There Are No Shortcuts to Quality and Service. Just Ask My Dog.

Say hi to Charlie. Charlie is a Mini-Goldendoodle and one of my best friends in the whole world.  So besides the shameless attempt to show you a picture of my dog, I wanted to tell you a story about why service and quality continue to remain a driving force behind people’s buying decisions.

Last month, my wife took Charlie to a well-know groomer here on the North Shore of Chicago.  He needed a haircut but she explained that she only wanted them to trim him.  The last time the groomed him they gave him a doggie crew cut (it wasn’t pretty).  And for the price of $60 they gladly assured her that Charlie was in good hands.

You can imagine her surprise when she picked him up later in the day and he looked like a shaved lab rat with scurvy (sorry, in an effort to maintain Charlie’s dignity, I refuse to post pictures).

The owner was there so she asked why they would have ignored her instructions.  His reply was “Relax.  It’s just hair.  It will grow back.”

I promise I’m getting to the point.

Well, he was right.  It was just hair and it would grow back, but that really isn’t the point.  This seemed like a ridiculous response and one that was not made with quality and customer service in mind, so I decided to call him myself.  If we were just looking for the cheapest, low quality product, we certainly wouldn’t have brought him to this particular groomer.  And while I didn’t expect a refund, a simple apology would have been nice.  I left a friendly voicemail explaining the nature of my call and all I heard was crickets.  He never called me back.

This experience made me think about how this correlates to the background screening industry.  To me, the same principal applies.  Anyone can do a “background check”.  The question is whether the end result can make a difference. Is it a quality background check that actually protects your organization and is it a service organization that can help you make sense of it all.   If you want a good product, there are No Shortcuts. (Great pun, no?)

I know that when people stop caring about quality and service that it’s time to get out of this business.  I know that any service-based business better pay attention to these things or someone else will.  Case in point, our neighbor took their dog to the same place for boarding and when they picked him up, the dog needed forty stitches to close a gash in it’s leg.  The same people never realized there was anything wrong with the dog.

Thank You Ricky McCalenton: Cleveland Adopts Ban the Box

Don’t know Ricky McCalenton?  That’s okay, neither do we.  Ricky is just an average guy in Cleveland, Ohio that recognizes the effectiveness of “Ban the Box” legislation.  He summed it all up in just one simple quote to the Cleveland Plain Dealer on a story they had written about the city’s recent legislation to remove the question which asks the job applicant to reveal any past criminal records.

“The intentions are real good, them saying, ‘I’m not going to look at your criminal background right now,” said Cleveland resident Ricky McCalenton. “But once I get you into the job site, and I do a background check, I’m going to have to fire you.’ So to me, honestly, I think they should have left it on there.”

The only thing I would quibble on is that any criminal record would be grounds for termination, but he gets it.

As far as “Ban the Box” legislation is concerned, it is certainly a concept that is picking up speed and one that we highlighted on our 2011 Background Screening Trends list earlier this year.

Pizza Delivery and Workplace Violence

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently found that a high percentage of workers are concerned with workplace violence.  The American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) has released background checks guidelines to help curb issues such as workplace violence.  EmployeeScreenIQ’s own whitepaper also discusses this issue in depth with suggestions on how to curtail this growing problem.

The story below doesn’t lend itself to any particular argument on how to prevent the issue but it does shed some light on the new OSHA directive to tackle workplace violence.  Its not rocket science, however, no single preventative measure will stop workers from acting out.  Failure to have a solid plan in place, that also includes screening employees will leave employers at risk for negligent hiring claims.

Domino’s Doesn’t Deliver Following Employee Murder

Deputies in Escambia County, Florida, are investigating the murder of Tyler John Hinkle, a 19-year-old Domino’s Pizza employee who was stabbed outside the store on Navy Boulevard in Pensacola.

Hinkle, 19, was stabbed in the chest shortly before 11 p.m. on Sept. 24, and managed to stagger into the store before he collapsed.

The Domino’s where the attack occurred was closed following the fatal stabbing.

OSHA recently released a new compliance directive that offers procedures for agency staff who respond to workplace violence cases or complaints. The directive, Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Incidents of Workplace Violence, also establishes procedures for conducting inspections in industries such as late-night retail workplaces and health care and social service settings, which may be at a higher risk of workplace violence.

