Environmental, Social and Governance Overview
Integrating ESG and CSR at the Highest Levels
First Advantage is focused on its Environmental, Social and Governance ("ESG") strategies, and now, as a part of our public company journey, we look to communicate that commitment outside the organization. Our mission is to integrate ESG into the broader business strategy to enhance performance in areas where there is a value-add to our stakeholders and further differentiate First Advantage from its competitors. This starts by identifying key goals and metrics and embedding ESG values into our corporate culture, strategy and objectives.
As part of its general oversight function, our board exercises oversight over ESG risks and opportunities, and ESG factors also are considered at the board committee level. We also have established an ESG Steering Committee to ensure active management of ESG-related risks and opportunities ("ESG Matters"). We have identified ESG Matters that are material to First Advantage’s business and align with our corporate strategy.
Senior management has responsibility for the execution of our ESG strategy. Our ESG program is overseen by senior members of our human resources, investor relations and legal departments. Our ESG Steering Committee is comprised of senior members of these and other departments and functions. The ESG Steering Committee has adopted a written charter to ensure ongoing internal alignment and focus on ESG Matters. The ESG Steering Committee meets on a regular basis. Currently, First Advantage’s ESG Matters include:
We strive for all of our employees to work in an environment where they are treated with dignity and respect. We are an equal opportunity employment employer and are committed to providing a workplace that is free of discrimination of all types from abusive, offensive or harassing behavior. We are committed to creating such an environment because it brings out the full potential in each of our employees, which, in turn, contributes directly to our business success.
Diversity & Inclusion
First Advantage is committed to building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. We believe that promoting diversity plays an important role in attracting the most expansive pool of qualified applicants, fostering greater innovation and creativity and enhancing our communication and relationships with customers and the community. Our goal is to attract, develop and retain the best and brightest from all walks of life and backgrounds. This requires an organization to have a culture of inclusion where all individuals feel respected, are treated fairly and are provided work-life balance and an opportunity to excel in their chosen careers. We leverage our diverse and inclusive workforce to achieve superior business results.
To achieve this mission, a passionate group of volunteers and HR professionals from across the company came together to help build a stronger, more inclusive organization for all employees. Together, they formed a cross-functional Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committee and leveraged external expertise to identify and implement Communication, Education, Recruitment and Retention initiatives intended to make Diversity & Inclusion a central and lasting part of our corporate culture. Our D&I Committee is sponsored by our executive leadership.
We have implemented an inclusion-focused communications initiative and internal resource site. In addition, we are taking steps to increase the diversity of our technology hires by partnering with minority-focused professional networks and participating in diversity-focused technology career fairs. The company also launched a Black Employee Resource Group to provide support and enhance career development and networking for employees in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. This group serves as a key thought partner for senior leadership and supports the organization in recruiting and employee retention. A Women’s Employee Resource Group is also currently in development.
First Advantage has a strong and progressive plan in place for ensuring our employees can bring their “whole selves” to work, and we look forward to making additional progress on this plan this year and in the future.
Learning & Development
First Advantage is committed to providing development opportunities for its global employee population. We believe continuous learning is a key part of a successful employee and customer experience. Employees are encouraged to grow and develop themselves in a variety of different ways, be it on the job, through peers, job shadowing or in a traditional classroom/virtual setting or through self-paced online learning. One of our key competencies is the ability to understand our customer, from their perspective; we call it “Outside-In.” We believe this outside-in mentality and an individual growth mindset will help cement our place as a leader in the industry.
In 2019, the organization implemented a robust training program for front-line and emerging leadership known as SOAR. The SOAR Program is a six-month learning experience designed to empower managers and build leaders. By participating in the program, employees receive the tools they need to effectively manage themselves and their teams while growing as leaders in a fast-paced, technology-driven organization. To-date, the program has trained more than 100+ people managers and positively impacted team members around the globe.
Additionally, all employees have access to Employee Advantage, a training curriculum resource library that houses more than 3,000 modules on a wide variety of topics. Technology employees also have access to improve their skills through Pluralsight, a resource library curated for technologists.
