Flexible Workplaces Require Responsible Employees

Nick Fishman

The idea of the flexible workplace has been prevalent in our country for the last several years.  Why should a national or multi-national corporation pay for an office, when their employees can be just as effective or sometime even more effective from home?  Plus, many employees like to work outside of the traditional 9 to 5 hours.

Of course, with this flexibility comes the opportunity for abuse.  When hiring, employers need to make sure that the candidates they hire can handle this responsibility.  And of course, an effective background check can help.  Their are a number of tools employers can use to assess personal responsibility such as criminal records, motor vehicle records, employment references and even credit reports.

The reference interview is obvious.  Simply ask questions that focus on the candidate’s ability to work independently and whether they exhibited personal responsibility while on the job.  You would also think that using criminal records, motor vehicle records and yes, credit reports are fairly obvious. And on their face, they are.  However, rightfully so, many organizations will hire people with criminal records.  Perhaps, they don’t care about a minor possession charge or public drunkeness conviction.  However, a history of ticky tac violations definitley speaks to self control and personal responsibility.  Same goes for driving records.  An individual violation or two might not be of concern.  A history of violations could be pause for concern, even if the person is not going to be driving their car for work.  Again, it goes to personal responsibility.

I’ll stay away from the can of worms that no doubt would follow with my explanation on how credit reports can help.  I’ll just say that adverse credit combined with any of the above adverse information can certainly help you round out a body of work.

This concept of the flexible workspace is a great development for both employers and employees.  Employers just need to make sure that their employees are capable of succeeding in this environment.

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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    As a business professor and executive, I agree that it can be difficult to get people to act when they do not see the value of the work or have some other priorities that distract them from meeting shared expectations.

    However, I disagree that the solution is to use credit reports! The reason it is illegal is because people are often laid off through no fault of their own and suddenly find themselves in a financial crisis. Millions of people have been affected by systemic economic effects that were out of their control. I personally know several people who were earning 6-figures prior to the recession who have hit the wall. So don’t be quick to judge.

    I also personally know an ex-con who spent five years for drug trafficking who turned himself around and now runs one of the most successful residential contractor businesses in my area, in a profession known for its misleading practices. Some people flip the script. So now I’m not so sure about the criminal background check either, though as a younger and less-compassionate man I once agreed with Nick on both points.

    Be wary of negative generalizations and ask if that reflects the kind of world you would want to live in and how you would wish to be treated is the situation were reversed. Please do the research and cite your sources when posting “best-practices” online.

    Social media is wonderful for sharing knowledge; let’s just make sure we’re creating a better world together based on the most reliable research evidence and experience.

    My approach is to default to Theory Y and only resort to Theory X only when multiple attempts at correcting behavior fails. Principles the country was founded upon. Assume the best in others and some may disappoint you, but most will live up or down to your expectations.