Enhancing Background Checks with Technology

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The old ways of carrying out background checks on employees, including domestic staff, have been fully enhanced with the introduction of a technology solution called VerifyMe, writes Emma Okonji

Before now, employers of labour, especially domestic labour, carry out unstructured background checks on their domestic staff, where their details are collected through personal interaction with the staff or third parties. In an office environment, the employer relies on the information provided in the curriculum vitae, which have no records of the antecedents of the staff. Most times, this method of background checks leaves the employer at great risk, if such employee has ulterior motives since there are no structured data about them.

But technology is fast changing all with the  introduction of ‘VeifyMe,’ an online technology solution platform that allows employers of labour to register their staff on a single portal that will be accessible to all who desire to get background information about those they intend to hire. The solution helps employers to know for certain that the people they are bringing to work and live in their homes are comprehensively verified.

Since its introduction,  it has become a widely accepted technology solution that creates on online platform where employers can report on employees workplace behavior  and the record is accessible to all who desire it.

 

About VerifyMe solution

The solution, which is available across Nigeria and subsequently Africa, makes it a lot difficult for rogue workers to thrive across the continent while model employees have an expanded market to sell themselves.

According to the Founder/CEO of VerifyMe, Mr. Tunji Oluwole, “the idea is to get employers to register their workers on the VerifyMe Nigeria portal so we have a unified database of workers which in turn eliminates ghost workers and other human capital risks. With their smartphones, tablets or other internet-enabled devices, employers and recruiters can immediately verify the backgrounds of candidates when they present themselves for employment and thereby enshrine a culture of transparency and accountability in the workforce right from the point of hire. So it becomes harder for criminals to get employed in the first place.”

Its Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Esigie Aguele, explained that the company’s innovative solution uses international standard biometric equipment to capture, compile and maintain a unique and secure identity of each worker on the database so employers are sure of the identity of who they employ into their organisations and homes, and also have access to the comprehensive work history of their employees on demand.

According to Aguele, “Every worker on the VerifyMe Nigeria database is given a unique identification number on registration which is tied to an employer. Potential employers can then access the worker’s work history with their unique ID to verify their identity and work history reports by previous employers. This enables them to make informed hiring decisions best and most secure option rather than depend on the information presented by the candidates themselves. Additionally, our portal leverages on government data points for a unified identity verification across the country.”

“Similarly, all workers have accounts to interact with our platform register on the portal and present their unique numbers to potential employers to verify reports of good behaviour or defend themselves against negative ones. Overall, we are redefining the workforce and changing the status quo in Nigeria to make it a win-win for every stakeholder within the employment ecosystem in Nigeria whether they are employers or employees,” he added.

The history 

Founded in 2013, VerifyMe Nigeria has evolved to become the leading worker verification and work history reporting company in Nigeria, using technology solution. Services include: identity verification, address verification, guarantor verification, police arrest records query and credentials verification.

The company’s solutions cut across all sectors of the Nigerian economy including white and blue-collar employees in corporate organisations as well as domestic staff. Clientele include government, corporate organisations, 5-Star hotels, residential estates and small businesses.

As a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), VerifyMe Nigeria has created a solution that enables employers run real time background checks on their current and or potential workers. VerifyMe Nigeria is an employment history reporting and verification solution that has been designed to curb workplace crime, provide additional security in homes, offices, and enable business to employ the right resources.

 

Bridging credibility gap with technology

Explaining how the technology solution can bridge credibility gap, Oluwole said: “Prior to the emergence of VerifyMe, the standard practice was for employers and recruitment agencies to screen workers based on information supplied by the workers themselves. This creates a credibility gap, as people will naturally proffer information that benefits their interests. As a result, insightful data is lost along the way, which the employer and sometimes even the worker, eventually pays for in unpleasant circumstances.”

Incidents of workplace crime have become a growing and worrying trend in Nigeria. Successive governments at the federal, state and local government levels, have tried to battle the problem of over-bloated payrolls grossly populated by ghost workers with various degrees of success. Just recently, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, announced that the federal government saved N120 billion over a 10-year period, money which would have been otherwise lost to ghost workers and other acts of fiscal irresponsibility by civil service personnel. With the advent of online marketplaces, the problem has taken an even more sinister turn.

In April 2015, Nigerians were left apprehensive with the shocking news of one Mary Akinloye, a rogue nanny who abducted the three children of her employers barely 24 hours after employment. Akinloye and her accomplices demanded a N15 million ransom for the children’s release. It was only after the Police rounded off the criminals that the nanny’s true identity was discovered. Her real name was Funmilayo Adeyemi, a career kidnapper allegedly married to a kidnap kingpin. Their mode of operation was to help her secure employment as a domestic help in affluent households, after which she would kidnap the family’s children for ransom. She had been recruited through a popular eCommerce platform.

Funmilayo/Mary’s employers had demanded for passport photographs, details of residential address, work history and guarantors. These information, coupled with a fear-filled public anxiously passing on her details via their mobile phones and other internet-enabled devices, helped the police recover the children and got the culprits arrested.

Business implication 

The implication of this for business and even people employing blue collar labour, particularly at the home front, is that in the event that the employee is a criminal, there is a high likelihood of the crime being repeated should the opportunity arises. If the identity of Funmilayo Adeyemi had been verified before employment, it would definitely have saved the families involved, the stress and sometimes irreplaceable loss that comes with hiring a criminal staff. VerifyMe is a deterrent to such abnormality. When employees are aware that they have been identified with captured biometrics on a system that checks against multiple government and private sector data points, and their employers have the ability to report on their unchangeable record in the event of crime, the employee will act more responsibly.

Global study 

Studies by the United States’ Bureau of Justice Statistics, among other similar research findings, reveal that 77 per cent of individuals arrested for a crime were for a new crime within five years of the previous incident. This is irrespective of whether the individual attended a rehabilitation programme or not.