with Aadhar number linking with Jan-Dhan Yojna, could be a decisive move towards digital money economy, which can have significant benefits for the country in the long term. In my opinion, it will far outweigh the inconveniences caused due to logistical issues in the process of replacing 86% of the currency in circulation.

These measures are expected to result in higher tax revenues, higher GDP growth and lower interest rates. Having said that, a major portion of our Indian financial system is traditionally used to dealing in physical cash, the transition is not going to be easy. As evident there has been an initial natural resistance towards the big change.

I am a premium account holder with a leading private bank; I also stood in the sun, with the common man in a long queue for a long time – to exchange INR 4000. It wasn’t that dreadful, as its being made out to be. We are used to standing in queues. We stand in queues for movies, cricket matches, for a new Apple iphone and even when we go to cast out vote. There are always ways to mitigate problems and alleviate exasperation. Let’s endeavor to ease out inconveniences and not be a part and in some cases further problems and miseries.

We have to learn from history and take cognizance of the fact that demonetization has been used by countries like USA and Australia too, for the same reason. And it worked for them. In the 1960’s USA phased out all currency denominations above $100. It worked for them, it will for us too.
Amid the crunch, some businesses are offering interesting methods to get the illegal notes exchanged. Gyms, Salons, boutiques, etc are offering to take in and offering discounts / long-term memberships for people seeking to get rid of wads of illegal cash. Cash dumping has also been witnessed. People are using ‘cash mules’ to get their money exchanges at banks.

As I pen up, I would like to say – In India normally change is slow however under duress change is swift. Soon the brouhaha will die down and we will see a new India – a cleaner India rise from the dust.

The phoenix will rise from the ashes!

The way forward – Post hire screening

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Blog ImageThe pre-employment process is now complete. Congratulations! You are excited to welcome your new employee into your company with open arms; because you have shown your due diligence by conducting a background verification, you are confident that he/she has the required qualifications and that they will not present a threat to your company. However, background checks on new employees are only effective as of the date of hire. What happens if your new employee is arrested or has his/her driving license suspended after hire, has had a domestic violence case levied against them?

While pre-employment verification is an effective tool to trim down fraud, workplace violence, and employee theft, it is also just a snapshot in time. How do you learn about the misconduct of employees that may occur after a pre-employment background check? Current employees may present an even greater risk than job applicants. You’ve invested time and money to recruit, on-board and train these employees. Furthermore, they already work on your premises, have access to company property and deal with your clients, vendors and the general public as a representative of your organisation.
While most companies currently perform background screening on employees once at the pre-hire stage, we recommend a ‘post-hire verification’ to avoid insider threats. This may include getting a Criminal verification re-done for your employees. For the drivers, getting an ID check done, to ascertain whether their IDs are valid still or not.

We have plenty of examples of post hire insider threats around us – In 2013 Edward Snowden, held a position as a subcontractor with the NSA – National Security Agency, he leaked confidential information about the NSA’s surveillance activities. The 2015 Morgan Stanley hack highlighted the risk of post-hire insider threats. These threats range from fraud, embezzlement, workplace violence, etc. Employees, temporary workers and contractors have access to the workplace: An insider threat can come from any of these individuals.

So, we strongly recommend not only getting a re-check done for your permanent employees, but also your Fixed Term Contract staff, vocation trainees and contractors.

Many companies conduct basic screenings for their entry-level candidates. When an employee is rewarded for their job performance, they are often promoted from within and take on new roles and responsibilities. As the level of responsibility grows, so does the risk for the employer if the wrong individual is placed into a position of authority. A simple re-screen for employees being considered for additional levels of responsibility can help the organisation mitigate risk and ensure a more secure workplace. In this case it could be an employment and education check.

In today’s ever-changing, dynamic world, more and more companies are conducting post-hire screenings in order to mitigate company risk. Employers are realising that post hire background checks is a good business practice. Conducting checks at regular intervals helps protect your company by ensuring a more secure workforce.

Little white lies

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ImageWhat are little white lies? They are small and harmless lies, not meant to hurt. However every little white lie is still a lie and it is still meant to mislead people. Similarly, not all resume lies are penned with malicious intent and it is likely that numerous job candidates would say they are simply exaggerating the truth and not lying. Many candidates feel the need to embellish their resumes to stand out from the pack.

The most common false claims are:

1. College degrees and job titles – Hiring someone who lacks necessary training or job experience can result in a poor hire and increased costs when you have to start over to find the ideal employee. Moreover, your employee’s poor performance or lack of required skills could cause your customers to lose confidence in your organization. The affect this has on your company’s reputation can be far greater than simply the time and money invested in the hire.

For example: Was your applicant really an experienced, national sales manager like he/she claims on her resume? Or was she a floor manager with only a few direct reports?

An advanced background check can help you confirm that the person you hire has the skills and knowledge to perform the job. Additionally, college degrees and professional credentials should be verified with the concerned institution.

2. Altered dates of employment – Lots of applicants lie about dates of employment to cover gaps in their work history. Perhaps they were fired from a job or a series of jobs, or maybe they’ve been job hopping too frequently. Women trying to reenter the workplace after starting or raising a family may stretch time lines to cover the months or years they weren’t employed.

A thorough background check will help you verify dates of employment so you can easily identify any gaps that may not have been obvious on the resume and that may warrant further investigation.

