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How Online Behaviors Are Impacting Your Bottom Line

Many of us have experienced toxic behavior in the workplace. Though many of us use stories and anecdotes to illustrate and process our experiences, few of us have had access to quantifiable data when attempting to communicate the importance of managing these behaviors at work. What are the full costs of toxic workplace behavior? To help organizations get clarity around the value of reducing toxic behavior in the workplace, we’ve anonymized and aggregated a trove of data around this question, and taken it upon ourselves to use this data to provide meaningful insight for companies around the world.

Last year, we kick-started this conversation by publishing a study called "The Cost of a Toxic Hire.” It was a breakthrough resource showing how much money companies were losing to the turnover and absenteeism caused by toxic employees. While the response was overwhelmingly positive, we recognized that companies were losing far more than $1.2 million per year. We soon found even more information about how much market cap companies were losing to the impacts of toxic behavior, and the measures that boards are now taking to protect their companies from the fallout of insidious workplace events.

Earlier this year, we launched the Toxic Employee Handbook with Dr. John Sullivan, a renowned influencer in the world of talent management. This newly released handbook covered over 40 distinct categories of damage caused by toxic employees and offered new tools to start building a business case for formal toxic behavior reduction efforts. Again, the response was overwhelmingly positive. More and more companies are looking to understand the full extent of damages that toxic employees inflict on our businesses and to discover ways they can identify them before they harm our organizations.

Online Screening: The Next Frontier of Insider Threat Detection

As more and more of our lives move onto the public web, businesses are becoming aware of the degree to which publicly available online information can help them stay ahead of potential risks. Previously, we discussed how online screening can help organizations manage their mergers and acquisitions. However, as the landscape of risk continues to grow, we’re also seeing companies leverage online screening to prevent insider threats—malicious threats to an organization’s security, data, and computer systems that comes from the people within.

Traditionally, businesses have mitigated insider threats by identifying and troubleshooting technical vulnerabilities in the enterprise or responding after the fact. But as more and more employees collaborate with criminal and activist groups, and the cost of the average insider threats reaches $8.7 million per incident, the success of your business can also hinge upon your ability to catch more emotional and qualitative vulnerabilities. How do these “emotional warning signs” indicate a potential attack, and how do you find them before it’s too late?

In this blog, we’ll discuss how employees’ interactions with social media and the public web can lead to costly data breaches. From there, we’ll break down the difference between negligent and malicious insiders, and why companies need sophisticated online screening solutions to safeguard themselves from the full set of potential vulnerabilities.

Enterprise Risk Is Changing: The Case for Continuous Screening

In July 2018, Uber announced that it would begin conducting continuous background checks on their drivers. Although the company has had a difficult history when it comes to culture issues and passenger safety, this particular decision moved Uber ahead of the curve. It showed they understood that whether caused by executives, employees, or contractors, enterprise risk stems from individuals whose behaviors can change over time—and that after years of negative press and internal shocks, they were finally doing something about it.

Like Uber, many companies today are starting to recognize the limits of traditional background checks and looking to recurring, real-time screening solutions to manage employee risk. Nearly half of employers today are scrambling for ways to identify high risk employee behaviors, but according to the Society for Human Resource Management, only 11 percent of companies formally screen past the initial hire. This means that nearly 9 in 10 companies are depending on pre-hire checks to keep their organizations out of the headlines.

As continuous screening moves beyond the high-security industries and into the mainstream, businesses across industries are seeking solutions that simplify and complete their risk management process. In this blog, we’ll discuss how enterprise risk has changed in the last decade and highlight why companies today must extend their screening practices beyond the initial hire.

Why Automated Online Screening Is the Future of Background Checks

Earlier this year, The Washington Post announced that the Virginia criminal database has been missing over 750,000 cases, including over 300 murder convictions, 1,300 rape convictions, and 4,600 convictions for felony assault. That means that over the last decade, thousands of firearm purchases, new hires, and crime scene investigations were completed without this information. The story raised hairs about how the background check process breaks down and left us wondering how so many records are falling through the cracks.

This incident reveals a larger point about the broken nature of our systems and processes for vetting—and as rates of bigotry, violence, and other high-risk behaviors grow to record highs, businesses are some of the ones paying the biggest price. Why are companies having a harder time screening and vetting people today, and what can they do to stay ahead of the risks?

In this blog, we’ll discuss the why the current system of background checks is broken, how makeshift methods can expose your company to legal risks, and how automated online screening helps fills the gaps for a more complete and effective investigation.

Screening Your Candidates' Online Content? Don't Miss This Detail

Online content is powerful. From social media to personal blogs, the internet has become one of the largest platforms for people to express themselves. With more and more information being created each day, our online profiles often show more about who we are than we ever share in person.

