Global Background Checks – 5 Things Your Specialist Should Know

Background Security Strategies for Incoming Aliens

You are entering alien territory when you establish a new company or a branch in a new location. It’s uncharted territory and there are rules to follow if you want to ensure your survival. Some of those rules are legal obligations. Other rules are unwritten codes of conduct rooted in the culture, which you’ll have to learn by trial and error.

Learning by doing is an excellent teacher but the best course is a path that helps you get it right the first time by avoiding cultural pitfalls.

The trick is to navigate your way legally, securely and transparently. Money talks wherever you go, but getting along with local rules and regulations is paramount to longevity and a foreign environment. Thorough background screening is essential but you must adapt your procedures to local laws, otherwise you could be entangled in litigation and bleeding money on legal fees, before you’ve even settled in.

Even Disney had a few kerfuffles when it set up Disneyland Paris. Thousands of staff were recruited from all over the world; drafted in to work at the hotels and theme park. Each employee had to abide by local French labor laws, creating crowds and long queues as employees flocked to present reams of paperwork to a very small team of HR personnel.

Apart from the sheer volume of data to be processed, problems were compounded by many of the workers being foreign nationals.

Nevertheless, like all good fairy tales, everything ended happily ever after…

So if you’re planning to expand to foreign lands, here are 5 security strategies to keep your business safe when migrating your corporate culture to an entirely new location and social structure.

1. Adapt to the local culture

International brands are easily recognizable all over the world but fitting into local cultures is not so easy, especially if the decision makers are not situated in the local workplace.

All well known brands enjoy worldwide recognition because each brand has its own distinct corporate culture and brand image with a loyal customer base.

The internal dynamics of the directors, management and staff the company will likely be rooted in the local culture of the organization’s birthplace. Standard practices implemented as the company grows, and so the corporate culture becomes a tried and tested recipe for success.

However there’s always a danger of becoming too rigid and inflexible to the point that employees have no affection or human connection to a robotic corporate culture. Loyalty can easily turn into contempt in the mind of a staff member who believes their hard work isn’t noticed or their voice isn’t being heard by those upstairs.

Multinationals with a more ‘global’ corporate structure face cultural challenges when establishing branches in foreign countries. In these instances the corporate culture needs to be flexible enough to assimilate into the local cultures in which it diversifies.

There can be stark differences on many levels between two corporate cultures. Politics, pay scales, local labor laws, seasons and tradition are a few of the influences a localized corporate culture has to adapt to.

2. Know the local laws for background screening checks

Employers in the United States are usually very familiar with their own local employment and data protection laws, or they enlist professional help to stay abreast of the varied and constantly changing laws from state to state.

It’s common for companies with more than 100 staff on the payroll to outsource background screening to an agency which provides exclusive background checking services, including criminal record checks.

As long as you have consent from the applicant or employee to do a criminal background check, it can be done quite quickly by the employer. However, in some Southeast Asian countries, employers are not allowed to do criminal record checks. Instead, the candidate applying for a job has to request the criminal record check in person, at a police station.

This is the kind of knowledge and expertise international screening agencies can help with to ensure you obey both local and international laws.

3. Outsource local legal knowledge

A huge challenge facing a foreign business opening up branches in foreign countries is finding a local expert to partner with whom you can trust to help your company progress; rather than hinder with inexplicable obstacles and language barriers.

In some places it might be somewhat of a local tradition or national sport to sap all the savings of an entrepreneur investing in a foreign country. Many a man’s dreams have been dashed on the rocks in their tropical paradise after throwing all caution to the wind by getting their ‘expert advice” from a single source.

4. Standardize you security screening procedures

Local laws and customs aside, your corporate structure and procedures must be flexible but consistent. Regardless of local laws and cultures, everyone understands the importance of security. If your system has a way of keeping Personally Identifiable Information (PII) safe and confidential, then you have the foundation to incorporate that to any locale and adapt accordingly.

Companies working with PII have good reason to perform pre-employment background screening and criminal record checks – to ensure employees handling customers’ personal data can be trusted with that responsibility. Ongoing background checks are just as important as pre-employment background screening checks. Periodically checking an employee’s background for criminal activities since the initial background check makes a lot of sense for organizations dealing with sensitive data, especially with the uptake in digital transactions and online communication.

5. Embrace technology

Technology is a resource worth investing in to save time and money. Maintaining a records system online cuts the costs storage and manpower. Regardless of any cultural barriers, centralizing data to keep it safe while allowing it to be easily accessible anywhere in the world means that every action or transaction can be traced and tracked.

Having instant access to recruitment and employment records is handy when it comes to producing evidence in cases of litigation. However, automating data collection has its drawbacks. If you standardize all background screening procedures then you set yourself up for the kind of problems faced by employers in the US, where each state has different laws about background screening applicants and doing security checks.

For example, in at more than 30 states, employers are not allowed by law to ask prospective employees about past salaries. If your company neglected to abide by the data protection laws of a particular state, you open your self up to discrimination claims and other costly litigation issues.