FREE eBook | Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (LkSG)

In January 2023 a new German law, known as the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (LkSG, short for Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz in German), becomes effective and applies to companies operating or trading in Germany. This eBook looks at the key issues in the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act.

The law introduces a legal requirement for businesses to manage social and environmental issues in their supply chains, through more responsible business practices.

The Supply Chain Due Diligence Act requires businesses to undergo significant efforts in order to achieve compliance.

WE’VE COMPILED MORE DETAILS ON THE ACT IN OUR FREE EBOOK THAT CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE. IF YOU CANNOT FIND WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR BELOW, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH THE TEAM!

LET’S TALK

In Part 1 of this eBook, we will provide a first outline of the Act’s material contents and an in-depth analysis of the applicability of the Act to various corporate structures.

The eBook is the collection of a series of articles in which we will take a closer look at key issues. It addresses the question of what you can do to adequately prepare yourself at this early stage rather than wait till later in the year. We would be happy to provide you with individual advice, as well. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Preparatory actions for Supply Chain Due Diligence Act

In Part Two of the Playbook, we’ll explore what preparatory actions you can take and how an effective risk management plan can be achieved and implemented through several services including due diligence.

Global integrity due diligence investigations provide your business with the critical information it needs in making sound decisions regarding mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships and the selection of vendors and suppliers. The level of due diligence will ensure that working with a potential i.e. trade partner will ultimately achieve your organisation’s strategic and financial goals.

Operating in the international market requires organisations to establish partnerships with numerous third parties, which supply raw materials, run business operations abroad and/or act as agents. At the same time, third parties are considered as the greatest area of bribery risks for international enterprises. Under the Bribery Act 2010, British-based organisations have to conduct due diligence on their third parties as the core principle of meeting the adequate procedures requirement.

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Employee background screening FAQs – PART I: What, Why and Who?

How do you know the candidate you just offered a role to is the ideal candidate? Are you 100% sure that everything they’re telling you is the truth? Or are you 90% certain? They showed you a diploma: How do you know it’s not photoshopped? Did you follow the correct procedures during your background checks process? Who Performs Background Screening? What’s Involved in Background Checks covering History Around the Globe? Why do Employers Check Criminal History?

This three-part series of articles looks at employee background screening FAQs.

Part One of the series, “What, Why and Who?” provides an introduction to employee background checks and the necessary screenings that are vital to avoid horror stories and taboo tales that occur within your business. Part Two, “Pre-Employment Checks,” are essentially an investigation into a person’s character – inside and outside their professional lives. Part Three, “Conflict of interest check & FACIS Searches,” checks for any conflict of interests and sanctions, exclusions, debarments and disciplinary actions. To receive the next series subscribe to our monthly newsletter subscribe now!

Taken as a whole, this employee background screening FAQs ebook developed by the CRI® Group is the perfect primer for HR professionals and companies wanting guidance on background screening, pre-employment screening and post-employment background checks.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL SERIES HERE

WE’VE COMPILED A LIST OF OUR MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS TO DO WITH BACKGROUND SCREENING. IF YOU CANNOT FIND WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR BELOW, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH THE TEAM!

At CRI® Group, we specialise in employment screening, working as trusted partners to HR and recruiting managers of corporations and institutions worldwide. Our people work with energy, insight and care to ensure we provide a positive experience to everyone involved – clients, reference providers and candidates. Simply investing in sufficient screening systems can save you time, money and heartbreak.

LET’S TALK

Why conduct pre-employment background checks?

To protect the company from various potential risks, a background check is considered an imperative pre-employment screening step before hiring. Companies often assume that the applicants are telling the truth on their resumes – what if they are not?

These checks are essentially an investigation into a person’s character – inside and outside their professional lives. Some checks you probably already carry out in-house, such as the candidate’s qualifications (documents provided), work history (with a reference check), right to work in the country and even a quick social media presence scan.

Who is subject to a pre-employment background check?

Permanent, temporary, benefit-eligible, non-benefit eligible, full-time and part-time staff require an acceptable background check.

Former employees, including retirees, are also subject to a background check if a contract breach occurs.

Who conducts the background checks?

You could have an in-house HR team or contract with a third party vendor like CRI® Group.

Why should I contract a third party vendor if I have an in-house team?

You may have the capabilities to carry out the above services; however, to perform a full in-depth background screening service for candidates and employees at all levels, you need a considerable amount of manpower and skills – and it can be all-consuming work.

A third party vendor such as CRI® Group, with a global network that works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia-Pacific, is a one-stop international Risk Management, Background Screening and Due Diligence solutions provider that brings true value to you and your team.

By contracting, you can benefit from the following:

  • Cost Control & Savings
  • Time Savings / Response Time
  • Customer Service / Quality Control
  • Expertise & Core Competency
  • Technology & know-how

What other checks can a third party vendor execute better than my in-house team?

From checks on senior executives through to shop-floor employees, a full in-depth background check should include:

  • Address Verification (Physical Verification)
  • Identity Verification
  • Previous Employment Verification
  • Education & Credential Verification
  • Local Language Media Check
  • Credit Verification & Financial History (where publicly available)
  • Compliance & Regulatory Check
  • Civil Litigation Record Check
  • Bankruptcy Record Check
  • International Criminal Record Check
  • Integrity Due Diligence…
    and more.

