One of the first debates and conundrums revolved around who could be a member of NAPBS. Look at the name—Professional Background Screeners. What if an Unprofessional screener wanted to join? Who would decide what was unprofessional? Who would judge an applying company’s professionalism? And given the way in which NAPBS is organized, what would be the legal ramifications if NAPBS did deny membership to a company?
The result was an inclusive model for NAPBS membership. And that left some background screening agencies feeling a variant of Groucho Marx’s quote: “I don’t care to belong to any association that would have THAT company as a member.” NAPBS does have a code of conduct, and companies applying for membership must make some certifications regarding their professionalism. Of course though, if you have a scoundrel firm, one that behaves in an unprofessional, dishonest or non-compliant manner, signing a form is not going to keep them up at night. And not to put too fine a point on it, but let’s just say that the NAPBS new company investigation is no Torquemada-run investigation.
But just as church is not just for the pious, NAPBS should welcome those industry types that need some education and peer pressure. We do not want NAPBS to become the equivalent of the small church that has 8 blue-haired little old ladies at every service while the real heathens are out breaking beer bottles and ignoring the FCRA.
Does NAPBS Mean Anything then to Background Screening Agencies?
Obviously, we want the highest caliber of background screening agencies in NAPBS but if also agree that we want an inclusive NAPBS membership of background screening agencies, does NAPBS Membership mean anything? Well sure it does, in a macro (industry) and micro (your company) sense.
You’re helping the industry by giving the industry a bigger voice and the resources to affect outcomes of federal, state and private group initiatives that could be harmful to us all.
You will be helping your company indirectly through the above, but if you get involved, it will be hard not to recoup your NAPBS investment. If you go to a NAPBS meeting and do not come home with a better practice, a new product possibility to offer your clients, an alternative supplier, a technology improvement or a more efficient way to do things and increase your profit—you need to get out of your room. Some of the most valuable times are after the meetings and learning from peers, getting ideas from suppliers and generally expanding your professional network. Improving your business over a cocktail is something I can personally endorse.
If you get involved with a committee in your area of interest or expertise, you will also be rewarded.
Can I do More?
Finally, if you if you want to improve your professionalism, demonstrate that your company is a cut-above, there is one big step you can take: become NAPBS Accredited. Accreditation is not a knowledge test, it’s not an “old boys club” where membership is dependent on your tenure or who you know. It is an independently audited process that will allow you to demonstrate your company’s professionalism, practices and expertise. To date, around 10% of NAPBS member background screening agencies are accredited—but that percentage will grow and is accelerating.
Accreditation is a more tangible benefit to the industry than NAPBS membership. Accreditation is eons ahead of membership for tangible meaning and benefit to your company. Accreditation will be a de facto standard for most employment screening firms. To be sure, my opinion on this particular issue has an element of the local butcher touting the health benefits of a high protein diet. But just because I say it doesn’t make it untrue.
If you’re not seeing accreditation questions on RFPs, or having potential clients ask if your firm is accredited, you increasingly will. If you are a background screening agency and not a member of NAPBS, you should get on board. If you are a NAPBS member that is heavy in employment screening and accreditation is not on your short list of strategic initiatives, it should be.
NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are mine and mine alone. I am not speaking officially or unofficially on behalf of NAPBS or any of its members.
This is a guest post by Derek Hinton. In this post, he provides insight into professionalism and accreditation in the background screening industry. Derek is President of CRAzoom (www.crazoom.com) a company providing complete accreditation assistance to CRAs.