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.

The need of the hour – Training

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Sigmund Freud was laughed at when he presented his ideas to a scientific community in Europe. He got back to his desk and starting writing.

Henry Ford failed and went broke in business three times before he succeeded.

Michael Caine‘s headmaster once told him, “you will be a labourer all your life”.

Van Gogh only sold a single painting in his entire life, for 400 francs to a sister’s friend. However, he didn’t stop painting 800 other works of art.

J.K Rowling was broke, living in poverty for quite a while before she thought of Harry Potter while on a train from Manchester to London.

Abraham Lincoln lost in 8 elections and failed in 2 businesses. But that didn’t stop him from becoming the 16th President of the USA.

Charles Darwin‘s father told him that he was an ordinary boy and wouldn’t do anything substantial in life.

Sachin Tendulkar played cricket for twenty years until he won his first World Cup in 2011.

Chris Gardner was a homeless man, living on the streets, in the worst poverty has to offer, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a millionaire through his investment firm.

Michael Jordan didn’t make his school’s basketball team. He went home, closed his door and cried. But that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the greatest sporting icons of all time and definitely the greatest basketball player of all time.

There are hundreds of inspirational examples – who failed miserably and came back so strong that there was no stopping. They became an example for all. Every common man/woman looks up to them and has a strong desire to be like them. There are thousands of sites and newspaper articles,  which sing about their glory.

Sadly, there are not tens, not hundreds, not thousands but lakhs of people trying to make it big, like others. Many young/old are leaving their jobs to follow their passion or something they feel is right for them. They fail and get up again to get it right the next time. They fail again. And again. And again till they have nothing to fall back on. These failures happen for a reason, it’s about time to understand the same.

The reason for all the repetitive failures is – Lack of training.

I know of a person who is passionate about photography, but he feels taking training is useless. It’s his passion and he will succeed as many have done it. They failed a lot of times and got success at the end.

Another one left a job to make an application; he won’t even release it on a smaller platform because he feels someone will copy his idea. Now, neither does he have a job nor his application has been released anywhere. He strongly feels he needs no training to do such a thing; many have made apps and have become a millionaires.

There are a few exceptional people who are experts, for others to succeed – you need to become an expert. To be an expert, there is just one way – Training.

trainingRatan Tata took a trainee job on the shop floor in his own ancestral company. He was just training himself to reach to top and stay there without falling.

Narayan Murthy worked at IIM-A as chief systems programmer and Patni Computer Systems in Pune (Maharashtra), before he created Infosys.

Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulakar, M.S. Dhoni, P.V. Sindhu, Sania Mirza and all the players, who have reached the pinnacle of success, have done so not only because of their passion but also because of the intense practice which goes on every day.

It is rightly said – Training is the essence of transformation.

If it glitters, be alert!

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Once upon a time there were two friends – Anil and Sunil. They were travelling by train from their village to the city. They both were planning to do a lot of shopping in the city malls and were discussing this. The first thing they wanted to buy was a wrist watch.

A very well dressed young man with impeccable manners was also travelling along with them. He overheard their conversation and politely asked if they would be interested in buying a couple of watches – that he had. He showed them the watches and the watches were stunning and glittered marvelously. He informed that these watches were imported and the straps were made of pure gold.

Anil liked the watches so much that he immediately agreed to buy one. Sunil however cautioned Anil not to take a hasty decision since they did not know for sure if the watch was made of pure gold. But Anil just loved the watch and wanted to buy it right away.

He paid a huge sum of money and bought the watch. It was indeed a beautiful watch and was the best in the village. Well, just for a few days, the watch stopped ticking and when Anil took it to a watch repairer; he was told that the watch was not made of gold and that he had been cheated.

It was not difficult to guess that, isn’t it?

Now that we have read the above story, consider the following situations:
A house help agency has many house helps. The agency says that they have done the background verification for all the house helps. You like one of the house helps. Plus you are in dire need of one.

What do you do?

You hire one of them, right!

Somewhere in Bangalore….
The family hired the help and she was great. She charged only Rs. 12000/- for 24 hours. The agency wanted the entire salary to be paid to them and they would pay the girl and her family, which looked okay to the family. They were very happy. It seemed that they won a jackpot.

After a few months, the girl committed suicide.

02mayAfter a lot of investigation, the facts came to light. The girl was an orphan and was a beggar. She was picked by this agency. They never paid a penny to her! The whole feel was extremely glittery. The house help was great, she charged so less and (as informed by the agency) already had her background verification done; the agency knew the family (as they were paying her salary to them). It was all good to go.

Hence, more the glitter, the more careful you need to be!

There are not one but many cases of house-helps fraud backgrounds, many from Bangalore. It is a busy city with more and more couples working, leaving behind old parents and small children in the house to be taken care off.
Apart from what happened, there were many more possibilities – theft, kidnapping or worse. She was a stranger to the agency and to the family. If she wanted to do harm to the family, she could have done that. She could have vanished in thin air without any trace left behind. She had no family or no one rather. Having said that, what happened was also equally bad!

It’s time to be more careful and take background verification more seriously. It is better not to be penny wise and pound foolish.

