Businesses like yours are frequently asked to verify their former and current employees. However, if the prospect of transferring sensitive information scares you, you’re not alone. Data breaches are real events — and they can bring down your company financially as well as reputation-wise.
Globally, the average cost of a single corporate data breach is $4.35 million according to IBM. For a company operating only in the United States, the figure more than doubles. That’s a significant amount. Worse yet, even if you pay the high price, your brand could still suffer from widespread distrust.
But are employee verifications really that likely to turn into a data safety nightmare? Yes, because of three major reasons. The first is that they naturally involve private information like addresses, social security numbers, and salaries. That’s the type of information that scammers and fraudsters typically leverage to commit identity fraud.
The second problem with traditional employee verifications is that they’re often shared in unencrypted ways. From texts and emails to mailed letters, none of those vehicles offers any data security. Case in point: A five-year, ongoing text breach was only recently brought to light. The breach affected billions and probably trillions of texts.
The third reason to take this concern seriously revolves around giving up too much information. Often, employers over-verify. Specifically, they may add items that aren’t needed but could be used by hackers if intercepted.
Fortunately, you can put a few best practices into place to ensure you’re protecting data when verifying workers. Best of all, these strategies can work for startups, enterprises, and everything in between.
1. Partner with a trusted verification provider.
You may have all your employees’ data at your fingertips. Nevertheless, your organization doesn’t have to be the one to actually do all the verifying. A third-party partner can take on this role, freeing you from having to do everything in-house. You might even want to bring the employee being verified into the mix.
For example, employee verification leader Truework empowers employees to be a part of the verification pipeline. When someone requests verification, Truework sends a notification to your employee. The employee fills out information to be substantiated by your team and sent back to the requester. This back-and-forth happens rapidly through a highly encrypted system. Recently, Truework announced a collaboration with TransUnion to power up its verification abilities further. The Truework-TransUnion alliance is expected to make this accurate, secure information exchange happen even faster.
2. Standardize a framework around your corporate employee verification process.
Do you have a standard operating procedure (SOP) related to employee verification requests? Or do you simply take each verification on a case-by-case basis, allowing team members to “make it up” as they go? If you’re doing the latter, you’re not alone. Only 1.5% of companies have models for their routine processes, as noted in a 2020 process management-focused report. To rectify this gap, you’ll want to construct a defined framework around the verification process in your business.
Having a process keeps the right data from being released too soon, too late, too insecurely, or to the wrong parties. With a process in place, you can make certain that everyone follows the same authorization workflows. Just be sure that your process includes ways to document each employee verification event. For instance, you may want the process to be tracked in your project management software so it’s date- and time-stamped. You never know if you’ll be asked to provide proof of how you verified a past or present worker’s information. Being able to pull up insights will give you peace of mind.
3. Clean up all your employee data.
It’s impossible to be able to securely verify employees if the data in their files is corrupted or inaccurate. Per SHRM recommendations, you probably only need to keep employee documentation for around seven years. There’s no reason not to keep it longer, though. You just have to make sure that it’s precise. Any flaws in your data could wind up hurting a worker or past team member. Let’s say your incorrect verification information doesn’t match up with what the employee tells a potential lender. The lender might deny the employee an important loan.
Data accuracy is much simpler when everything is stored in a centralized system. The more systems you rely upon, the more scattered and siloed your data will be. When you try to bring everything together, you can end up with missing or erroneous information. Therefore, find a way to consolidate all your human resources data in one secure location. Once it’s in place, enable access only to specific colleagues and update access whenever someone leaves.
Verifying your workers’ information doesn’t have to be an overwhelming or unsafe practice. When you have secure, standardized measures in place, you can efficiently verify anyone you’ve employed. And you can take away the worries of putting your company’s (or it people’s) data at risk.
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