3. Inflation of previous salary – Previous salary is often used when determining compensation for a new employee. It’s natural to want to make as much money as possible, so lots of job applicants will inflate the figure on their resumes in the hopes of securing higher pay from a new job. While not all employers will give out salary information, many will confirm information that is provided to them as being correct or inaccurate.

At the end of the day, employees are investments. When you consider the time and expense you commit to hiring and on boarding new employees, the true worth of a background check is more than uncovering inaccuracies on resumes. The information helps you ascertain if a potential employee is likely to lie, steal from your company or hurt someone who works for you or pose potential harm to your clients or your reputation.

Why Validating Credentials is Important

While the day to day function of each employee in an organization differs, the common thread across all employees is that they are all hired to create shareholder value and serve customers. Hiring managers evaluate employees based on what value they believe the applicant will be able to add to the organization in the future. However, the data a hiring manager uses to make this assessment is predominantly what the applicant has accomplished in the past. If the applicant falsifies her past accomplishments, then the hiring manager is making a decision based on bad information.

Consider the following examples of C-suite executives and those with similar responsibilities caught lying on their resumes.

• Veritas Software CFO Ken Lonchar claimed to have an MBA from Stanford
• Bausch & Lomb CEO Ronald Zarella claimed to have an MBA from NYU
• SAC Capital trader Matthew Martoma omitted his expulsion from Harvard Law School for forging a transcript
• Walmart Stores Inc.’s chief spokesman David Tovar falsely claimed a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware

According to Career Builder, the following are the most common resume lies:

• Embellished skill set – 57 percent
• Embellished responsibilities – 55 percent
• Dates of employment – 42 percent
• Job title – 34 percent
• Academic degree – 33 percent
• Companies worked for – 26 percent
• Accolades/awards – 18 percent

Consider a likely situation where the hiring manager has three candidate resumes in front of him or her, all with the ‘right’ education credentials for the position. The statistics indicate that one of those three applicants really didn’t earn the degree he/she listed. One out of three! Would that change the hiring manager’s decision? I would hope so.

If a candidate is lying on her resume, what will she do if she gets the job? Personally, I wouldn’t want to risk my firm’s reputation to find out.

‘High on Life’: India Inc’s drug woes

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Blog ImageA recent Bollywood movie – Udta Punjab portrayed the grim reality of drug addiction in India’s North West province. The drug-themed crime thriller depicted the scary reality of drugs. A recent report by AIIMS concluded that 230,000 drug addicts live in Punjab, a state home to 30 million people, with more than 800,000 drug users. Heroin, the study found, is the most widely used opiate: 75,000 people inject the drug.

The film was plagued by controversy; however I for one feel, Udta Punjab has brought into the limelight the problem of drug abuse not only in Punjab – but across our country.

A recent United Nations Drug Report pointed to India as one of the biggest consumers of heroin. Cocaine is another favourite amongst individuals in the age group of 25 to 34. Marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs by employees, followed by cocaine. In India alone, about 3 million people are dependent on drugs (that’s about approximately 0.3% of our population).

What is frightening, seeing all this is, that an employer today cannot avoid hiring drug users, it could be unknowingly, but it is real. You, me, we all could be sharing our workplace with a functional drug addict, who knows? After all, recruitment is done from the general populace of the country.

A recent case of Satyan (name changed), 35, who was a call centre employee, lost his job because of his addiction. “Those were difficult days. I got into drugs during my 20s. I come from a humble background. My parents have always been supportive, but it was under peer pressure that I got into drugs”.
What if we told you it can be avoided? Avoided by one simple step – by conducting a pre or post employment drug screening.

Why are drug tests important?

• Drug users are more prone to accidents
• To improve worker safety and health
• To avoid workplace hazards
• Prevent employee theft and absenteeism
• Drugs hamper employee productivity
• Drug users are a big threat to organisations dealing with sensitive data
• Possibilities of drug pedalling in the workplace
• Psychological implications on the user and co-workers
• Unpredictability in the form of violence that comes with drug use

Increasing number of companies are screening job applicants and existing employees for substance abuse. An employee addicted to Class-A drugs or even a ‘transitional drug’ such as marijuana would show an innate lack of productivity and focus. He/she would be disoriented and dazed. It leads to an unusual level of absenteeism, injuries, fatalities, theft and low employee morale and to an increase in the liabilities and compensation costs for the employer company.

So what happens if the candidate tests positive for substance abuse?
In India, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, states that drug (236 substances banned under NDPS) sale, possession and consumption of any amount are criminal offenses. The punishment under this Act varies according to the amount of the breach:-

• <1kg means an imprisonment of up to 6 months or a fine of INR 10,000 or both

• more than 1kg but less than commercial quantity spells an imprisonment of up to 1 year and/or a fine of INR 1 Lakh (approx. 1500 USD).

• If the contravention is found to be in a commercial quantity, the candidate would face 1-2 years of imprisonment & a fine of INR 1-2 Lakhs (approx. 1500 – 2300 USD)

Employing drug testing in your employment background screening would be immensely beneficial to all employees and employers alike, as it would promote a healthy and drug-free organization. Moreover, it helps combat and eventually avoid the huge time and productivity loss encumbered by the risk.

Prevention, as it has always been, is better than cure.