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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Background Verification – Being Prepared

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A wild boar was rubbing his tusks against a tree.

A fox passing by asked him what he was doing.

“My tusks are my weapons,” said the boar. “I’m sharpening them.”

“Why waste time sharpening your weapons when there’s no danger in sight?” said the fox. “You’re being foolish.”

Just then a hunter appeared on the scene. Frightened by the boar’s sharpened tusks, he turned on the fox instead and shot him dead.

You have to be prepared; isn’t it!

Imagine a situation where the human resource department has to do bulk recruitment or just one recruitment but they have a strict time constraint. Within that time span they need to advertise, do initial screening, fix an interview and then complete the final HR round. After all these steps; there is one more step before handing over the offer letter and that is – background verification.

To get the work done on time and to fasten the process, these companies could hire a third party vender – companies that provide background verifications at a zooming speed. But then, apart from the time constraint, there is one more constraint the HR department faces and that is budget.

Now, background verification is a new addition to various recruitment steps. It still needs to get the importance – it holds. It is a step that – people usually take lightly. Considering own experience and the very important, face value, candidates are hired.

What happens when the initial preparation is not done properly?

News 1:
Shyam worked in Hewlett Packard’s (HP) Bangalore office for three years without any issues. And then, he quit. A few months later, Shankar joined the company and when he was in the canteen one day, some employees were surprised that he looked exactly like Shyam. Of course, Shankar denied any knowledge of Shyam. However, in the HR verification, it turned out that Shankar was indeed Shyam.

What transpired was that Shankar had failed to get his college degree. So, his girlfriend, who worked in the company, used her brother Shyam’s degree to get Shankar a job. In the course on three years, at the company, Shankar passed and got his own degree. So, he re-applied, this time with his own degree, and got in. This time with real identity.

18th aprilNews 2:
The Uber rape case in New Delhi has revealed the murky underbelly of slapdash background checks in India.

There are many more stories which tells us that we are not giving much time for preparation. And who is at the loss! Cost of background check for one employee is actually not a cost, it is the much needed preparation. A company’s goodwill is at stake! So, it high time we take background verification more seriously and are prepared! After all, you can’t buy back your goodwill, you can just earn it!

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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Time for a big Change – Aadhaar e-verification

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Long ago, people lived happily under the rule of a king. The people of the kingdom were very happy as they led a very prosperous life with an abundance of wealth and no misfortunes.

Once, the king decided to go visiting places of historical importance and pilgrim centres at distant places. He decided to travel by foot to interact with his people. People of distant places were very happy to have a conversation with their king. They were proud that their king had a kind heart.

After several weeks of travel, the king returned to the palace. He was quite happy that he had visited many pilgrim centres and witnessed his people leading a prosperous life. However, he had one regret.

He had intolerable pain in his feet as it was his first trip by foot covering a long distance. He complained to his ministers that the roads weren’t comfortable and that they were very stony. He could not tolerate the pain. He said that he was very worried about the people who had to walk along those roads as it would be painful for them too!
Considering all this, he ordered his servants to cover the roads in the whole country with leather so that the people of his kingdom can walk comfortably.

The king’s ministers were stunned to hear his order as it would mean that thousands of animals would have to be slaughtered in order to get sufficient quantity of leather. It would cost a huge amount of money also.
Finally, a wise man from the ministry came to the king and said that he had another idea. The king asked what the alternative was. The minister said, “Instead of covering the roads with leather, why don’t you just have a piece of leather cut in appropriate shape to cover your feet?”

The king was very surprised by his suggestion and applauded the wisdom of the minister. He ordered a pair of leather shoes for himself and requested all his countrymen also to wear shoes.

29th marchThere are few changes which are revolutionary in nature and happen for the good. Aadhaar card is one such initiative. In a country like India, where people belong to organized and unorganized sectors, are from rural and urban areas, there are many who don’t have a valid PAN card or passport. They don’t need it. They don’t pay taxes and for other things they need their ration cards. Ration card is not a valid address proof, which leaves just a permanent address or rent agreement. Many don’t have either.

In such a cases, having an Aadhaar card is a ray of hope – of having a genuine identity proof, for everyone, irrespective of age, gender, working class sector, financial sector or place one lives. It is mandatory for all.

At present, there are 105 crore registered people in the Aadhaar database. An, almost, instant validation of an individual, is a feather in the cap of Janta-khoj. Any individual can get their or their employees’ Aadhaar e-verification done, almost instantly. Be it a driver, a house help, a blue collar employee or a white collar employee or just a would-be groom, everyone can get verified instantly.

With Aadhaar, demographic and biometric details are attached. Going by a simple daily life example, if we need to hire a house help or a driver and they come with a valid Aadhaar card and specifies all her demographic details, it can be verified instantly through Aadhaar e-verification. Once the Aadhaar verification is successfully completed, they can be hired but if in any case, they commit any foul/fraud, we not only have their photo but also their demographic details with us, as we have their validated Aadhaar card number. Makes life easier and safer, isn’t it! So Aadhaar e-verification is a big change and it is here to stay! Let’s be safe and verified!

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!