Why is it important?

These checks can reduce the risk of hiring someone who could cause irrevocable damage. Firms spend years, thousands, even millions to brand their products and services and one bad hire can cause a loss of capital and reputation to the extent that may cause a business to fail. A robust pre-employment check can help you and your company:

  • Reduce turnover & training costs
  • Gain a competitive edge through the hiring of better people
  • Increase productivity – help your employees be more productive knowing that everyone employed by your company has been screened
  • Set your company apart & win more business
  • Reduce employee-related problems
  • Protect company reputation/brand & customer relations
  • Comply with mandates created by state or federal law for certain industries
  • Increase retention
  • Reduce negligent hiring claims
  • Avoid violence in the workplace (threats of violence & actual violence)
  • Reduce theft & espionage
  • Avoid lawsuits & the costs associated with the defence
  • Avoid loss of goodwill
  • Various industry studies indicate escalating costs for worker replacement, loss of production, re-recruitment/interviewing, and training – the learning curve can cost you significant money.

DOWNLOAD THE EMPLOYEE BACKGROUND SCREENING FAQs FREE EBOOK HERE

CRI® Group to conduct live training session on ‘Remote work & other trends shaping workplace cultures’

‘Remote work & other trends shaping workplace cultures’ with Nilofar A. Gardezi

Free Webinar | 31 August 2022 | 7 am – 8 am GMT 

CRI® Group is hosting a free webinar on August 31st. Our intention is to be able to provide resources on workplace cultures in organisations around the globe that will aid them in expansion and an positive employee environment. Take advantage of this free webinar on employee wellness, remote work, pre-employment screening and workplace cultures.

REGISTER TO THE LINKEDIN EVENT NOW!

The live training session will be conducted by senior certified HR professional and member of CRI’s expert team, Nilofar A. Gardezi​. 

Workplace trends are dictating major shifts and becoming new norms in the workplace. These trends are expected to grow in the coming years. Examples of this include hybrid work, employee wellness, and ongoing education. Adapting to workplace trends will help employers improve company culture, boost employee retention and defeat workplace complacency. This will help companies stay competitive within the industry and remain relevant in the wider world.

With over nine years of experience in HR, Nilofar A. Gardezi​ is a HRBP & an Associate Director with the CRI Group. She is a gold-certified Trainer from DWE with a Certification in Psychology and serves as a Certified Professional Counsellor. She has worked with renowned organisations like Attock Group, British Council and Standard Chartered Bank.

Those attending the live training session will benefit immensely from her expertise in strategic human-centric based HR practices. Those registering for the live training session will receive an email with the speaker contact details for further Q&A​.

REGISTER TO THE LINKEDIN EVENT NOW!

Participants will also get access to the recording and speaker’s slides​ and will receive a Certificate of Attendance besides educational e-Books and more.

The date and other details of the live training session will be made available shortly. It is recommended that you register your interest here so that you are kept updated with the details of the live training session.

REGISTER TO THE LINKEDIN EVENT NOW!

 

Struggling with employee screening?

Get answers to frequently asked questions about background checks / screening cost,  guidelines, check references etc. This eBook is a compilation of all of the background screening related questions you ever needed answers to:

  • Does a candidate have to give consent to process a background check / screening?
  • How long does it take to conduct a background check?
  • When should I conduct pre-employment checks?
  • How often should i screen employees?
  • How to collect references and what to ask?
  • How much does it cost to conduct a background checks?
  • What is he difference between employment history verification and employment reference?
  • How do I check on entitlement to work?
  • How to conduct identity checks?
  • What will a financial regulatory check show?
  • Is it possible to identify conflict of interest during checks?
  • What is a bankruptcy check?
  • What about directorships and shareholding search?
  • Can I have access to a criminal watch list?
  • Anti-money laundering check?
  • Can we conduct FACIS (fraud and abuse control information system) searches?
  • … and MORE!

Taken as a whole, is the perfect primer for any HR professional, business leader and companies looking to avoid employee background screening risks. It provides the tools and knowledge needed to make the right decisions.

Download your “Employee Background Screening FAQ” FREE ebook now!

The CRI® Group has been safeguarding businesses from fraud, bribery and corruption since 1990. We are a global company based in London, United Kingdom. Our experts and resources are located in key regional marketplaces. These are across the Asia Pacific, South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, North and South America. Our global team can support your organisation anywhere in the world. ​For more details about the CRI® Group or to schedule a meeting with us, click here.

 

IP Infringement Report says IPR infringement is getting worse!

Intellectual property can be a business’s most valuable asset. So when outside parties threaten to steal your ideas, copy your products or disrupt your marketing channels, corrective action on your part can become tedious, time-consuming and expensive. Also, because of the high value associated with Intellectual Property Right (IPR), infringement of those rights is a lucrative criminal activity, which generates significant costs to the rights owners and to the economy in general. In fact around 12,000 IP infringement cases are filed each year.

Now, a study conducted by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in partnership with the European Patent Office (EPO) found that the total contribution of IPR-intensive industries to the EU economy accounts for approximately 42% of GDP (€5.7 trillion) and 28% of employment plus another 10% in indirect employment effects in non-IPR intensive sectors. Those sectors also generate a trade surplus of approximately €96 billion with the rest of the world and pay their workers 46% higher salaries than other sectors.