Since CEO Scott Staples took the helm in 2017, the organization has increased its commitment to employee engagement. That year marked the first company-wide employee engagement survey and, every year since, the company has gained insights and taken actions to make First Advantage a better place to work. Since 2017, employee favorability scores have increased 17.3% overall. In our most recent survey (capturing 2020 sentiment), 76.5% of employees said they were inspired by the work we do every day for our customers, an increase of 5% from the previous year. 74.5% of employees said they recommend First Advantage as a great place to work, an increase of 6.8% from the previous year. 78.8% of employees said they are proud to work at First Advantage, an increase of 4.8% from the previous year.
COVID-19 Pandemic Response
Early on in the pandemic, First Advantage implemented a proactive strategy to minimize potential disruptions, including (but not limited to):
- Closed all First Advantage offices and expanded the company’s existing remote work-from-home program.
- Implemented pre-defined and tested workload transfer procedures and confirmed cross-training employee matrices to address potential staff shortages.
- Banned non-essential business travel.
- Distributed Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to all office locations if and when reopened.
- Delivered hygiene reinforcement messaging to global employees.
- Eliminated face-to-face interactions via use of video conferencing tools.
- Tracked quarantine times for exposed staff.
Keeping employees’ safe is our top priority. First Advantage looks forward to our employees returning to the office in the future, with enhanced safety protocols in place. To accomplish this task, we have created various procedures for employees returning to or visiting a First Advantage office, dealing with exposure to COVID-19, screening and responding to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, and reporting and confidentiality.
As we plan for the new normal and potential re-opening of our offices, our approach includes (but is not limited to):
- Enhancing cleaning services at all offices.
- Requiring all employees to complete a COVID-19 self-assessment before returning to work.
- Maintaining a strict social distancing program.
- Requiring masks if not in own work area.
- Instituting a no-visitor policy for all global offices until further notice.
- Reinforcing workplace safety rules through training and managerial leadership.
First Advantage seeks to be a responsible global corporate citizen, giving back to and producing an enduring, positive impact on the communities in which we operate. We take into account all of our stakeholders, including our investors, employees, customers, suppliers, and communities in which we operate. This commitment to corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) encompasses everything from ensuring the dignified treatment of employees without discrimination to establishing a solid corporate governance structure. These principles are memorialized in our Global Code of Conduct and Ethics, which is reviewed annually and updated as applicable. Compliance with the provisions of this Global Code of Conduct and Ethics is a basic condition of employment at First Advantage.
All employees undergo compliance, fraud and ethics training upon hire and on an annual basis including the Global Compliance Whistleblower and Anti-Fraud Training as well as Global Compliance FCPA: Anti-Bribery, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Integrity Training. First Advantage has also established a Code of Business Conduct that sets requirements for our vendors. Among other things, the Code of Business Conduct sets requirements around responsible labor practices. As we look ahead, it is our goal that our vendors around the globe remain committed to the principles set forth in the Code of Business Conduct. In addition, every new vendor is vetted through our Supplier Relationship Management Program process which requires all prospective suppliers/vendors to agree to specified labor practices.
First Advantage is also committed to an environment where open and transparent communications are the expectation, not the exception. Employees are encouraged to feel comfortable in approaching their supervisor or management in instances where it is believed that violations of policies or standards have occurred. To promote confidence in transparent communication without fear of reprisal, First Advantage has established a global EthicsPoint hotline hosted by a third-party provider. The information shared via these channels is completely anonymous and ensures that employee concerns will be heard. EthicsPoint is available to vendors and other third parties and is accessible at https://fadv.ethicspoint.com.
We are committed to developing mutually beneficial relationships with small, minority-owned, women-owned, disadvantaged, veteran-owned and local business enterprises. Our Supplier Diversity Policy reflects our desire to create an opportunity for suppliers to market their products to the company. When all business considerations are determined to be equal among competitive suppliers, the company will award contracts to such businesses.
As a newly public company, First Advantage is in the early stages of publishing ESG and sustainability information. We already have begun taking steps to enhance our ESG and sustainability disclosure and intend to continue to do so in alignment with evolving market practices and stakeholder expectations.