Monday, October 28, 2013

Recent tragedies of Ambank robbery & amok delivery boy could have been prevented with verification

Home Ministry says background checks should have been done

Kuala Lumpur, 28 October 2013: The tragedies from the recent incidents of the Ambank robbery and the amok delivery boy could have been prevented, by verifying the background of the alleged robber and delivery boy.

Although background screening is fairly new in Malaysia and is more common in mature countries, simple verification of potential employees could have prevented the recent tragedies, namely the Ambank robbery and the delivery boy running amok, said CEO of Verity Intelligence Sdn Bhd Mark Leow.

“My sincere condolences to each of the families of the deceased. If more employers take preventive measures of just verifying the backgrounds of their potential employees, these tragedies could have been prevented.

“It is unfortunate that tragedies such as these are required to jolt employers into taking appropriate action of conducting background screening.

“After all, we all know not to judge a book by its cover. We all know that expectations do not meet reality at 100%. Yet, we take no initiative to confirm and to verify whatever is claimed by potential employees,” he said.

“Even the Home Ministry in revoking the license of the security firm that employed the alleged Ambank robber said that the most obvious failure by the security firm was that they had failed to vet the guard before they hired him. This is what the Home Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Alwi Ibrahim had said himself.”

“In today’s HR landscape, the multi-dimensional complexity that we face in the employee-employer platform, is often challenging and unpredictable. Imagine this:

“A company made a decision to hire a candidate, thinking that this person’s experience,

educational background and requirements fit perfectly into the role. But somehow, months down the road, it doesn’t quite work out as planned. This new employee could not deliver as expected or worse, conducts criminal acts. And why is that? Is this a true mystery? “Not really. It is simply a case of disclosure versus verification.”

To be clear on the definitions of disclosure and verification, disclosure is the act of releasing all relevant information that may influence a decision. Verification on the other hand, is the process of research to establish the truth, accuracy and validity of the information provided.

Verification is intended to provide additional confidence in full disclosure, ruling out and minimizing any potential lies, fraud and dishonesty. In essence, it gives stronger grounds for assurance for a fair assessment on an individual, so that the most well-informed decision can be made.

And of course, there is the matter of static data versus dynamic data.

Static data is information that will remain unchanged. For example, the institution which the candidate graduated from will always be an uncontested fact. What we should be more interested to know are the dynamic data. The truth six months ago can now be a thing of the past. The integrity, financial, reputational changes in a person’s current circumstances are the influencers and contributors of their deliverables, today.

When we employ an individual, it is very common to request for full disclosure so to ensure all risk factors are assessed, via an Application Form. Although this may seem as a sufficient precautionary measure, if no verification process is in place to validate the truthfulness of the information provided, the risk of being ‘deceived’ still exists.

By including this verification process via an Employment Due Diligence procedure, identity verification, criminal record searches, previous employment checks, cyber vetting, driving records, directorship status, civil and litigation records and many more, are just some examples of information you can confirm. Many employers are beginning to implement this to avoid the painful consequences of a bad hiring decision.

Culturally, as Malaysians, we are surprisingly and inherently very obliging and would rather avoid confrontation or engage in any disagreement when it comes to clarification of matters.

Unfortunately this has its own pitfall and sometimes we get burnt for it. KPMG’s 2009 Fraud Report outlines that almost 50% of all Malaysian public listed companies in their survey were affected by fraud. More shockingly, 84% of those frauds were committed by internal employees. Concerns over security and safety today are highly prioritized, in light of on-going and recent events.

Times have changed. And you know it. Keep the watch dog at your front door.

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