DOWNLOAD HERE

The economic value of IPRs

This IP infringement report brings together the findings of the research carried out in recent years by the EUIPO, through the European Observatory on the Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights, on the extent, scope and economic consequences of IPR infringement in the EU. Evidence on the economic value of IPRs in the EU economy, the extent to which this value is exploited, the infringement mechanisms used to capture that value and the actions being taken in response to these challenges are outlined and discussed in the report as well.

According to a study carried out by EUIPO and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2019, estimates of IPR infringement in international trade in 2016 could reach as much as 3.3% of world trade. Up to 6.8% of EU imports, or €121 billion per year, consist of fake goods. Both sets of figures are significantly higher than those found in study by the two organisations published in 2016, indicating that the problem has grown even more serious in recent years.

Annual losses of €92 billion during 2012-16 due to counterfeiting

In a series of sectorial studies, the EUIPO fears it has lost sales in 11 sectors in the EU, as a result of counterfeiting. These losses have occurred directly in the industries being analysed and across their associated supply chains and totalled more than €92 billion per year during 2012-16.

Abundant value, lenient sentences and high returns on investment together make it attractive for criminal gangs to engage in counterfeiting activities. The modus operandi of such gangs is becoming increasingly complex as technology and distribution channels evolve, hand in hand with the breadth of products being counterfeited.

How legitimate brands can suffer due to advertising!

The business models adopted by counterfeiters make significant use of the internet to distribute their products and to promote the distribution and consumption of illegal digital content. Internet sites selling counterfeit goods benefit from additional advertising revenues from both “high risk” ads (adult, gaming, and malware) and, paradoxically, also from legitimate brands, which then suffer in two ways from advertising on such sites: damage to their own brand and provision of credibility to the hosting website.

In addition to analysing the supply of counterfeit goods and pirated content, the EUIPO has also studied the demand side, that is, the attitudes of EU citizens towards IPR and their willingness to consume IPR-infringing goods and services. The incentives for consumers to purchase counterfeit goods and to access copyright-protected content illegally include lower prices, easy accessibility and a low degree of social stigma associated with such activities.
In response to these developments the EUIPO, together with public and private partners, is undertaking and supporting a number of actions to meet these challenges.

The economic and social impact of IP infringements

The actions by the EUIPO range from providing rights owners with information on the changing infringement landscape and working with Europol on wider responses to IP crime. It also included participating in the funding of a specialised IP crime unit within Europol, supporting the European Commission’s efforts to address the supply of counterfeit goods in third countries and to help Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) protect their IPRs. This was done by providing citizens with information on the availability of legally accessible digital content and on the economic and social impact of purchasing counterfeit goods or accessing digital content illegally.

DOWNLOAD HERE

How the CRI Group can help you tackle IP infringement

CRI Group’s Intellectual Property Investigations team helps companies identify threats to IP and confidential information internally and throughout their supply chain, develop the appropriate mitigation strategies and investigate suspected infringements.

For further information on IPR infringement or to book a meeting with our experts, click here.

Meet our IP Infringement Investigation Manager

Mahamad Thouhid is an experienced Investigations Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the investigations and intelligence industry. Skilled in investigative planning and reporting, delivering innovative IP/Brand protection (Anti Counterfeit, Products tampering, Anti diversion and Infringement), OSINT, law enforcement, liaison with Govt. Authorities, operations management, due diligence, etc.

email: mahamad.thouhid@crigroup.com
phone: +971 4 3589884

 

Infringement of intellectual property rights

Suppose you suspect that your intellectual property (IP) rights have been infringed. In that case, CRI Group’s Intellectual Property Investigations team helps companies identify threats to IP and confidential information internally and throughout their supply chain, develop the appropriate mitigation strategies and investigate suspected infringements. Our experts can track intrusions, data manipulation and a range of “digital footprints.” With our findings you can take action. 

Patent infringement 

If someone uses your product or invention protected by a patent without authorization, you to prove it so you can defend your right and take action. Our investigative capabilities include gathering intelligence on the dark web and in the field, social network analysis, sample acquisition and testing.

CRI® Group’s IP experts understand the intricacies and importance of protecting your intellectual property. CRI® Group can stay a step ahead of the wrongdoers who want to benefit from your IP investment by working alongside a global network of anti-counterfeit investigators, consultants, advisors, and industry groups.

Our experts can track intrusions, data manipulation and a range of “digital footprints.” Additionally, we have strong working relationships with regulators, police forces and customs and enforcement agencies worldwide. Our investigations frequently form the basis of litigation or criminal prosecutions. 

Imitation of a branded good – Counterfeit products

If someone is selling a good bearing your trademark without your authorization, you are the victim of counterfeiting. If you suspect that certain goods infringe your IP rights, you outsource IP investigations services.

Our investigative capabilities include gathering intelligence on the dark web and in the field, social network analysis, sample acquisition and testing. CRI® Group’s IP experts understand the intricacies and importance of protecting your intellectual property. CRI® Group can stay a step ahead of the wrongdoers who want to benefit from your IP investment by working alongside a global network of anti-counterfeit investigators, consultants, advisors, and industry groups.

