Pre-employment background screening is an excellent way to determine of the applicant in front of you is the right fit for the position you are offering. You can determine all sorts of facts of their life down to what their credit report looks like and rest assured that you have made a good hiring decision. But really, background screening is only the first line of defense against criminal behavior in the work place. Background screening only detects known criminals, it cannot reveal the intentions of a criminal mind that has yet to reveal itself.
It is imperative for any size company to keep a watchful eye on their employees and on their bottom lines, especially with today's financial woes, one can not be too careful. Running random drug testing programs is an excellent way to ensure the new hires are taking their jobs seriously and aren't trying to dupe the system, as are post- employment criminal background searches that can check up on your what your new employees have been up to - and if they've gotten into any trouble - since you put them on payroll.
But a company can go further, and keep itself ahead of the technology curve by creating tough company policies about legal, ethical, security, and productivity uses of the technology available to their employees. Companies are encouraged to develop policies regarding privacy, appropriate use, intellectual property protection, and they are encouraged to issue statements detailing the practices behind said technologies. The policies and statements should be reviewed once a year, at minimum, to keep up with the every changing plane of technology.
Today, it's almost a given that there needs to be policy regarding email and instant messaging. Less well thought-out arenas for policy include blogs and social networking sites. Both are wildly popular and useful knowledge sharing platforms, however, there are hundreds of blogs about companies with employees, workers and former employees hashing it out in a community centered environment that is prone to leaking confidential information that the company would not want released. As well with information, however inadvertently it may be, that is posted on Myspace.com.
Employers need to realize that with the great leaps forward we have taken, the holes of vulnerability have gotten larger and harder to maintain. One may not be able to stop someone from posting private information, but it would be nice to feel comfortable taking action against that person.