At InformData, we say that service is our culture. But with so many factors to consider when choosing a data partner for your CRA or background screening company, why should company culture matter?
“Culture” in corporate language can often seem like an ambiguous or even meaningless term. But when an organization has a clearly-defined culture and commits to its cultural values, you can feel it. Everyone can: employees, customers, all stakeholders.
A company’s culture shapes the customer experience more than any other factor. In fact, all the other things you care about when selecting a data supplier — cost effectiveness, turnaround time, accuracy, and reliability — stem from culture. At InformData, our “why”, our corporate purpose, is making Direct-Source people data equitably accessible to all. Culture is what makes it possible to achieve this purpose.
What Is Culture?
Whether spoken or unspoken, a company’s culture permeates everything it does. Company culture touches and steers every client interaction, operational step, innovation, and investment.
Writing on the importance of culture for McKinsey, two experts note that culture encompasses what organizations and the people within them do and how they function, but also, critically, why.
Culture, the analysts write, “includes observable behaviors (the what and how above the surface) as well as everything underneath – the shared mindsets and beliefs that influence how people in an organization behave.”
A strong set of shared beliefs, assumptions, and goals — a company’s why — remains constant throughout economic and technological change. That is one reason company culture matters when choosing a data supplier. Whatever the future holds, you can count on the culture to keep every person in the company focused on the values that inspired you to partner with the company in the first place.
At InformData, Service Is Our Culture
At InformData, our why, what drives us, is clear: “Making direct-source people data equitably accessible to all.” Key to this mission is the concept of service. To us, service doesn’t just mean providing exceptional customer service, although that is certainly part of it.
Service, to us, means being of service to our customers, our team members, our communities, and all the people our actions affect. We are, after all, in the people data business. Therefore people are our priority.
We built our culture of service because we believe it is the right thing to do — especially for a company that impacts so many lives. Lives of our employees, lives of our CRA customers and lives of the people seeking employment or advancement impacted by the data we provide. But we will be the first to admit that a service culture has its business benefits.
As InformData President Matt Lowers said during the latest episode of the Inform Yourself podcast, it all comes down to the golden rule: Treat people how you would like to be treated, and they will treat you the same. InformData has become the background screening industry’s most trusted data supplier by following this simple tenet.
During the podcast, Lowers explained that InformData’s service-oriented culture is supported by four pillars:
- A quality-first mindset
- Transparent communications
Prefer listening instead of reading? Check out our podcast with Lowers to hear all about our culture of service: Exploring InformData's Service-Driven Culture with President Matt Lowers
A Quality-First Mindset
Back before our company went fully remote in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, every computer monitor in the office bore a sticker exclaiming, “What I do matters.” Although those stickers may no longer be on every monitor, the sentiment remains.
From the top down at InformData, we are fully and constantly aware that lives hinge on the quality and accuracy of our data.
“We are the last line of defense in the background check process,” Lowers said. Our data helps determine whether people can land the jobs they need to provide for their families. It also keeps workplaces safe by preventing the wrong people from getting within their walls.
We take the quality of our data and processes seriously because it is serious, not only to the subjects of background checks but to the end-users that count on them to make critical staffing decisions and to the CRAs that rely on our data to sustain and grow their businesses.
“We process hundreds of thousands of background searches every day, and that converts to millions annually,” Lowers said. “We believe in treating each one as if it’s our own background check. That’s what we mean by a quality-first culture.”
The background checking process should not be a black box. Given all that is riding on our data, we believe we owe our CRA clients and their end-users transparency. Transparency doesn’t necessarily mean sharing every detail of our process but providing context for our decisions and results.
The current situation in Michigan provides a perfect example.
The Great Lake State’s new “Clean Slate” law mandates the automatic expungement of certain convictions, meaning, as of April 2023, criminal background checks may not return as expected. We offer CRAs and background screening companies the option of running a statewide ICHAT search. But in the interest of transparency, we clarify that ICHAT is not a one-to-one replacement for county-level data (and we have test results to show it).
“This is an alternative,” Lowers explained. “It’s close, but it’s not the same. I think it’s important to be transparent rather than just saying, ‘We can still get your search done. Don’t worry.’”
Our commitment to transparency extends to our company’s relationship with its employees. We ensure all our team members are up-to-date about the company’s financial performance, our plans for new products and services, our philanthropic efforts, and the employee benefits and initiatives we’re considering — to name a few. This sets the tone for a culture of transparency that filters out to our customers.
“If we’re not transparent with what we’re working on and how we’re going to deliver that within our own organization, I don’t think our employees are going to be transparent with our customers,” Lowers said. “And as a business transparency with our customers is a key part of delivering on the promise of our “Why””.
The idea that to whom much is given, much is expected has been a driving force for InformData’s leadership since they began the businesses that ultimately merged to form InformData.
InformData is proud to be a title sponsor of Lowers is a co-founder of HeroHomes, which Lowers co-founded. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building homes in Loudoun County, Virginia, for disabled military veterans and their families. If you’re interested, you can learn more about this incredible organization here.
“At InformData, we’re in business to make a profit and a return on investment, but at the end of the day, you have to turn around and give some of that back to those in need,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Among InformData’s proudest initiatives is our Military Spouse Program. We have prioritized hiring military spouses for many of our court data research and resume verification roles.
A military spouse’s life is constantly uprooted, making it hard to build a career. Military spouses tend to experience significantly higher rates of unemployment and lower wages than their civilian counterparts. We don’t think that’s how people who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms should be treated and we’re doing what we can to make a positive difference in the lives of our military spouses.
“Military spouses are key to our organization,” Lowers said. With their talent, work ethic, and intellectual flexibility, military spouses are essential to our mission of making Direct-Source Data® equitably accessible to all.
Accountability is a simple concept. It’s the thread that connects the other three elements in our culture of service, ensuring that in every interaction with customers, employees, and the community, we hold up our end of the bargain.
“Accountability, to me, is being able to trust that someone is going to do what they say they’re going to do,” Lowers explained. At InformData, that means no cutting corners and no sacrificing quality.
“We are accountable for each and every search in that transaction, and we drive that message from the top down and hold not only our employees accountable to deliver on that, but also trust that our end-user customers are doing the same,” he said.
Finding a Cultural Fit For Your CRA or Background Screening Company
Choosing a data supplier for your CRA or background screening company is more than just choosing another vendor. Your CRA relies on your data provider as an essential partner to meet your end-users’ expectations and grow your business. And as with any partnership, cultural alignment is critical to a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship.
Now that we’ve shared a little bit about our culture with you, we would be honored to learn more about your CRA or background screening company and how we might be of service. Click here to get in touch.