In May 2021, a staff member of a Hong Kong employment agency was convicted of multiple charges, including overcharging a foreign domestic helper an excessive placement fee. The staff member was sentenced to 140 hours of community service order and a fine of $8,000.1
The incident leaves a question mark in the minds of companies that rely on staffing companies for quality workers—and workers who rely on the staffing industry for employment. How can businesses gauge if an employment agency is reputable? How can workers, especially vulnerable immigrants, trust that the agency will not take advantage of them?
Here, we’ll share how one critical hiring and onboarding step can help alleviate these concerns and enhance the overall integrity of staffing firms.
Relationships are built on trust. Businesses and workers have a symbiotic relationship. Businesses need employees and employees need jobs (i.e., working for a business). This relationship is exaggerated in the staffing industry since it brings a third stakeholder into the relationship: the staffing agency business client.
Within this employment triangle, integrity is crucial. All parties must be able to trust each other, or the relationship doesn’t work.
- Staffing agencies should have minimum standards for the employees they dispatch to a business client’s workplace. These standards should align with the business client’s hiring standards and human resource policies.
- Likewise, staffing agencies should have minimum standards for the employees they hire to run their satellite staffing offices, and engage with candidates and business clients.
- Last, candidates who sometimes pay placement fees to obtain work through staffing agencies should be able to trust that agency employees aren’t exploiting them for personal gain.
Think of it as a three-legged stool. If trust is shattered in one of these three areas, it can collapse the integrity, profitability and long-term success of the individual staffing office and all agencies associated with the larger brand. However, one strategy can help by level-setting hiring standards for all parties.
Background checks can help elevate integrity and performance. Imagine a business is considering two staffing agencies. The first agency has a background checking policy; the second one does not. The first agency uses background checks to better understand its candidates, their qualifications and potential risk associated with its candidates before dispatching them to a worksite. The second staffing agency may (or may not) validate candidate identities and right to work, but otherwise, performs no candidate due diligence before dispatching them to work at a business.
Which agency would you choose? It’s a rhetorical question, but the first agency is taking extra steps to help ensure its candidates and employees possess a basic level of integrity that will help—and not harm—the agency or its business clients. It’s a smart move that can give staffing agencies a unique competitive edge in the market, especially if they publicly advertise that all their candidates are proactively background checked. What’s more, background checking all employees and candidates can help promote:
- Improved performance within the agency, and at business clients’ worksite.
- Lower costs due to increased employment longevity versus having to frequently replace bad candidates.
- Reduced risk in terms of internal fraud, legal culpability, physical harm in the workplace and brand reputation.
- Increased loyalty and business referrals resulting from improved client satisfaction and a better candidate experience.
While all staffing agencies are different depending on their size and the industry they serve, there’s a background screening strategy that’s right for everyone. Background check packages ranging from basic to premium levels of screening can be tailored to fit the precise of a staffing business. What’s more, background checks can be automated and integrated into applicant tracking platforms, adding little to no extra effort at the agency level, while keeping the onboarding and dispatch process moving quickly.
To see sample background check packages for the staffing industry and a list of who should be screened, check out our Staffing Industry Tip Sheet. For more information on how background checks can help your staffing business, contact us today.