Why pre employment screening should include even gig workers

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With the changing face of the labour market and non-permanent working now a regular part of workplace culture, temporary and contractor workers make up around 15% of the workforce. The gig economy is growing at an exponential rate, with many contractors citing flexibility as their reasons for opting out of the standard way of working.

Temporary workers provide convenience and flexibility for employers too. Providing much needed additional people power during busier periods, or to fulfil short term roles, many companies are making use of the rise in available contractors for both skilled and unskilled roles.

But while temporary workers or contractors can answer a short-term need for labour, many companies are putting their businesses at risk by not having proper procedures in place.

A recent survey found that 96% of employers carry out some form of employment background screening as part of their recruitment process for permanent staff. Many employers rightly consider it essential. However, less companies screen non-permanent staff, with a different study stating that 40% of employers don’t screen contractors at all.

Non-permanent staff often have the same level of access to sensitive company data, money and responsibility as their permanent counterparts. Not screening contractors leaves employers open to the risk of employee fraud and theft, as well as inadvertently hiring someone without the legal right to work in the UK. There are just as many risks associated with hiring temporary workers as permanent, if not more so.

While screening might seem like an added hurdle when companies need fast labour, it can provide much needed protection risks, and the financial and time cost of screening far outweighs the benefits of protection. The cost of replacing staff after a bad hire can be as much as three times the salary of the worker, even in temporary staff. All staff, permanent and non-permanent can also pose a risk of reputational damage due to fraud or other misdemeanours. In addition, there could be compliance issues, workplace safety requirements and privacy problems caused to your permanent staff.

Carrying out comprehensive pre-employment screening is crucial to protect your business, for both temporary and permanent workers. Having robust pre-employment procedures in place, which includes adequate checks, helps protect your business from the cost of a bad hire.

Ensure you use a specialist screening provider who can advise on the right level of checks for all employees, while making the process more efficient and effective.