Companies have recognized the value of this information when determining how well a current or prospective employee will further their mission and values, but there can often be more questions than answers around online screening. When you discover questionable content, what should you do? What are the steps to take when you see something that might be problematic for a particular role?

While every business has unique policies to follow based on state and local regulations, nearly all companies can adopt a few common principles to help ensure compliance within a complex legal landscape. The key to enacting any adverse decision when screening is to focus on the requirements of the job—and to base decisions on the candidate’s overall profile, not individual pieces of content.

Stop Googling Your Candidates: Why Manual Screening Costs Companies Millions

Looking to figure out who’s who in your sea of applicants? If you’re using search engines or social media, you’re in good company.

More and more employers are going online to learn more about their job applicants before hiring them, casting their nets to surface the information that can help distinguish between a top recruit and a catastrophic hire. Employers today know that online or offline, every employee represents your brand no matter what role they play. With employer liability insurance now costing more than $2.1 billion per year and entire merger outcomes changing due to toxic employee behavior, the number of employers looking for a digital deep-dive on their candidates is swelling.

Today, over 70% of employers are manually screening applicants. In other words, over 13,000 large U.S. businesses and 4.2 million small and medium enterprises are searching candidates online, but few have considered the costs. How much will it cost to screen all these candidates by hand? How do you make sure each profile matches the individual in question, and how do you make sure you don’t miss the critical detail that makes all the difference? Manual screening can lead employers to spending thousands of dollars on research, only to misidentify a critical profile or make a costly oversight.

Hollywood's Billion Dollar Social Media Problem

Following James Gunn’s tweet controversy with Disney, The Ringer posted an article on how Hollywood vets their talent in the age of Twitter. They said that TV and film studios are scrambling for ways to protect themselves from the controversy and expense of a social media scandal, without having to actually read through thousands of old tweets.

With Roseanne's scandal costing over $60 million in lost ad revenue and Gunn being just the latest star to run into financial and reputational losses over online content, it has become clear that Hollywood has deeply entrenched issues when it comes to screening and managing stars for reputational risk online. At this rate, the industry is slated to lose over $1 billion in the next year over social media issues alone. The proliferation of digital content has outpaced the industry’s tools for staying on top of it all, leaving companies wondering what to do—and who will be next.

20 Years Ago, Harassment Training Was Revolutionary. Here's Why It’s Not Anymore

More and more Americans have grown to consider sexual harassment a problem in the last 20 years. In 1998, 53 percent of adults surveyed by Gallup said that people were too sensitive about sexual harassment. But something has turned in the last two decades: in 2017, 59 percent of adults now say that people are not sensitive enough.

The general public is expecting more from businesses than ever when it comes to creating a safe, inclusive work environment. So how is sexual harassment in the workplace still so widespread?

In 1998, the Supreme Court determined that for a company to avoid liability in a sexual harassment case, it had to show its employees were trained and given a way to report offenses. Anita Hill had charged Justice Clarence Thomas with harassment just years prior, and companies like Mitsubishi had made payments totaling $34 million to a cohort of female workers.

Sexual Harassment: An Inflection Point

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the veil has been lifted on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workplace and the numbers are staggering. Millions of men and women have finally been empowered by the #MeToo movement to come forward and tell their stories of being harassed. In fact, 1 in 3 women reported that they have experienced some form of sexual harassment while at work. Unfortunately, this problem isn't limited to a few bad actors either. About 20 to 25 percent of men self-reported participating in sexually coercive behavior, ranging from forced sex to verbal manipulation like guilt-tripping a woman into having sex.

Given the immense breadth of harassment claims that have emerged, it doesn’t seem that there are large enterprises in any industry that can credibly claim that harassment is not an issue they face in their workplace.

That being said, we have begun to learn a lot about the types of companies that are less susceptible to workplace sexual harassment. Organizations with more women in leadership roles, executive buy-in on anti-harassment efforts, and consistent enforcement of corporate policies have proven track records of being less likely to experience workplace harassment (EEOC). Unfortunately, even with all of these efforts, moving the needle on these fronts can still be quite challenging.

5 Ways Social Media Behavior Can Create Security Risks

There is increasing awareness among security experts about how social media behaviors can open the door for insider and outsider threats. However, other than an employee posting a direct threat online, it can sometimes be difficult to know what to look for.

When attackers want to penetrate an organization’s security, they look for vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities may be technical in nature but oftentimes employees themselves can be the weakest links in a security system. The content that employees post on social media can give would-be attackers clues as to who in the organization might be susceptible. At Fama, we’ve worked with numerous organizations to help them interpret potential risk indicators on social media. Here are five ways that social media posts can leave organizations vulnerable to an attack.