vendor management

Visitor Management: How Well Do You Trust Vendors in Your Facilities?

You take pride in the way you control access to your building. Your employees wear badges that double as access cards. When salespeople show up, they’re required to sign in and have to be escorted back to an office. Your receptionist is a tiger when it comes to enforcing those rules.

 So who just walked past your office? Oh, it’s the fire extinguisher guy, doing his monthly inspection. Takes him a couple hours to work his way through the entire building. Or maybe it was the Bobby the plumber, who’s here to fix the leaky valve on that urinal. Could have been the guy who restocks the vending machines -- you’re always amazed at how much candy and how many soft drinks your team goes through in a week.

 You make sure employees are identified and you keep an eye on those occasional visitors. But to me, it looks like maintenance and other service people wander anywhere they want without a second thought on your part. Oh sure, your receptionist would never let them past her desk without getting a signature and clipping on a visitor’s pass, but once they’re in the building, nobody pays much attention.

 Does that make you nervous? Not really? You’re giving these people who you may not know all that well unlimited access to your entire building. They stroll into important areas, past tables and desks loaded with proprietary and confidential information, and around cubicles where employees leave purses and expensive technology. They’re free to interact with any of your employees. They have access to restrooms, stairwells, and other out-of-sight places.

 You’ve known Bobby for better than a decade. He’s the most reliable plumber you’ve found, and you hope they guy never retires. Bobby brought a helper today. You don’t know his helper, but Bobby would never hire anyone unreliable. If you knew more, you’d learn that the helper attends Bobby’s church and was hired at the pastor’s request because he needed some guidance and support. He’s 23 and has already done four stints at the county jail. Handful of thefts, narcotics … stuff like that.

 The fire extinguisher guy is pretty quiet, but very diligent and efficient. You haven’t noticed that he has an eye for the ladies, particularly the young, friendly pair in customer service. You trust that the fire safety vendor has vetted him thoroughly, but their bargain background check missed that arrest for a sex offense that his attorney pleaded down to a lesser charge.

 If you looked in the empty cases the vending machine guy wheeled back to his truck, you’d notice they’re not always empty. He hasn’t taken anything really valuable … well, not yet … but he thinks it’s okay to help himself to things. What your employees assume they’ve misplaced has actually been stolen, and it’s been happening for years.

 What kind of screening do your vendors perform when hiring someone? How often do they take a closer look at their existing employees? If you can’t answer those questions, you have no idea whether your business and your employees are safe from those friendly service people. You’re simply assuming that your vendors are as careful about hiring as you are, and I think that’s a pretty dangerous assumption.

 So what can you do to protect yourself? First, find out exactly what your vendors and service providers are doing to ensure their employees deserve your trust. If their vetting process does not make you completely comfortable, perhaps it’s time to initiate a process of your own. One possible approach is to use our SafeVendor visitor system, which requires vendors to register before they enter your facility and allows us to perform a background check so you know if there’s a reason to be wary. It also issues badges and tracks who’s in your facilities (which is handy if an emergency occurs).

 Second, give serious thought to limiting access for those vendors or service people. That may involve assigning an escort to bring them to the area where work is being performed and possibly even remaining with them while they handle their tasks. Or it may be that you allow them to occupy specified areas for specified time periods. If the plumber is making a repair in the first-floor men’s room, he shouldn’t have any reason to be upstairs.

 Letting vendors and maintenance people wander freely through your building is like creating a big safety net and cutting large holes in it. You and your employees deserve better.

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Making Sure Your Building is Safe No Matter Who is There

When we think about safety, we tend to only think about people that come into our schools on a regular basis. This includes parents, bus drivers, teachers, or janitors. We get their backgrounds checked on a regular basis; however, we don’t always think about other people that may periodically enter our buildings . Why don’t we always think about the HVAC workers? Or the vending machine suppliers? Or even the cafeteria food delivery truck driver? All of these people could have interaction with or access to children, so why don’t we think to make sure that they are who they say they are, and that they can be trusted inside our schools?

With SafeVendor, this problem can easily be fixed. SafeVendor is a part of SafeVisitor Solutions that allows vendors to enter any facility using the SafeVisitor system and manages all of the re-certification background checks. This means that each vendor will only need one background check, and it will work in any school or building that is protected by SafeVisitor Solutions. This can save organizations significant money because instead of having to conduct background checks on their vendors or construction workers multiple times a year and for different projects, they can conduct one comprehensive background check annually.


Why not use SafeVendor for all of those vendor visitors and increase your safety at a  reasonable price? Take a look at https://www.safevisitorsolutions.com/safevendor/ for more information about SafeVisitor and SafeVendor!

 

Top 5 Problems with Vendor Background Checks

Vendor background checks is an area that still exposes organizations to a lot of risk.  Most organizations have a policy on requiring vendor background checks, but do they actually audit this process or even understand how to audit the process?

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When evaluating the security of organizations, the first line of defense is to always know exactly who is entering the facilities. Employees are a priority for screening, but often visitors, vendors, and volunteers are screened at a much lower level or not even screened at all.

I recently spoke with a friend who works for a large multi-state law firm.  She is an attorney in their Government Relations Group.  With that role, it is not uncommon for her to be working after hours. On more than one occasion, she has bumped into a man working for the cleaning contractor and had no idea who he was or if he had a violent criminal history.

Her experience pinpoints a serious problem for organizations.  Would her employer be held liable if she was harmed on their property by a vendor who had a violent criminal history?  Quite possibly.

Let’s look at 5 problems with vendor background checks:

  1. Self Certification.  This is the most common form of vendor credentialing.  Companies require their vendors to conduct employee background checks, and then certify to them that they have done so.  How can these companies ensure compliance has been conducted with an acceptable level of screening?
  2. Definition of “Background Check”.  There is not a standard definition of what constitutes a background check.  How does a company ensure that their vendors require the same level and depth of screening?  To do so requires specific documentation or clearly defined requirements that are supplied IN WRITING to vendors and followed by periodic audits.
  3. Date of Background Check. Are vendors conducting regular background checks on their employees?  Many organizations only require background checks when an employee is hired.  What protocols are in place for checking employees that have been employed for 10 or 20 years?
  4. E-verify/ Legal Right to Work.  The federal government’s E-verify program is being increasingly  legislated across the U.S. for organizations that provide services to cities, states, or the federal government- including schools.  This is not a service that can be conducted by a third party.  Employers are the only entity that can conduct E-verify, and it must be done within the first 3 days of employment.  So E-verify is a post-hire check.  It is important that vendors provide a Letter of Agreement stipulating that they are using the E-verify program (if this is a requirement for your organization).
  5. Privacy Issues.  The recent Equifax breach has certainly raised the awareness of millions of Americans to the possibility of their personal information ending up in the wrong hands. Privacy issues are a concern when conducting vendor background checks.  One option would be to include any third parties in an Authorization Form, so the information can be shared with business partners who have a business necessity.

SafeVisitor has created a SafeVendor module that makes this process secure and comprehensive while removing policy concerns.  SafeVendor has a policy requirement to be able to be SafeVendor Certified.  Once you are certified, then any organization using SafeVisitor can check a vendor to ensure there is a completed background check.

To ensure strict privacy restrictions, SafeVisitor does not share the background screening report with third parties, but only shares the vendor’s ID badge, photo, and certification that stipulates the level of background check completed and passed

Join us for a webinar to learn more about how SafeVisitor and SafeVendor can help protect your organization while at the same time protecting the privacy rights of your vendors.