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Your Employees Are Comfortable with Social Media Screening

May 26, 2021

May 26, 2021

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There is a renewed focus on HR and responsible recruiting as organizations tackle one of the most complex workforces in modern history amid COVID, evolving social pressures and rapid organizational shifts. Today, knowing who your candidate is can be just as important as what experience they bring to the table.

Currently 4.3B people are actively using social media representing 70% of the eligible global population. This means the candidates you’re currently screening likely have a social presence. This is important because, we have new research that suggest your employees are counting on you to use social intelligence to ensure their safety and preserve the company’s culture.

Having a reliable way to responsibly screen candidates based on the values of your organization requires a closer look at the power of social media screening.

What is Social Media Screening?

Social media screening offers a deeper level of behavioral insight than traditional background checks. Information found on social media offers HR professionals a current snapshot of a person’s attitude, habits and behaviors. When used as part of the recruiting process, it offers recruiting teams a more complete picture of who the candidate really is to help determine if a candidate is the right fit for the organization.

What Are Employees Saying About Social Media Background Checks?

As workplace violence and values-based topics like diversity, inclusion and equality continue to make headlines, employee sentiment on social media screening has shifted in recent years. New research conducted by Crimcheck, a leading PBSA Accredited provider of employment screening solutions, highlights three key employee insights related to the use of social media in the hiring process. Spoiler alert: if you don’t currently have social media screening process in place, the time is now.

Insight 1: Employees Expect Organizations to be Informed and Proactive When it Comes to Workplace Safety.

The unfortunate reality is workplace violence is on the rise. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management reported in 2019 that one in seven employees feels unsafe. Likely because workplace violence has increased by 36% since 2012.

According to OSHA, workplace violence is defined as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. This distressing trend has impacted employee’s expectation of their employer, and social media screening presents a reliable solution.

New research shows that nearly 80% of full-time employees want to know if a work colleague is, or has a history of, posting violent or threatening content on social media. This sentiment opens the door for organizations to get proactive when it comes to screening new employees.

Insight 2: Employees increasingly believe social media background checks are acceptable.

Even though social media screenings only source publicly available content, invasion of privacy has been one of the biggest misconceptions employees have. But that all seems to be changing.

Prior to 2020, online privacy concerns progressively increased each year. However, as the world grapples with the impact of COVID, concerns surrounding online privacy seem to be on a decline, according to GlobalWebIndex. As consumers’ relationship with privacy continue to evolve towards the positive, employee’s perception of social media screening is also shifting.

In our latest research, 52% of full-time employees believe social media background checks should be conducted on all employees and 13% are “unsure.” The latter suggests that an investment in education on what social media screening actually is may further increase employee support.

Either way, it’s clear that consumers and employees are starting to see “the glass half full” when it comes to online data and privacy.

Insight 3: Employees are enjoying social media freely – even though they expect employers are screening and/or monitoring – so it offers HR professionals an authentic view of employees and candidates.

Employees understand that their social media profiles may be reviewed or monitored by existing or potential employers, yet engagement statistics are staggering and continuing to grow. On Facebook alone, there are more than 2.7B active users.

Most users visit every day, spending roughly 38 minutes on the platform. While there, they watch more than 4B videos, publish 350M photos and generate more than 5.7B likes – daily.

The fact is social media users aren’t worried about employers screening their social channels. Our research shows that 57% of full-time workers do not feel they need to limit or censure their social media engagement due to fear of repercussions at work.

That’s because most people make good decisions when it comes to their social footprint. However, when it comes to those who don’t (now averaging 1 in 9 users), they don’t seem to care who’s listening. This means social media screening has the potential to uncover relevant information generally not found in traditional criminal record-based background checks.

What Does The Future of HR, Responsible Recruiting and Social Media Screening Look Like?

The world is changing, and the way businesses review potential candidates and employees is following suit. Culture matters. In fact, businesses with a strong culture have seen a 4X increase in revenue growth. More than ever, HR professionals are playing a critical role not only to ensure workplace safety, but also to maintain the integrity of workplace culture.

As our research reveals, candidates and employees want HR to be proactive throughout the hiring process. Adopting a formal social media screening process is a powerful, preventative tool that can deliver upon these expectations. However, how you integrate them into your candidate experience is also important to consider.

When hiring, 70% of organizations already consider researching candidates on social media, it’s important to note that there is a fine line between what is considered legal and illegal.

Internal processes can not only drain resources, but they can also create unnecessary liability. Background screening providers with sound policies and procedures offer tremendous benefits to organizations by conducting these searches for negative social media activity and in their social media accounts on your behalf.

PBSA Accredited and FCRA-certified background check providers like Crimcheck, along with our partner Social Intelligence, independently review data and flag social content with the help of a proprietary augmented intelligence platform.

Screenings also aren’t limited to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other traditional channels. Relevant, legally actionable information can be discovered on blogs, forums, business listings, and more. And, following FCRA regulations, only information made available within the past seven years is considered.

These results are then organized based on four business-related categories:

  1. Threats or Acts of Violence
  2. Potentially Illegal Activity
  3. Racist, Sexist, or Discriminatory Behavior
  4. Sexually Explicit Material

Finally, the Social Intelligence Report™ takes it one step further to exclude all protected class information before finalizing and delivering the report to the organization. This means, employers and employees can rest assured their protected information is not used against them in an employment decision.

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