More than 3,000 people died from workplace homicide between 2006 and 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Additional BLS data indicate that an average of more than 15,000 nonfatal workplace injury cases was reported annually during this time.

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9/26/2011 EmployeeScreenIQ Recognized as Fastest Growing Company

We are pleased to announce that EmployeeScreenIQ has earned recognition as a 2011 Weatherhead 100 Award Winner for being one of the 100 fastest growing companies in Northeast Ohio. We have achieved this distinction for the 7th consecutive year. Actual rankings will be released in December.

Since 1987, the Weatherhead 100 has showcased the fastest growing companies in Northeast Ohio. Recognized organizations must demonstrate consistent growth over the previous five years. The Weatherhead 100 list is objectively determined annually and highly regarded throughout the region. It is branded as a testament to hard work, commitment, innovation, and the dream to succeed.

The award is presented by the Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.

EmployeeScreenIQ Recognized as Fastest Growing Company

We are pleased to announce that EmployeeScreenIQ has earned recognition as a 2011 Weatherhead 100 Award Winner for being one of the 100 fastest growing companies in Northeast Ohio. We have achieved this distinction for the 7th consecutive year. Actual rankings will be released in December.

Since 1987, the Weatherhead 100 has showcased the fastest growing companies in Northeast Ohio. Recognized organizations must demonstrate consistent growth over the previous five years. The Weatherhead 100 list is objectively determined annually and highly regarded throughout the region. It is branded as a testament to hard work, commitment, innovation, and the dream to succeed.

The award is presented by the Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.

Outsourced Social Media Background Checks Come Under Fire

Well we knew it was only a matter of time until the practice of outsourcing social media background checks encountered intense scrutiny.  To their credit, the folks at Social Intelligence managed to quell concerns from the FTC.  However, Senators Al Franken and Richard Blumenthal are clearly not convinced that this practice is legal.

And while I know this isn’t going to be fun for SI, I do think that the inquiry and subsequent findings will provide us all with a road map of what is to come.  Here is an excerpt of the joint letter that has sent by the senators.

We are writing to request information about the business practices of Social Intelligence Corporation as they relate to personal privacy. We are concerned that your company’s collection of online and social media information about job applicants and distribution of that information to potential employers may contain inaccurate information, invade consumers’ right to privacy online, violate the terms of service agreements of the websites from which your company culls data, and infringe upon intellectual property rights.

Your company bills itself as “a background screening service that enables employers to navigate the complicated landscape of social media with clear, consistent, and insightful results.” According to sample background reports published in the media, information is collected from applicants’ profiles on social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, personal websites, and other online information sources that Social Intelligence Corporation matches to applicants. We are concerned that there are numerous scenarios under which a job applicant could be unfairly harmed by the information your company provides to an employer. We are also concerned that your company’s business practices may in some cases violate the law.

They then ask for a response to a boat load of questions concerning their practices which can be found at Norwalk.com Now, many of these questions are easily answered.  However there are a few that will be worth hearing responses to.  Particularly, the following:

1. The reports that your company prepares for employers contain screenshots of the sources of the information your company compiles. One publicly available report contains pictures of a user’s Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile, blog posts for a previous employer, and personal websites. These websites are typically governed by terms of service agreements that prohibit the collection, dissemination, or sale of users’ content without the consent of the user and/or the website. LinkedIn’s user agreement, for example, states that one may not “rent, lease, loan, trade, sell/re-sell access to LinkedIn or any information therein, or the equivalent, in whole or in part.” Your company’s business model seems to necessitate violating these agreements. Does your company operate in compliance with the agreements found on sites whose content your company compiles and sells? If so, how?

2. More troubling than the apparent disregard of these websites’ terms of service are what appear to be significant violations of users’ intellectual property rights to control the use of the content that your company collects and sells. Your company includes pictures in its background reports; example reports have included a picture depicting the subject holding a gun to illustrate alleged “potentially violent behavior.” These pictures, taken from sites like Flickr and Picasa, are often licensed by the owner for a narrow set of uses, such as noncommercial use only or a prohibition on derivative works. Does your company obtain permission from the owners of these pictures to use, sell, or modify them?

Keep in mind that an inquiry is just that.  Perhaps SI’s response will satisfy their curiosity.  Unfortunately, right or wrong, I have a feeling that these inquiries are only the sign of things to come.  Stay tuned.

