5 Types of Work Tech Solutions to Identify and Prevent Workplace Misconduct (and the Pros & Cons of Each)
There’s no question that workplace misconduct can substantially harm an organization. Being proactive and taking steps to prevent workplace misconduct is extremely important.
Today’s modern, diverse, and tech-savvy workforce requires employers to adopt new strategies and technologies to keep up, remain compliant, and protect the organization. One necessary step to prevent, identify, and act on workplace misconduct is setting up the proper tech stack.
This article will walk through key solutions you need in your work tech stack to help identify, prevent, and navigate workplace misconduct.
#1. Whistleblower Solutions
Whistleblower solutions offer a way for employees to report the crimes of other employees, usually via anonymous online forms, hotlines, or chat functions. They also usually have a protocol for navigating complaints once they are received.
What’s great about these solutions is they help organizations catch and compliantly deal with ongoing misconduct. They do this with the help of employees, who they hope will report any crimes they see. Research shows that 40% of fraud schemes are initially detected by tips, 53% of which were reported by employees.
The downside, however, is most employees don’t know how to or won’t report other employees. Other data shows that 81% of employees did not report corruption they experienced. This could be a reason why fraud schemes alone last an average of 16 months before being discovered. Even worse, only 50% of employees report harassment, which led to 34% of employees saying they have left a job due to unresolved harassment concerns.
- Some solutions offer anonymity
- Potentially built-in reporting protocols (depending on how the company has set it up)
- Most employees don’t report their colleagues
- Whistleblowing means the crime has already been committed or is ongoing
#2. Employee Listening Solutions
Employee Listening solutions listen across a variety of communications and collaboration platforms and report activity back to the employer. These solutions may be a great way for companies to understand the ‘voice of the employees,’ gather feedback to improve the organization, and even detect misconduct.
As many as 38% of employees have experienced harassment through email, video, phone, or online chat. In remote environments where these kinds of solutions really thrive, employee listening solutions can help identify misconduct in a remote world.
However, now that many organizations are calling employees back to the office, these kinds of solutions may not perform as strongly in reporting in-office encounters and may require additional reporting solutions to experience the same or similar benefits.
- In real time and always on
- Great for primarily remote or online working environments
- May have built in reporting or investigative protocols and audit trails
- May have functionality to listen across a variety of communications platforms - i.e. email, Slack, etc.
- Don’t rely on employees to report behavior
- Miss in-person interactions
- Usually expensive
- Don’t prevent bad behavior most of the time, just reports on it after it happens
- Requires advanced technical setup and integration into existing tools
- Employees don’t have a choice and may rebel against this - it’s creepy
- If employees know you are “listening” but don’t act on suggestions, they won’t be happy
#3. Traditional Background Checks
Background checks are one of the oldest kinds of HR and recruiting technology. They are widely adopted and can help organizations identify a wide range of information that is helpful to know before a new hire joins the organization like work, educational, criminal, and financial history, as well as drug use in some cases.
They do fall short in certain areas, like not detecting criminal activity that wasn’t recorded in criminal databases (i.e. if the candidate commits a crime but isn’t caught or charged). Beyond that, traditional background checks don’t surface other forms of misconduct, like intolerance, despite it having a big impact on the organization.
- Verifies candidate identity
- Verifies candidate work, educational, criminal, and financial histories
- Can include drug tests
- Lengthens time to hire
- Misses crimes that aren’t recorded through the legal system
- Increases bias in the hiring process, potentially because of injustices in the justice system
#4. Reference Checks
For decades, organizations have leveraged reference checks as one of the first lines of defense against hiring bad employees. In the past, this process was extremely manual and time consuming. Today’s technological advancements have streamlined this process, allowing employers to gather, reach out to, and collect references in just a few minutes (at each step).
Reference checks can certainly provide insight into a candidate’s skills and behaviors at work, which is exactly what employers want. However, the way this is done - by candidate referral or reaching out to existing companies - leaves significant room for a lack of honesty or response preventing companies from getting the clear picture they are looking for.
- Could provide insight into a candidate’s skills or behaviors at work
- Technology automates this previously-manual, time consuming process
- Many candidates will only provide references they know will be good
- Many employers may not provide full details on candidate due to compliance regulations
- Many candidates who are working for an organization during their job hunt will be weary against providing their existing employer’s details
- Reaching out to a candidate’s existing employer for a reference may alert them the candidate is looking, and may make hiring the candidate more competitive
#5. Online Screening Solutions
Research shows that most hiring teams are already looking up job candidates online or on social media during the hiring process. Specifically, 66% of employers use search engines to conduct research on job candidates, 57% have found content that caused them not to hire candidates, and 34% of employers have reprimanded or fired an employee based on content found online.
The bad news is that when employers do these searches themselves, they usually aren’t in compliance with employment law and they open themselves up to a myriad of discrimination and other lawsuits.
The good news is there are already technology solutions that help employers get the information they need to improve the quality of hires while also remaining compliant - the more advanced online screening solutions are FCRA, GDRP, and EEOC compliant.
That’s why many are calling online screening solutions the modern background checks.
- When going through a solution, online screenings are compliant
- Provides insight into a candidate’s values and behaviors before they are hired
- More reliable candidate insights than references
- Online screening solutions are one of the most cost effective types of background checks
- Can catch misconduct behaviors that weren’t recorded in the criminal justice system
- If not done correctly, companies can find protected class information that leads to bias
- Some of the less advanced solutions can take a long time to return results
Workplace misconduct can put organizations at risk for legal, financial, and reputational harm. It’s important for leaders across the organization to stay vigilant and take steps to proactively prevent, identify, and navigate misconduct in the workplace.
Organizations that take steps to prevent misconduct experience significant returns. Harvard Business School research found that organizations who refuse to hire toxic employees — even “rainmakers” — see a 3x return on their bottom line.”
The right tech stack can help organizations do that.
Learn more about preventing workplace misconduct here.