For any company, taking on new employees is a time to celebrate. You’re growing, injecting new blood and fresh ideas into your organisation.

Yet HR professionals are only too aware of the legal, financial and reputational risks that threaten if background checking on new employees isn’t consistently delivered. And how background checking at speed and volume (as modern times necessitate) - and doing this manually - significantly increases these risks.

In this blog, we identify the key risks in background checking and explore how you can reduce them – while simultaneously increasing new employee engagement. 

Key risks HR are currently asked to screen against include:

  1. Right to work. Every employer has a legal obligation to ensure that every employee has the right to work in the UK. Failure to prove this can result in a fine of £20,000.
  2. Criminal record. Applicants often don’t disclose past and pending convictions upfront, potentially risking the safety and wellbeing of your wider workforce.
  3. Fraud on the rise. A recent study revealed 50-60% of applicants exaggerate their qualification grades, work experience and job responsibilities.
  4. Non-compliance of documentation. Passports, accommodation details and permissions all need to be gathered, risking fines and wider corporate risk.
  5. Misclassification of employee status. Employers are responsible for classifying all employees accurately to avoid the allocation of incorrect employment entitlements. This can lead to fines, payment of back taxes and, potentially, reputational damage.
  6. GDPR. Employee data needs to be gathered and maintained in line with strict guidelines, with fines imposed for infringements.

Many UK companies have already achieved dramatic reductions in risk through outsourced digital background checking. The market leader (Capita Onboard) provides a proven, web-based solution that takes the employee seamlessly from job offer through background checking and into the early weeks of onboarding.

Onboard’s effortless automation means organisations can scale up without the customary increase in the HR admin burden – or the risks normally associated with this practice. And with legal and regulatory obligations for organisations regularly changing, outsourcing minimises your risk of not being up-to-date.

More importantly, studies reveal digital background checking and onboarding provides a more engaging employee experience overall, replacing slow, manual processes with more intuitive web and smartphone-based practices we’re more used to in our daily lives. Documents can now be uploaded effortlessly, and communications personalised with greater relevance to each employee’s role and department. Equipping new starters with the materials, information and direction they need to be fully productive from day one.

And with the average cost to businesses of poor onboarding at around £30,000 per person, better employee experience can only reduce your organisation’s overall cost of risk.

Book a demo for our onboarding platform

Written by


Lesley Gregory

Product Manager for Digital Onboarding

Lesley has an extensive background in leading large talent acquisition teams in complex environments (BBC, Capita, Infosys) to deliver new joiners to start, equipped and ready to support their organisation’s business needs. Using a long- term interest in technology, data and insight to drive transformation initiatives and improve outcomes has led to a passion for creating solutions that not only streamline processes but add value and uplift user experience. She regularly contributes her thought leadership on these and allied topics.

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