Our experts can track intrusions, data manipulation and a range of “digital footprints.” Additionally, we have strong working relationships with regulators, police forces and customs and enforcement agencies worldwide. Our investigations frequently form the basis of litigation or criminal prosecutions. 

IF YOU SUSPECT OF COUNTERFITING LET US KNOW NOW

To protect your products against counterfeiting, register with the Enforcement Database of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which puts you in direct communication with the relevant authorities. If you are an EU company and want to report a counterfeit in a country outside the EU, you can use the Anti-Counterfeiting Rapid Intelligence System (ACRIS).

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Infringement of trade secrets

To qualify as a trade secret, the information must:

  • Be known only to a limited group of persons
  • Be commercially valuable because it is secret, and
  • Be subject to reasonable steps taken by the rightful holder of the information to keep it secret, including the use of confidentiality agreements for business partners and employees.

The unauthorised acquisition, use or disclosure of such secret information in a manner contrary to honest commercial practices by others is regarded as an unfair practice and a violation of trade secret protection.

As an integral member of the ICC Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau, CRI® Group is certified to advise and assist organisations with intellectual property investigations involving grey market and product counterfeiting crimes.

CRI® Group investigators are specially trained to protect the brand equity and customer loyalty you’ve built by providing professional assistance in many areas, including Trade Secret Breaches.

In case of infringement of trade secrets, you can initiate a legal proceeding before a court. The outcome might be a court order prohibiting the infringer from using or further disclosing the trade secret and/or monetary compensation.

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Dispute over domain names

If you find out that someone has deceivingly registered a domain name whose IP rights belong to you, such as:

  • for one or more top-level extensions (like .eu, or .com.)
  • trade mark
  • a trading name

If this person tries to sell you such a domain, you are a victim of cybersquatting. In domain name dispute cases, you can either go to court or make good use of non-judicial remedies, including ICANN alternative proceedings. ​

2022 Key Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights Cases to Watch

IP practitioners are eagerly watching the court dockets for several high-impact cases related to IP issues (copyright, government liability and ethics) likely to be decided in the second half of 2022.

These decisions are expected to guide several IP law areas, including fair use of copyrights, government contractor defences, patent-eligible inventions, and the enablement requirement. 

Infringement of protected geographical indications

If your product protected by geographical indication has been counterfeited or there have been other infringements of geographical indication, you should contact the competent national authority.

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The cost of Infringement of your intellectual property rights

Counterfeiting threatens the fabric of national economies, endangers safety and frequently kills. It devalues corporate reputations, hinders investment, funds terrorism, and costs hundreds of thousands of people their livelihood annually. (ICC) Our IP Investigations include 1) Trademark Investigations; 2) Intellectual Property Acquisition Services; 3) Patent Investigations; 4) Brand, Media and Internet Monitoring Services; 5) Anti-Counterfeiting Programs; 6) Brand Integrity Programs; 7) Copyright Abuse Investigations; 8) Cyber Surveillance; and 9) Litigation Support.

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Take action against the infringement of your intellectual property rights now!

UAE Central Bank issues new anti-money laundering guide on dealing with politically exposed persons

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has issued a new anti-money laundering (AML) guide and combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) for licenced financial institutions (LFIs) on risks related to politically exposed persons (PEPs), the regulator announced on Tuesday (2 August 2022). This set of guidelines comes to effect immediately.

Globally, money laundering activity is projected to more than double to $5.8 billion by 2027 from an estimated $2.8bn in 2022, research company Markets and Markets said in a report last month. The anti-money laundering task force imposed fines of more than Dh41 million ($11.16m) in the first six months of 2022 as it continues to rein in illicit financial activity. UAE imposed $11.2 million in penalties for anti-money laundering cases during the first half of 2022

Are you following the UAE anti-money laundering new guide?

Licensed financial institutions (LFIs) offering services to politically exposed persons (PEPs) have been asked to develop “risk-based policies.” According to the state news agency, WAM, the guidelines consider Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards and require LFIs to comply with its requirements within one month.

Under the new CBUAE guidelines, customers that are PEPs and transactions involving PEPs may expose LFIs to a heightened risk of terrorism financing, money laundering and other illicit finance – and these guidelines follow CBUAE’s recently introduced AML/ CFT guidance for licensed financial institutions on payment risks. The new guidance “will assist LFIs’ understanding of risks and effective implementation of their statutory AML/CFT obligations, and takes Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards into account,” WAM said in a statement, adding that LFIs must comply with the regulator within a month.

PEPs and transactions related to them may expose LFIs to a higher risk of money laundering and terror financing, the lender said.

The guidance enables LFIs to do due diligence on PEPs and their direct family members or close associates.

VIEW DUEDILIGENCE360TM BROCHURE

Governor of the CBUAE, Khaled Mohamed Balama, said, “We are keen to ensure that all LFIs comprehensively understand their role and responsibilities in mitigating relevant AML/CFT risks and safeguarding the UAE financial system from illicit activities. This guidance provides LFIs with further requirements and measures they must fulfil before and after initiating business relationships with politically exposed persons to stay anti-money laundering compliant. We will continue our efforts to issue similar regulatory guidelines, to enhance the efficiency and robustness of our financial system in line with international standards related to anti-money laundering and the financing of terrorism.”

