Are you already fed up with the words “the new normal”? Because no matter how often they are repeated, the world we have lived in for the past few months continues to feel anything but ‘normal.’
However, to the point of view of millions of workers, this “new normal” has been imposed on them with dizzying speed. Business managers and HR teams have been challenged as much as their employees as they now had to contend with an entirely new workplace – or is it a displacement of work? – dynamic.
Revived processes had to be installed to handle everything from workflow processes, collaboration and productivity monitoring, remote access protocols, and data security. Perhaps COVID-19 snowballed toward a more significant number of remote workers, and, likely, many workers will eventually return to the office. At this point, however, it’s a good bet that many organizations will be committed to making sure workers continue to operate remotely, for a variety of possibilities.
Some employee hasn’t been lucky enough to worry about dressing to impress at their next Zoom meeting. As the pandemic continues to drag the economy along, we will continue to see a flood of sobering headlines about the workforce on leave or layoff. But there is a downside: many companies have had to figure out how to carry out the recruitment and onboarding process for new employees in a context where they may not meet the tenant in person … at least not in person.
Need for better integration approaches
When the crisis first hit, some companies found themselves in a situation where they had to hire many new employees. Amazon was the most visible of these, although others like Walmart, Kroger, and Albertson were also recruiting people.
But existing approaches to screening candidates for these jobs wouldn’t work in a COVID-19 environment, as Amazon found out when it got bad press for organizing “cattle call” hiring fairs with minimal disease precautions. . In a rush to fill an expected 100,000 spaces in his system, he repeated his vacation rental formula, with long queues and flocks of candidates watching videos, filling out paperwork and bringing ID. Even in those first few weeks and months, it was an apparent violation of social distancing best practices, which the company later recognized.
But all employees earning a salary in the United States have thus far been required to have a properly completed Form I-9 to verify his or her eligibility to work here, and this one along with their driver’s license, passport. , his social security card, etc., must be physically presented. Until COVID-19, of course, turned that apple cart upside down.
The United States, too Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had to recognize that a new set of policies and procedures needed to be implemented in light of the increase in remote workforce, and did so in March. The “physical and in-person check of the identity of new hires and employment eligibility documents” could now be postponed. Since the spring, USCIS has granted a series of 30-day extensions to this policy, although it only applies to remote workers, and has made other changes to its system.
But if an employer thought all federal regulators would give in during the outbreak, they may already have been rudely shaken up. The Trump administration had budgeted $ 7.6 billion for ICE in 2020, and I-9 audits have increased tenfold. They rise during COVID-19, and the penalty for making a single unintentional or innocent mistake on an I-9 can be as high as $ 2,300. However, traditional filling out and filing I-9 sheets result in errors on more than 70% of forms.
Create compliance remotely
Technology has entered the breach, as one would hope. With social distance in place to minimize face-to-face contact, hiring managers are leveraging new tools that allow them to remotely verify employee eligibility, submit verifications to authorities promptly with authorities, and maintain a level of high protection against pandemics. Everyone is involved in the process.
I-9 compliance applications can now live on mobile devices, enabling new hires to complete forms digitally in only minutes, even without professional assistance. In the case of such an app, the tenant needs to recruit a person over the age of 18 who’s not a relative to receive a secure link on their mobile phone. Using it, they can submit the required information about the renter and even their photo ID.
Suppose they’re still skeptical and unsure of the process. In that case, new hires can take advantage of yet another development of I-9 compliance remotely: Major vendors have launched online help desks and even nationwide networks of call center compliance and mobile representatives.
Another advantage highlighted by these suppliers? That they will help businesses avoid penalties caused by any failure to follow strict I-9 filing and processing deadlines. For organizations with business units or even small businesses, this can ease another bureaucratic trap.
Have these changes to I-9 compliance and employee auditing evolved further after the decline of COVID-19? As businesses increasingly focus on remote workforces and their employees, and even regulators appreciate the convenience, efficiency, and ease of compliance these new platforms provide, it is hard to see someone turn around to accept—paper cuts and waiting rooms superior to embrace solutions.