If you’re one of the few local or community-level youth sports organizations that has a coherent and comprehensive screening policy, we applaud you. You’re a rarity and clearly you’ve taken proactive measures to keep your employees, volunteers and child participants safe.
However, the hard truth is that most grassroots sports and rec clubs don’t have a clue what a ‘screening policy’ is. It’s not your fault. You’re probably not a Human Resources professional. But that still doesn’t excuse you and your organization from learning about a screening policy and taking steps to implement one into your culture.
If you’re serious about hiring good people, maintaining a safe environment, building a consistent workplace culture, and staying on the right side of the law, you really need to know what your screening policy is and if it’s up to date. Here’s a step-by-step tool to help you examine your policy and determine if any changes are needed.
Know what a background check is and what it isn’t
So you’re thinking about hiring Joe Schmoe to run your front office. You check out his Facebook page. Seems harmless enough. His Twitter account has some juvenile humor, but nothing too offensive. You ask him if he’s ever had any run-ins with the law and he mentions a couple of speeding tickets. So far, so good, right? This background check stuff is easy.
What you’re doing is what every employer should do before they hire someone, but none of what you did qualifies as a background check. Why? A couple of reasons. One, it blurs the line between recruitment and hiring discrimination (this post explains the difference). Two, a background check should verify a person’s qualifications. Joe’s LinkedIn profile says he went to Wheaton, but you don’t know if that means this one or that one. Three, you want to know if you’re hiring someone who tells the truth and who has a criminal-free history. Those so-called speeding tickets? Did Joe forget to mention that one of them also resulted in a drunken driving arrest?
True, a proper screening can be done in-house, but more and more organizations are turning to external screening companies. We are unique and specialized in our performance though; we’ve cultivated a best-in-class screening program specifically for youth sports programs.
Our screening process is already thorough, follows the law, and provides the necessary information for you to make a qualified decision about Joe Schmoe’s employability within your club. In other words, we’ll find out that Joe was drunk when he was pulled over for speeding because he was late to his last job as a BMX bike salesman.
Understand the roles of compliance
These crucial components are the building blocks toward a structured and consistent screening policy that keep you within the confines of the law. Compliance is a big deal in the screening industry. One national screening industry leader reports that consumer protection penalties can run upward of $2,500 per violation for each employee affected.
When you outsource your screening needs to a company like Protect Youth Sports, you can rest assured that employee background checks will follow the letter of the law. But if you decide to keep your screening needs in house, you’ll need to (at the very least) follow these FCRA compliance guidelines:
*only order background checks for employment reasons
*tell your candidate in writing that you will be running a background check on them
*have the candidate sign off on that
*know your limitations as an ‘end user’
*understand the delicate nature of adverse action
Are you a ‘builder’ or a ‘buyer’?
Deciding whether to run background checks yourselves, or to farm out the procedures, can be a tough decision. Ask yourself these questions before making your decision:
Is my front office already overworked?
Do I need any additional training to learn how to complete a background check?
Do I like to keep all work-related projects and task in-house?
Am I comfortable with outsourcing?
Do I have the resources to build and maintain a screening policy and procedure?
Collaborate with the professionals to create or update your policy
In most cases, we recommend outsourcing your screening needs to the experts like us. There are so many reasons why (scrolling through our blog will give you a ton of them), but one of our favorites is that our products are totally customizable so you only need to sign on for services you’re willing to pay for.
Even if you’re not ready to commit to our services, we have a skilled staff who is willing to examine your current screening policy and offer recommendations on how you can improve it. That sounds like a winner to us!
So, give us a call today to talk shop about screening. 1-800-319-5587. Tell ‘em Joe Schmoe sent you.