Balama added this guidance provides LFIs with further requirements and measures they must fulfil before and after initiating business relationships with PEPs to stay compliant with anti-money laundering.

LFIs providing services to PEPs must develop risk-based policies, the lender said, adding this would ensure accurately identified PEPs or related customers before the start of the business relationship, risk rating and applying equivalent customer due diligence.

UAE has made positive advances in anti-money laundering, anti-financial crime: global watchdog

The regulator also said LFIs must constantly monitor business relationships and maintain a transaction monitoring system to track suspicious transactions.

Any unusual activity would then be reported to the UAE’s financial intelligence unit using the ‘goAML’ portal.

The UAE has announced various measures to fight and prevent money laundering in the country, including renewing anti-money laundering policies for payment risks.

ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING (AML) SERVICES – AML ADVISORY SOLUTIONS MADE EASY!

There are many advantages to outsourcing portions of your Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance program to CRI® Group. CRI® Anti-Money Laundering (AML) advisory services can help analyse systems and develop effective solutions that reduce your company’s risk of falling prey to employee, supplier or outside corporate and financial crimes.

An effective AML framework is a testament to your organisation’s position against crime. Our unmatched investigative capabilities, worldwide presence and long-standing 32 years of reputation for independence and integrity make us uniquely qualified to resolve regulatory concerns.

Our vast Compliance and Anti-Corruption network gives you much-needed protection when making critical bottom-line decisions crucial to your organisation’s success. Ensure you have the 360-degree analysis of your challenges – get in touch with the experienced CRI® Group’s AML team for a bespoke quote. Leave it to the experts to provide you with the protection you need.

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Let’s celebrate Human Resources Appreciation Week

Being in Human Resources (HR) can be difficult to handle. After all, the HR department plays an integral role in ensuring the success of organisations by nurturing and developing human capital. However, they do not get enough credit. Human Resources Appreciation Week is a holiday to change people’s HR perspective and learn why their job is valuable for businesses.

History of Human Resource Professional Day

Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen referenced Human Resource Professional Day (HR Professional Day) in October 2013. He created this day to recognise and celebrate HR professionals.

HR professionals carry out multiple tasks in an organisation. They have to follow important legislation, help co-workers get paid, and get to plan those fun company parties after a long year’s work. It was not until Governor-General Hon Steadman Alvin Ridout Fuller declared it an official holiday in Jamaica in 2018 that HR Professional Day came into the spotlight. Human Resource Professional Day is designed to tribute to those working in HR departments worldwide.

Human Resources Appreciation Week is an opportunity to learn about what HR does to improve employees’ lives and allow people to join the HR industry. Human Resources Appreciation Week is about thanking and appreciating the hard work of HR staff since they handle the most difficult situations, such as staff negotiations, corporate liaison, and legislation interpreting.

HR professionals day-to-day

Becoming an HR officer is great for someone with strong interpersonal skills, who likes helping others, and who is self-motivated. Working in HR means implementing policies, advising on, and developing plans relating to how staff are used and operate within a business.

Your role is to ensure that you have the right balance of workers in terms of experience and skills and that development and training opportunities are available so that colleagues can achieve their corporate aims and improve their performance.

Several different activities are covered in the HR department. This involves working practices, recruitment, pay, negotiation with work-related external agencies, diversity and equality, and conditions of employment too.

There are many different skills that HR professionals are expected to have. This includes the potential to cope with a leadership role, negotiate and influence effectively, so personnel policies are implemented, and have good organisational skills, management skills, and business awareness.

Aside from this, working in HR demands someone who has a willingness and curiosity to challenge organisational culture where needed, approachability and integrity, and interpersonal skills so that effective working relationships can be formed with people at all levels.

Celebrate your HR professionals in this Human Resources Appreciation Week

As you can see, being involved in HR is not easy, and a lot will be demanded of you. This is why Human Resources Appreciation Week is so important. It is a great chance to honour everyone working in this industry. Express your gratitude to HR professionals that work so hard for you.

It is also a great day to raise awareness about this job role and share information about what it is like to be part of the HR community. If you’re interested in working in HR, you should be able to find a lot of great information online during this period too, but here are a few articles you can here:

 

Background Investigations: One-on-one interview with Zafar Anjum

Background Investigations: One-on-one interview with Zafar Anjum

Having dedicated his career to a background investigation, fraud prevention, protective integrity, security and compliance, Zafar Anjum is a distinguished and highly respected professional in his field. As Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Corporate Research and Investigations Limited (CRI Group), he uses his extensive knowledge and expertise in creating stable and secure networks across challenging global markets. For organisations needing comprehensive project management, security, safeguard testing, background investigations and real-time compliance applications, Anjum is the assurance expert of choice for industry professionals.

Q: To what extent have you seen an increase in corporate fraud in recent years? What are some of the common themes and underlying causes?

