June 18, 2021 | Verifications

The Great Resignation: How Is the Job Churn Pandemic Affecting the Employment Screening Industry?

The end of the great pandemic of 2020 and 2021 is finally in sight. You’ve seen the help wanted signs outside almost every business. Businesses throughout America are reopening their doors, recalling their people, and — critically for the employment screening industry — hiring again.

But just as the viral pandemic is coming under control, another catastrophic force looms, threatening to prevent employers from quickly restoring their pre-pandemic productivity: the Great Resignation.

What Is the Great Resignation?

The Great Resignation is a term used by some economists to refer to a massive economy-wide increase in job churn they expect to accompany the end of COVID-era regulations, business closures, and work-from-home mandates.

No single factor will be responsible for this job churn, experts like Anthony Klotz of Texas A&M University say. Rather, several motivators will inspire employees to consider job changes:

  • Many employees who would have otherwise already quit their jobs stuck with their positions for the duration of the pandemic. Now that job security matters less, people in this group are preparing to finally make the change they’ve been postponing.
  • The stress of the pandemic contributed to higher levels of employee burnout, which is associated with higher turnover.
  • Time away from the workplace has led some employees to consider rebalancing their priorities to focus more on their families or hobbies. Others are reevaluating how their careers align with their values and interests.
  • Millions of American employees experienced the flexibility and convenience of remote work for the first time during the pandemic. Many don’t want to go back to the office.

Recent surveys have found that anywhere from a quarter of workers to as many as 40% are considering changing jobs or just quitting. These are historic numbers.

We should note that some observers believe the Great Resignation is overblown. But even a modest amount of job churn can be disastrous to employers, especially as they strive to regain their footing in the post-pandemic economy.

When employees leave, they take with them potentially decades of institutional knowledge. In addition, getting new employees up to full production can take months. And training new employees en masse can be cumbersome and expensive.

Meanwhile, as business picks up, employers cannot afford to leave their positions unfilled for long and delays in making an offer may mean failure to hire the best employees. This has caused employers to ratchet up the pressure on the consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) that perform their employment screening.

How Has the Great Resignation Impacted CRAs?

The Great Resignation, although incredible for generating significant volume, is one major contributor to the “perfect storm” that is creating unprecedented demand for pre-employment background screening and straining CRAs beyond their capacity limits. As many readers of this blog will know, quit rates drive the demand for background screening just as much as — if not more than — hiring.

For CRAs, sky-high quit rates are both a blessing and a curse.

Obviously, it’s always good to experience high demand for your services. But on the other hand, many background screening companies are struggling to keep up. As a result, backlogs are getting out of control, turnaround time (TAT) is slowing to a crawl, KPIs are missed, and service-level agreements (SLAs) are broken.

Part of the problem is that many CRAs are themselves suffering from the Great Resignation.

Most CRAs cut back on employees during the pandemic, and not all of these employees are returning. (Employers such as Target and Costco are bumping up their wages in response to their own staffing woes, which is attracting would-be staffers from the employment screening industry.)

The job churn surge is causing problems on the other end of the phone, as well. Some human resources professionals are so bombarded with verification requests, they’ve stopped returning calls.

Finally, as if it wasn’t hard enough to staff an employment verification team with a sufficient number of trained professionals to handle the extraordinary demand, computers, phone systems, and other critical IT infrastructure are in short supply now, too.

And verifications aren’t the only problem. A great deal of courts throughout the country have limited capacity due to social distancing policies, which restrict access or limit the amount of time court researchers are allowed to perform their work.

How to Flourish as a CRA Amid the Great Resignation

Nearly every CRA we’ve heard from lately here at InformData has told us they’ve been struggling with capacity issues and disappointed end-users. What can be done? Here are a few short-term solutions:

  • Be upfront with your end-users. Transparency is always the best policy. Don’t promise your end-users results you can’t hope to achieve in the current conditions. All organizations are adjusting to a new reality, and chances are, most of your end-users will understand that the employment screening industry is facing the same challenges as every other field.
  • Consider automation. If you are still sending court runners into counties that offer a quality automated research solution, it might be time to make a switch. This will improve turnaround time dramatically while increasing operational efficiency.
  • Shift your non-calling completions to after-hours. You can’t solve all your problems in the employee screening business with overtime. School registrars and HR professionals are only at their desks during certain hours of the day. But you can alleviate the pressure somewhat by maximizing your use of the prime calling windows (at InformData, we call them “power hours”) and reserving the evening hours for verification work that can be completed online.
  • Prioritize the first two calls. We’ve analyzed millions of verification calls here at InformData, and one thing the data says loud and clear is that the first two calls generate the highest volume of closes, by far. The fourth and fifth calls may add 5% to your completion rates, but in periods of extreme demand, it might be worth taking a minor hit to your UTV to boost your turnaround times.

Prepare Your CRA for Long-Term Stability: Partner With InformData

No one knows how long the post-pandemic period of job churn will continue. One thing we can say for sure, however, is that the employment landscape has always been unpredictable. The pandemic and the Great Resignation are just two extreme examples of how difficult it can be to gird your CRA against a volatile job market.

We have long advocated partnering with a third-party background screening data provider for this very reason.

A third party can act as a release valve for your overflow work in times of high demand. When orders decline (like they did at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic), a third-party partner will allow you to maintain a reduced staffing level without worrying about your readiness to respond to sudden spikes.

Why Choose InformData as Your Background Screening Data Provider

The typical CRA might need four, five, or more weeks to get a new hire up to full productivity as a screener — and that’s if your prospective staff hasn’t been swept up by offers to stock shelves at Costco or run a register at Target.

At InformData, on the other hand, we’ve got training down to a science. Our proprietary training process and technology platform puts a brand-new employee onto the production floor, at volume, within two days. This is the fastest in the employment screening industry, and it gives us the flexibility to handle fluctuations in the job market without missing a beat while maintaining quality.

In the first 5 months of this year, we’ve hired 319 new verification specialists. All of these people are hard at work right now, addressing the challenges of the Great Resignation and giving our CRA clients the power and confidence that comes with a scalable, predictable, and efficient service model.

InformData offers a hybrid approach to background screening that combines the most highly-trained human researchers in the business with an industry-leading criminal background screening automation platform. We now offer automated court research in over 1,800 counties, and we are adding more every day.

Survive the Great Resignation — and Grow Your CRA!

The Great Resignation may, at first, seem like a pandemic of a different kind. But if your CRA is adequately prepared for it, the Great Resignation can actually be an excellent opportunity to grow your business. As end-users struggle to keep up with an overwhelming amount of job churn, employment screening is more critical than ever.

The key to delivering the turnaround times your end-users expect, hitting all your KPIs, and fulfilling your SLAs is the hybrid people, process, technology approach only InformData can offer.

You’ve got overages; we’ve got the capacity. So it’s the perfect time to try InformData out. Click here to get started.