Every business is impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Some differently than others. While many businesses have been forced to close or transition entire workforces to remote positions, other businesses, such as grocers, medical providers and delivery companies, have seen unprecedented demand for services. And that means an unprecedented demand for more workers.
Amazon announced last week that it would hire 100,000 additional workers in the U.S. and increase pay for workers in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Food delivery companies, such as DoorDash, UberEats and GrubHub, are seeing higher demand for their services – and they can’t onboard new employees fast enough. If you fall into this category, maintaining proper background checks is essential, especially considering the sensitive nature of employee-to-customer interactions.
Hiring contingent workers during the coronavirus outbreak
Here are a few best practices to consider when hiring an extended workforce during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Understand what type of workers are needed: Businesses seeing increased demand for products or services during the coronavirus outbreak need to prioritize hiring. With millions of U.S. workers now filing for unemployment, the pool of workers is increasing. Making sure you’re staffing for the most essential positions first is critical to success. By having a clear understanding of the workers needed and their job duties, you can streamline your employee screening process. For example, there’s probably no need to conduct a DMV check on workers for which driving is not a necessary job function.
- Maintain consistent employment screening practices: Employers should subject contingent or extended workforces to the same screening standards as regular employees. As this unique employment landscape continues to evolve, it’s more important now than ever to maintain consistent employment screening practices. Especially as more contingent workers are performing critical tasks and interacting with customers and sensitive customer data.
- Understand core compliance checks by role: When it comes to conducting background checks, certain positions and industries are required by state and federal regulators to perform specific types of background checks. Knowing which employees and industries fall into those categories and which do not can speed up the hiring process significantly. Role-based screening is something you need to consider when transitioning current employees into more essential roles – even if temporarily. For example, chances are restaurants might not have conducted motor vehicle records checks on wait staff but are now relying on those employees to perform food deliveries during quarantines.
- Incorporate your screening policy into contractor agreements: Outsourcing essential workers can be a time and money saver, but it’s important to ensure that vendors adhere to the same background screening protocols that you’ve put in place. Make sure your vendors are clear about your requirements and agree to abide by them.
- Do your due diligence: All the rules pertaining to due diligence apply in equal force to your extended workforce. Your business can be liable for the actions of a contingent employee in the same way it can be liable for the actions of regular employees. Businesses are expected to know if and when a member of their extended workforce is unqualified or otherwise unfit for employment.
- Keep your screening processes to one system: By eliminating redundancies and streamlining multiple screening systems, businesses can reduce risk. Putting proper controls in place can be nearly impossible when using multiple systems, creating a compliance nightmare. Using one system can reduce the odds of human error and speed up the process.
Creating screening processes for your extended workforce can seem overwhelming, especially in an emergency situation like we’re currently experiencing with the novel coronavirus, but it’s also the best way to help mitigate risk.
Accurate prepared these materials for informational purposes only. These materials are not intended to be comprehensive, and are not a substitute for, and should not be construed as legal advice. Accurate does not warrant any statements in these materials. Employers should direct to their own experienced legal counsel questions involving their organization’s compliance with or interpretation or application of laws or regulations and any additional legal requirements that may apply.