For everything from starting a new job to registering for a professional licence or becoming a volunteer, background screening is an important step in the process. Many organisations need to be assured someone is suitable for the role – that they have the required integrity and are who they say they are.
But screening processes have traditionally been manual and time-consuming for both employers and candidates. Australia Post’s Workforce Verification solution, which launched mid-2019, is designed to remove that friction – and get people to work sooner, with greater confidence.
“In 2020, we handled over 110,000 Police Checks, as well as Working with Children Check verifications and Visa Checks, for organisations across Australia.” says Holly Kelly, Product Analyst with Australia Post. “The response to Workforce Verification has been really positive. And a key part of that is the close partnership we’ve created with our customers: we get continual feedback on their processes, so we can continue to improve the experience for everyone.”
Australia Post Workforce Verification provides robust Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission-compliant (ACIC) checks, with the option to complete the process online or in store. Employers have real-time online visibility of an application’s status, which can help streamline reporting and ongoing compliance.
A matter of trust
Australia Post conducts over 8 million identity and background-related checks every year.1 The Workforce Verification solution builds on that extensive experience in complex identity and candidate background screening services.
Australians are already used to getting their passports renewed, or applying for a tax file number at the Post Office – helping to make Australia Post a trusted solution for other transactions involving personal identity.
When a major regulatory authority assessed the bottlenecks in its practitioner licensing and registration process, it found many people were resistant to sending their identity documents online.
“It wasn’t just an age-related or tech-savviness issue – it was also trust. They actually told the organisation they’d be more comfortable using Australia Post,” says Holly.
Initially, applicants said they’d also prefer the choice to complete the process in store, so they felt in control of their information. “But after adopting Workforce Verification, the authority found online applications actually increased. Their practitioners trusted Australia Post to do the right thing with their information, and also appreciated that our data is maintained onshore.”
In turn, using Workforce Verification helps the authority maintain trust across the industry. “Police checks are a reassurance that the practitioners have never committed fraud, or committed wilful damage,” Holly explains.
Need for speed
The authority now manages up to 7,000 checks through Workforce Verification each year – and has cut the time each one takes from as much as 28 days to under a week.2
With pressure to quickly onboard frontline staff during the global pandemic, Australia Post worked closely with healthcare customers and the regulator to make sure thorough checks could be carried out as efficiently as possible.
“One hospital told us they’ve saved hours every week, because they can now complete the Working with Children Check through Australia Post,” explains Holly.
In a continual effort to streamline every aspect of the process, Australia Post has also focused on integration. Workforce Verification can plug into human capital management systems and applicant tracking systems such as JobAdder and SuccessFactors. This means employers and recruitment agencies can trigger background or workforce checks directly through their existing systems.
“They have one login and a single interface, plus all the benefits of Workforce Verification, including full visibility,” says Holly.
Support and accessibility
One of the first things Workforce Verification set out to shake up was customer support.
“We were told about long wait times and inadequate fallback solutions like emailing documents,” notes Holly. “So we saw an opportunity to provide a positive experience that everyone can access.”
Over 500 agents are available to assist applicants at all stages of the process via phone or online. For instance, if applicants are unable to meet the standard ACIC document requirements, they are guided through their other options. And those who prefer an in-person experience, can access ID checks at more than 3500 Post Office locations.
“This means our customers can create a more inclusive experience from day one,” says Holly. “The online application is also designed according to accessibility and user experience principles.”
Support also extends to the employer. “We provide detailed reporting, and can help them identify steps in the process that are slowing down their onboarding. And then together, we can find a solution.”
Australia Post has already added Citizenship Checks to its Workforce Verification’s capabilities.
“Birth certificates are not proof of citizenship for people born after 1986, so we can now take care of citizenship checks for that cohort – which is important for Federal Government employment,” says Holly.
She says her team’s “strong product roadmap” includes a number of new checks – including references, qualifications and drivers’ licence history.
“We’ll also look to integrate with more platform providers to continue streamlining the process.”
Ultimately, Holly sees Workforce Verification playing an important part in helping Australians fill professional roles around the country.
“We want to help get the right people into the right jobs sooner, and with confidence. We’re an important part of the process, and will continue to remove roadblocks to make it as fast, simple and effective as possible.”