Terrorism is nothing new. Throughout history, there have been endless streams of groups using violence to attempt to create political or religious change in countries around the world. Here at home in the US, however, we know the exact date that everything changed, forever.
Ever since September 11, 2001, we’ve become hyper aware of the threat of terror, and since that threat has only increased and escalated in the years since then, it’s become a part of our lives. Everything from monitoring social media activities to what you can take on a flight in your carry on is dictated by the threat of violence from faceless terror groups. It’s no wonder, therefore, that it’s become more and more commonplace to make allowances for terror in workplace policies and practices.
Before You Hire
If you don’t already have policies in place to run terror specific employee security vetting as a part of your hiring process, it may be time to draft one. At a minimum, it’s a good idea to include No Fly lists in your screening, so that you can see if a prospective employee is considered a risk by the TSA.
Remember, however, that this is not proof that the candidate is a terrorist, it merely means that they have been flagged as potential risk. Not hiring a candidate on these grounds, or because of their religion or ethnicity could get you in big trouble for discrimination, so don’t make this a deciding factor, but be sure to bring it up in your conversations.
The truth is that there’s no sure fire way to identify a prospective terrorist during hiring processes. Most people who have perpetrated attacks in the US and abroad had no red flags prior to the attacks. Most have no criminal record of any kind, and most aren’t identified as a risk until after they plan and attempt an attack.
This leaves limited options for managers and company owners, but one of the most important options you do have is to create emergency preparedness plans. Discuss risks from within your organization and from outside. Draw up evacuation plans, and host training for staff.
Planning ahead for risks that may occur due to terrorism is a great way to empower your existing staff, and regular refreshers will help to keep your people alert and aware of what is happening around them.
If you regularly have staff members working in offices abroad, it may be a good idea to include training in how to deal with terror risks and attacks in other countries, and to make them aware of security differences in those countries or regions. This is particularly important if your employees will be working in areas that are considered less safe or stable.
Dealing with Fallout
Even the most prepared companies and management teams can’t do everything. There’s always a risk, even if you hire carefully and plan and prepare for the worst, that the worst will happen. The final thing you can do, as an employer, is to ensure that you have documented and accessible plans for dealing with benefits and compensation for the victims of an attack, or their families.
We all like to think that our companies are safe environments, and they usually are. However, as the old saying goes, it’s always best to plan for the worst and hope for the best and employee security vetting helps you to do so.