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SearchWorks - the power of background checks

The manufacturing, retail, financial services, communications, mining, agriculture, and tourism sectors are key contributors to South Africa’s gross domestic product both in terms of economic output and as employers. In today’s dynamic business landscape, where leadership and organisational transformation are crucial for success, conducting thorough employment and supplier background checks plays a pivotal role, says Sameer Kumandan, Managing Director of SearchWorks, an innovative data platform that allows users to conduct live, accurate searches on individuals and companies and in-depth know your client checks online.

In high-value segments of the economy, it’s clear why each sector becomes a target for various forms of malfeasance – ranging from deceptive suppliers and tender fraud to dubious job applicants. Background checks reduce a company’s risk for reputational damage and criminal activities such as fraud and theft. They can also verify information on an applicant’s resume and assist HR professionals in determining whether an individual is the right fit for the job. HR professionals recognise the significance of these checks in not only verifying job candidates’ credentials but also in identifying potential risks that could hinder leadership development and transformational initiatives.

Finding and managing talent for an organisation is a responsibility that is both time and resource-intensive. Making a poor hiring decision is more than a costly mistake. It results in lost time and expenses due to the need to recruit and train another candidate and has the unintended consequence of dampening employee morale and productivity. And the more senior the position, the higher the stakes become.

When health and safety regulations require an individual to have specific qualifications to access a workplace, embellishing or falsifying information is not a white lie, but a significant risk. In leadership positions, the responsibility and duty of care are magnified. Leaders are accountable for the well-being of their employees, the satisfaction of their customers, and the impact of their organisation on society at large.

Trust is critical in the employment relationship, irrespective of the seniority of the position in question. Employers need to be able to trust their people to do their jobs and to treat colleagues and customers with respect while representing their brand with dignity. But how does an employer screen the integrity and reliability of a potential candidate? And how in-depth should this kind of screening be?

For dedicated HR professionals, background checks are a critical part of the hiring process. Fortunately, it’s no longer necessary to manually check every fact or qualification. All it takes to run a thorough background check on any individual is a few clicks. The results empower HR professionals to make well-informed hiring decisions and allow them to focus on growing the business, building positive relationships with employees and making them feel valued.

The people hired within a business are a direct reflection of the organisation. They are a brand’s ambassadors, and they show customers, partners, and clients what a business stands for. Therefore, background checks ensure that a business hires people who can uphold an organisation’s values and expectations. Here, social media screening is a critical component of a thorough background check and can give insights into characteristics such as the individual’s work ethic, personal values, and beliefs. It can also identify key risk areas based on content, such as racism, homophobia, hate speech, illegal activities, disclosure of confidential information and dishonesty.

At a broader level, robust and ethical leadership is vital if South Africa wants to improve its economic position. To achieve this, it’s necessary to strengthen good governance practices. Complete and accurate information enables better, more transparent decision-making, which in turn can create greater trust between organisations and their stakeholders. Preventing and mitigating irregularities, fraud, and corruption through due diligence at all levels of a business can free organisations, enabling them to enhance their products and services, foster growth, and make a positive impact on South Africa’s economy as a whole.

By leveraging SearchWorks, HR professionals can make well-informed hiring decisions that align with their organisation’s values and expectations, propelling leadership transformation and ensuring a trustworthy work environment. Through diligent background checks, companies can effectively mitigate risks, safeguard their reputation, and drive successful leadership and organisational transformation endeavours.

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