How Does Latest NLRB Ruling Apply to Background Checks?

I’ve been reading a lot about a recent NLRB case which focused on their contention that an employee should not have been fired for posting negative comments on Facebook about her employer and co-workers.  And while this ruling has no bearing on pre-employment screening, I wonder how it could.

Here are the specifics according to the National Law Review:

In May 2010, HUB hired Lydia Cruz-Moore, a domestic violence advocate who worked one day per week at HUB’s offices. Cruz-Moore complained about the job performance of some of her co-workers to another employee, Mariana Cole-Rivera. Cruz-Moore also told Cole-Rivera that she was going to discuss her concerns about the other employees’ job performance with management.

From her home computer, Cole-Rivera posted on her Facebook page that Cruz-Moore believed HUB employees “don’t help [their] clients enough” and asked her coworkers “how do u feel?” In response, several employees posted complaints about Cruz-Moore’s criticisms, some of which included profanity. Three days later, Cole-Rivera and four of the other employees who posted on Facebook were fired for bullying Cruz-Moore and violating HUB’s “zero tolerance” anti-harassment policy.

An administrative law judge in Buffalo, New York ruled that the termination violated the rights of Ms. Cole-Rivera and her cohorts citing the following reasons:

  • “It is irrelevant to this case that the discriminatees were not trying to change their working conditions and that they did not communicate their concerns to Respondent…. I find that the discriminatees’ discussions about criticisms of their job performance are also protected.”
  • “[A]n employer violates Section 8(a)(1) in disciplining or terminating employees for exercising this right—regardless of whether there is evidence that such discussions are engaged in with the object of initiating or inducing group action.”
  • “Moreover, the fact that Respondent lumped the discriminatees together in terminating them, establishes that Respondent viewed the five as a group and that their activity was concerted.”

Okay fine.  So whether you agree with this ruling or not, it begs the next question.  What happens if one of Ms. Cole- Rivera’s future prospective employers performs a social media search or Google search and finds out about this ordeal?  There’s a better than good chance that she would be deemed a malcontent or bad apple.  And here’s the question: would it be fair game?  If you ask me, I would say yes (this from the guy who has been warning employers about the use of social media checks).  To me, she should not have used a public forum to air these concerns.

Case Study: Top Commercial Airline Flies High With EmployeeScreenIQ

We just published a great study about our relationship with Continental Airlines. Check out the preview below.

When Continental Airlines was faced with a two-week downtime on employment background checks with a previous vendor, the pressure was on Darby James, human resources director of then Continental, now United Continental Holdings Inc., to solve the problem. Enter EmployeeScreenIQ.

“It started out as an interim solution. We just could not go two weeks without this essential hiring tool,” explained James. Immediately, the difference between EmployeeScreenIQ and the previous vendors she had utilized began to show. The short-term solution led to a permanent assignment which has lasted for nearly seven years.

Background checks for pilots, flight attendants and other airline personnel became even more crucial in the years that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Continental Airlines had been working with several other vendors that were not providing acceptable levels of quality, accuracy and speed.

“We went through a lot of other vendors. We had to kiss quite a few frogs before we found EmployeeScreenIQ,” says James. “You get really tired of the process of finding a new vendor. You don’t want to remarry every few years. It is nice to have a high quality company that delivers excellent results.”

For the merged United Continental Holdings, a company with more than 80,000 employees and many relationships with contracted business partners, screening is a critical component of doing business. The company screens not only employees, but also employees of contractors who will be doing business with them.

“We felt with EmployeeScreenIQ that it was a partnership, that they truly want us to be successful at what we do. I noticed a difference immediately in turnaround time and in the depth of the screening results,” says James.

EmployeeScreenIQ researchers provided high standards for accuracy and depth of information. In fact, the company is only one of a few that are accredited. Other highlights included on-time delivery, reliability, customer service that redefines the vendor-client relationship, and a keen eye on statistics that ensure the checks are delivering intended results.

Read Full Case Study

Are you looking for background check results you can trust? Download our guide on criminal background checks to learn more:








Top Commercial Airline Flies High With EmployeeScreenIQ

 

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“It started out as an interim solution. We just could not go two weeks without this essential hiring tool,” explained James. Immediately, the difference between EmployeeScreenIQ and the previous vendors she had utilized began to show. The short-term solution led to a permanent assignment which has lasted for nearly seven years.