COVID-19's Impact on the Adoption of Online Identity Verification Policies
Posted on: August 31st, 2020
The gig economy and remote workforce was already in full swing prior to the coronavirus pandemic reaching the United States in early 2020. After the World Health Organization declared it a global pandemic in March, the governors of most states ordered people to work from home if possible.Online identity verification software has enjoyed an exponential growth in adoption in response to this situation.
Many employers that previously didn't support their employees working from home became instant fans of the arrangement when they saw how productive employees could be without the distractions of the office. Going forward, expect to see even more employers create work-at-home arrangements to save on the cost of real estate leasing and to ensure the safety of their workers. Despite this, the sudden and urgent nature of the pandemic created numerous challenges for employers, including how to verify the identity of new employees.
Background Screening and Identity Verification
It is common for employers to hire background screening companies to check the criminal and credit history of applicants as well as obtain personal references in some cases. However, it's a common misconception that companies offering background screening also complete identity verification. These are two separate processes. Verifying a job applicant’s identity before initiating a background check makes the hiring process far more efficient. It also helps to reduce identity fraud, which happens more frequently among job applicants than people might expect.
Identity Verification for Remote Workers is even More Important
Hiring new employees without ever meeting them in person isn’t as far-fetched as it would have been even five years ago. Verifying identity early in the process is crucial for companies that go this route. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of remote and gig work opportunities by falsely claiming they are someone else and/or by inflating their work experience. While determining the latter is the job of a background checker, companies must take the lead and verify identity online before going any further with the hiring process.
How Businesses Are Overcoming Pandemic-Related Challenges with Online Identity Verification
Employers in the United States are not the only ones grappling with the enormous implications of the coronavirus pandemic. Business owners across the globe are using technology to their advantage to complete the verification process and monitor the whereabouts and work production of employees.
The government of South Korea, for example, has recently accelerated electronic certification and digital identification among its top three mobile operators. The accelerated actions taken by the government makes it possible for South Koreans to use their mobile telephone number to log into the appropriate websites.
The Demand and Incentive to Use Digital Verification is Bigger Than Ever
Before COVID-19, most job applicants presented a driver’s license or another form of identification to their prospective employer in person. They also produced required documents such as a social security card in the same manner. Then the pandemic arrived and forced employers and companies verifying new customers to take the process online. Banks are a typical example of the latter. With many branches closed and others restricted to online or drive-thru services only, online identify verification became essential to process loans and open new accounts.
Factors and Benefits to Consider in the Online Identity Verification Process
The convenience offered to both parties is one of the biggest benefits of verifying identity online. Without leaving home, applicants for jobs or financial services can upload their identification documents to a secure server. Eliminating the need to use paper is another benefit. Not only does this respect the environment, it also avoids problems such as paper getting wet or trying to decipher someone’s handwriting. Online identification verification allows applicants to select a font style for their signature that everyone can read.
Here are some factors to evaluate when deciding which vendor to hire:
- Compliance and legal enforceability: Identity verification is subject to both federal and state regulations. Business owners interested in using it for the first time must ensure that all processes are legal and meet national and local requirements.
- Fraud and risk management: What safeguards does the vendor have in place to prevent someone from successfully misrepresenting themselves? How does the software program protect the integrity of highly personal data shared by applicants for jobs and financial services? Does the vendor secure all infrastructure, applications, and devices?
- Quality assurance: Will the client need to complete manual credit and background checks or is this function included with identify verification?
There is no question that COVID-19 has made routine tasks like identity verification more challenging. Even so, the best solutions often come from times when people have no choice but to use technology to their advantage to create an even better process.