Anjum: Fraud always seems to be increasing. No matter how sophisticated our attempts to prevent it become, perpetrators are always adapting with new methods. According to the 2020 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Report to the nations, asset misappropriation is the leading type of occupational fraud. It makes up 86% of fraud cases and causes a median loss of $100,000. On the other spectrum, financial statement fraud schemes are the least common (10% of cases) but are the most costly, causing a median loss of $954,000. A typical fraud case can last 14 months before detection and cause a loss of $8,300 per month – a whopping 5% of an organisations revenue is lost to fraud each year. There are various factors at play here, but it starts with ‘tone at the top’. Basically, corporate culture often sets the tone for how strict or lax an organisation prevents or detects fraud. Combine a lax approach with a country or jurisdiction where corruption is still prevalent, even considered ‘business as usual, and there will likely be a fraud.

Q: Could you outline the benefits of using background investigations to reduce potential fraud? Under what circumstances is it prudent to undertake a background investigation?

Anjum: It should be a priority to conduct thorough background investigations when engaging in a merger or acquisition, an initial public offering (IPO), engaging suppliers, contractors or new clients – your client relationships can affect your organisation’s reputation and your ability – to name a few situations. This can help you avoid becoming entangled with third parties that have hidden fraud and other legal issues. It will also make you aware of a potential partner who has credit risk, has claimed bankruptcy or is faced with debtor filings, for example. In one case, a company was seeking to engage a new supplier for medical supplies and equipment. A background investigation revealed that the warehouse’s physical location – claimed by this ‘supplier’ did not exist. The company’s principal had previously been charged with a ‘criminal breach of trust’. Three other civil damages claims against the principal were discovered, with millions claimed in liabilities.

Q: What are some of the best practice approaches to conducting a background investigation? 

Anjum: One of the most important aspects of thorough background investigations is having a ‘boots on the ground approach. Online database searches can only take you so far. When conducting due diligence on entities or individuals, red flags that pop up often warrant further checking before they can be truly weighed as part of the decision process. For example, if you are considering partnering with another company and providing information for their physical location, do you have agents who can visit that location to make sure it is legitimate? Investigations sometimes discover that purported ‘headquarters’ is actually an abandoned home or vacant lot. Also, if certain credentials are claimed, you need to make phone calls or possibly a visit to the school or accrediting bodies to verify them. These are the important details that help you with facts that help guide your decisions.

EFFECTIVE RISK MANAGEMENT THROUGH BACKGROUND INVESTIGATIONS. FIND OUT HERE

Q: What kinds of legal or regulatory issues might complicate a background investigation?

Anjum: Privacy laws are probably the most important issue, and they need to be carefully understood and followed for every jurisdiction. In the UK, for example, the pandemic has created new data privacy issues, but prudent organisations are constantly evaluating their data protection strategies under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). When it comes to background investigations, similar privacy considerations apply. You might want to check an individuals’ financial or credit history – relevant information if they own a business you seek to partner with or acquire, or if you are considering them for a high-level position at your organisation. Accessing such information is permitted in some jurisdictions and restricted by law in others. The last thing you want is to end up in court for violating someone’s privacy. It is best to engage a professional due diligence background screening firm. They will be trained and up-to-date on the laws governing your background investigations, plus they will have access to resources that most companies do not have.

Q: To what extent are background investigations more challenging in a cross-border or multi-jurisdictional context? How can these additional challenges be overcome or avoided?

Anjum: This goes back to the importance of having investigators in various locations, your ‘boots on the ground’, in your approach to due diligence. The world is much smaller these days as organisations seek to expand across international borders. And the COVID-19 is teaching leaders invaluable lessons in business efficiencies and future strategy. This can lead to obvious challenges – both following the laws and regulations in various jurisdictions and overcoming language and cultural barriers. That is why it is important to have access to locally-based agents – including certified fraud examiners and similarly credentialed professionals – to help with your checks, whether investigating a potential third-party partner or an individual being considered for employment. Another advantage is to have a set, written policy and process for conducting background investigations that you can reference and rely upon when undertaking key business decisions. In this way, your organisation is less susceptible to someone convincing you to bypass proper due diligence simply because it might seem logistically difficult to conduct an overseas investigation.

MITIGATE EMPLOYEE RISK BEFORE & AFTER HIRE? LEARN MORE HERE

Q: Once the background investigation results are collated, what are the key points to analysing?

Anjum: If red flags are uncovered, the best way to further investigate is to understand discrepancies. For example, suppose you are conducting background screening on a potential employee, and something comes up in their criminal record, rather than eliminating them from consideration. In that case, you should ensure that there was no error in your background check, investigate the discrepancy, gather all relevant information, and ask the person to explain what you found and why they did not disclose it. They might have an explanation that affects your decision process. In other words, do not overlook potential talent. According to Nacro, more than 11 million people in the UK have a criminal record – that’s 1 in 3 men – however, just over half of these had been convicted on only one occasion, and 85% were convicted before they were 30 years old. Not all of those have a prison record, however. Most convictions are for motoring offences, such as speeding or unpaid tickets.

Q: What essential advice would you offer to companies on developing internal policies and processes to combat fraud? should intensive background investigations form part of their standard procedures?

