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How to ease fit and proper anxiety

I have had several anxious requests from staff about fit and proper assessments. How can I deal with these concerns?



Fitness and propriety assessments are an essential part of SMCR and, depending upon your chosen approach, they could include criminal record checks, financial integrity (credit) checks, financial services register checks, social media checks etc.


You may feel that a wide range of screening checks is necessary to make your firm safe but you also need to understand that this approach can have downsides. For those people being assessed, the whole process can feel scary and intrusive.


Even somebody who is convinced that they have an unblemished record may worry that the checks will throw up something they didn’t know about.


If they are executed clumsily and without careful consideration, fit and proper tests can be demotivating and lead to a general perception that staff are not trusted. So how do you make fit and proper something that actually engages and motivates?


Our 3 top tips:


Tell people what and why – your staff will not trust you if they feel that information about the fit and proper process is being withheld. You need to communicate early, clearly and regularly so that those people affected understand exactly what the fit and proper process is (what they can expect) and the reasons that it is being put in place. People will worry about the implications of not passing the FIT test, you need to be ready for this.


Make it feel normal – the more that you can make FIT tests feel like business as usual, the easier it will be for people to simply accept them and get on with their jobs. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to embed fit and proper tests into existing HR processes, in particular annual appraisals or new starter inductions.


Focus on the good stuff – the term fitness and propriety can have a negative feel to it, it can seem like you are looking for problems. To avoid this, focus more attention onto aspects of the assessment that are about positive achievements, high performance and progress – be clear that this is an opportunity for the individual to show their potential.


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