It is a known fact that almost all organizations do reference checks of candidates prior to their joining. However, it has been observed lately that many organizations are getting second reference checks done of their current employees after few years, during the course of their employment.
The first question that needs to be asked is, why is there a need for organizations top conduct a reference or background check of an employee after he / she has already been working for them for a while? An individual may get involved in a criminal activity or may get into drugs in course of his/her employment with an organization and may not disclose it to them. It is this kind of people that organizations are turning their focus to.
Having hired or recruited there are different decision points for an organization on a few of their critical resources like promotion / elevation to a new role, job rotation to a bigger role, which is sensitive to financial integrity people sensitiveness etc. These roles would require a different set of expectations from the new incumbent.
There are a few companies undertaking this as a part of their compliance check and conduct a criminal check or a KYE (Know Your Employee) check specifically for current employees.
Many organizations believe that getting reference checks for a second time around does have a lot of benefit. While performance appraisal and performance management systems give a perspective of an individual’s performance in the current job, reference checks can give an indication of how a person has approached a similar situation in his /her past job, which can be mapped for am similar job in the future. Reference checks results come in handy for deputation of a resource for international assignments board appointments etc. A reference check is beneficial because with time, the responsibilities of the employee increase and the reference checks done earlier might have been done keeping different quality requirements in mind.
There are four clear benefits carrying checks regularly, post employment provides to a organization. Firstly it ensures that employees, especially those in crucial jobs have continued to have clean antecedents in course of their employment. Secondly due to a to lack of a formal criminal record database in India, there could be occasions wherein a criminal activity that the individual was involved in, prior to being offered employment was not in public domain when he /she was hired: this needs to be checked. Thirdly a lot of organizations find it difficult to carry out all kinds of checks at the time of hiring due to cost issues. They can stagger these checks over the tenure of the employee’s existence in the organization. Fourthly, employees continue to add more qualifications or change their addresses in course of an employment. Employers need to ensure that the new antecedents are verified as and when disclosed by the employee.
There can be instances of negative feedback after a reference check is done for the second time. What should an organization do in such a case? Negative feedback needs to be treated with a lot of sensitivity as the employee is already in the system. If the feedback is negative due to lack of disclosure(s) from the employee, then he / she need to be charged officially. If the nature of feedback can have a sever impact on the role that he / she is in the organization may take a view to downsize his /her or simply let him /her go.
If the result of the reference check is negative then a re-verification must be done as to why the result was not obtained previously. If the re-verification shows serious flaws and the employee is involved in some serious issue, then asking the employee to leave would be a smart decision. All depends on the nature of the negative feedback. If it is severe organizations do take stringent decisions as this is the objective of the reference check and would act as a deterrent to others.
So, even if conducting reference checks on current employee sounds like a rather dicey thing to do, most organizations have come to realize that the benefits of getting them done are way more than disadvantages. Even employees have now begun to accept such practices as the intention behind it is good for both the employer and employee.