Anjum: Intensive background investigations should be a part of an organisation’s standard procedures. It should be part of a greater risk management plan, be set forth as written policy that owners and directors approve, and be reviewed and understood by management and other relevant personnel. Engage risk management professionals when developing your policies and procedures. They can help tailor a plan based o your organisation. Key questions to address should include; who will implement the plan, how an investigation is conducted, who evaluates and reports the results, etc. Sometimes organisations put forth a thorough, excellent programme for background investigations and then, six months or a year later, nobody is following it. The key to success is following through with it and ensuring your entire organisation understands the process and why it is so important. The security of your company depends on effective risk management.

The security of your company depends on effective risk management

Background investigations are critical to any company’s success because working with qualified, honest and hard-working employees and other businesses is integral to thriving in the business community. What you don’t know can hurt you, and the simple act of one bad decision can result in an unprecedented loss for your company. 

From vendor and third-party screening to employment screening, CRI Group recommends background investigations as critical proactive measures to help keep your business safe. An effective background screening investigation will help screen for bad apples that can cause havoc down the road. Because we maintain a diverse talent base comprised of multilingual and multi-cultural professionals, CRI can traverse obstacles that often impede international background investigations. That’s why we are frequently contracted by our competitors to conduct background investigations in geographic regions not serviced or accessible by larger investigative firms. 

Meet our CEO

Zafar I. Anjum is Group Chief Executive Officer of CRI Group (www.crigroup.com), a global supplier of investigative, forensic accounting, business due to diligence and employee background screening services for some of the world’s leading businesses organisations.  Headquartered in London (with a significant presence throughout the region) and licensed by the Dubai International Financial Centre-DIFC, the Qatar Financial Center-QFC, and the Abu Dhabi Global Market-ADGM, CRI Group safeguards businesses by establishing the legal compliance, financial viability, and integrity levels of outside partners, suppliers and customers seeking to affiliate with your business. CRI Group maintains offices in UAE, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil, China, the USA, and the United Kingdom.

Contact CRI Group to learn more about its 3PRM-Certified™ third-party risk management strategy program and discover an effective and proactive approach to mitigating the risks associated with corruption, bribery, financial crimes and other dangerous risks posed by third-party partnerships.

CONTACT INFORMATION

37th Floor, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AA United Kingdom  e: zanjum@crigroup.com | LinkedIn | Schedule a meeting | t: +44 207 8681415 | m: +44 7588 454959

 

What is continuous background screening?

For decades, pre-employment background screening has been helping organisations hire the right candidates for the right roles. These checks hold good till a candidate gets on board. But what if one of your existing employees commits a crime, revokes their license, or loses work authorisation? Continuous Background Screening (otherwise called rolling background checks or continuous monitoring) can help you mitigate any risks. Let’s look at what continuous background screening is and how it transforms the background check for employment industry.

What is continuous real-time pre employment screening?

Global enterprises generally take the approach of conducting background verifications on candidates to ascertain the data that they present at the interview. One-time background verifications help organisations check candidate data while hiring but not after that. New forward-looking entrants have been disrupting the background screening industry with this trend. The continuous background screening process is a systematic technique and is not completely new. Companies can perform real-time background checks on employees to identify internal threats and flag them immediately when found. It is a post-hire employment screening process that applies to any specific part (or all) of your workforce. 

Staying informed about the employees’ background is as important, or conceivably, more important than verifying the candidates’ data when they initially apply. Certain regulated industries have been performing some form of continuous background check of employees as it is a mandate – but most of them are not real-time. The best examples include high-risk industries like transportation, healthcare, and finance. But with the advent of rapidly evolving technology, real-time background screening that uses online record databases and digital platforms has allowed taking a proactive approach toward risk mitigation.

Now let’s take a deeper look at how this works. CRI® Group looks for any change in candidates’ background data. It identifies them so that organisations can stay away from possible risks. When the background screening software detects an employee’s data change, it notifies the employee and begins verification. Furthermore, the tool will allow candidates disqualified due to criminal violations to resurface after an allowed time frame. This will empower employers to give a second chance to the employees and perform a more comprehensive pre employment background check on them.

The Alarm Bell

Continuous background screening still has a paramount need to comply with regulatory policies. In addition to being compliant with global regulations, organisations must adhere to the state and local laws that pertain to disclosure and authorisation requirements and adverse action processes. It is recommended to follow the rules of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) when any issues arise due to removing an employee based on the screening results.

The regulations demand the employer to get written consent from the employees before a background verification starts. Employers should take immense care to make the consent clear enough, failing which a new notice and fresh consent need to be provided the next time. But, even though the federal law (FCRA) accepts such practices, the state or local law might not (Californian laws, for instance).

HR teams need to be prepared for the worst – when an employee refuses to authorise a background verification stating it as a privacy intrusion. Hence, designing a screening program that adheres to global and local compliance is key.

CRI® Group can help companies nip bad employees in the bud, thus ensuring the brand image is not affected by bad hires. Yet, surprisingly, an SHRM study states that only 4% of 6500 HR professionals said that their companies performed rolling background checks.

Employers should revisit their screening programs and incorporate technology-powered techniques like real-time screening, so they do not go blind in the interim.

Get in touch with us to learn more about how you can leverage employment screening services and proactively mitigate risks in real time. CRI® Group is happy to assist you.

Who is CRI® Group?

Based in London, CRI® Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceTPRMDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI® Group also holds B.S. 102000:2013 and B.S. 7858:2012 Certifications and is an HRO certified provider and partners with Oracle.

Seven types of business risk you may want to address in your company

Running a business takes hard work and while success – customers, revenue and satisfaction – is the ultimate goal. However and regardless of size, all businesses come with risks, risks that may stop you from achieving your goals. That’s why business risk management is key to building confidence in both your internal and external stakeholders – people want to be assured that each business decision is properly vetted before being made, that losses are minimised and successes maximised. A robust business risk management plan puts in place procedures that can help you identify, pre-empt, and avoid potential threats – or at the very least minimise their impact. Here are seven types of business risk you may want to address in your company.

1- Economic Risk

The economy is constantly changing as the markets fluctuate. It’s important to watch changes and trends to identify and plan for an economic downturn. Some positive changes are good for the economy, which lead to booming purchase environments, while negative events can reduce sales. To counteract economic risk, save as much money as possible to maintain a steady cash flow. Also, operate with a lean budget with low overhead through all economic cycles as part of your business plan.

2- Compliance Risk

Business owners face an abundance of laws and regulations to comply with. For example, recent data protection and payment processing compliance could impact how you handle certain aspects of your operation. Staying well versed in applicable laws from federal agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and state and local agencies can help minimise compliance risks. If you rely on all your income from one or two clients, your financial risk could be significant if one or both no longer use your services. Start marketing your services to diversify your base so losing one won’t devastate your bottom line. Non-compliance may result in significant fines and penalties. Remain vigilant in tracking compliance by joining an industry organisation, regularly reviewing government agency information and seeking assistance from consultants specialising in compliance. For more on data compliance, read: “GDPR, Everything You Need to Know” and “GDPR: A 21st Century approach to Compliance.”

3- Security and Fraud Risk

As more customers use online and mobile channels to share personal data, there are also greater opportunities for hacking. News stories about data breaches, identity theft and payment fraud illustrate how this type of risk is growing for businesses. Not only does this risk impact trust and reputation, but a company is also financially liable for any data breaches or fraud. To achieve effective enterprise risk management, focus on security solutions, fraud detection tools and employee and customer education about how to detect any potential issues.

4- Financial Risk

This business risk may involve credit extended to customers or your company’s debt load. Interest rate fluctuations can also be a threat. Adjusting your business plan will help you avoid harming cash flow or creating an unexpected loss. Keep debt to a minimum and create a plan to start lowering that debt load as soon as possible. If you rely on all your income from one or two clients, your financial risk could be significant if one or both no longer use your services. Start marketing your services to diversify your base so losing one won’t devastate your bottom line.

5- Reputation Risk

There has always been the risk that an unhappy customer, product failure, negative press or lawsuit can adversely impact a company’s brand reputation. However, social media has amplified the speed and scope of reputation risk. One negative tweet or bad review can decrease your customer following and cause revenue to plummet. To prepare for this risk, leverage reputation management strategies to regularly monitor what others say about the company online and offline. Be ready to respond to those comments and help address any concerns immediately. Keep quality top of mind to avoid lawsuits and product failures that can damage your company’s reputation.

6- Operational Risk

This business risk can happen internally, externally or involve a combination of factors. Something could unexpectedly happen that causes you to lose business continuity. That unexpected event could be a natural disaster or fire that damages or destroys your physical business. Or, it might involve a server outage caused by technical problems, people, or a power cut. Many operational risks are also people-related. An employee might make mistakes that cost time and money. Learn more about the” Top Risk Management Concerns and The Need for Leadership During COVID-19.”

Whether a people or process failure, these operational risks can adversely impact your business in terms of money, time and reputation. Address these potential operational risks through training and a business continuity plan. Both tactics provide a way to think about what could go wrong and establish a backup system or proactive measures to ensure operations aren’t affected. Investigative operations (via commercial investigations) focus on the current status of your business – i.e. location of assets, financial information, identification of unmet needs of any market, gauge brand awareness and identity in the market, etc.) For example, more businesses are using cloud storage to protect company data and rely on remote team members to maintain operations. Automating more processes also helps to reduce people’s failures. Learn more about it HERE!

7- Competition (or Comfort) Risk

While a business may be aware that there is always some competition in their industry, it’s easy to miss out on what businesses offer that may appeal to your customers. In this case, the business risk involves a company leader becoming so comfortable with their success and the status quo that they don’t look for ways to pivot or make continual improvements. The increasing competition combined with an unwillingness to change may result in a loss of customers. Enterprise risk management means a company must continually reassess their performance, refine its strategy, and maintain strong, interactive relationships with its audience and customers. Additionally, it’s important to keep an eye on the competition by regularly researching how they use online and social media channels.

Business Intelligence is most effective when it combines data derived from the market in which your business operates (external) with data from within, such as financial and operations data (internal). When combined, this data can provide a complete picture so that you can make any business decision, from operational to strategic, such as product positioning or pricing. Learn more about it HERE!

Accept, But Plan

Although you will never be able to eliminate business risk, proactively planning for it can help. Awareness is key in helping you save money and time while protecting the trust, reputation, and customer base you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Who is CRI® Group?

Based in London, CRI® Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI® Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications and is an HRO-certified provider and partner with Oracle.