HomeInsideInside OnGrid BGV Evolution: Piyush Peshwani On Meeting India's Demand for Rapid Background Verifications
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Inside OnGrid BGV Evolution: Piyush Peshwani On Meeting India’s Demand for Rapid Background Verifications

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Speaking to TechGraph, Piyush Peshwani, Co-Founder and CEO of OnGrid spoke about the dynamic landscape of India’s Background Verification (BGV) industry, and about OnGrid’s innovative methods for adapting to evolving verification requirements, based on digitization trends and shifting client needs, bringing about the new era for background checks.

Read the complete interview:

Piyush Peshwani: The Indian online background verification (BGV) industry is currently undergoing notable transformations. The practice of conducting Employee Background Verification (BGV) is rapidly expanding beyond traditional sectors like IT and banking, encompassing a wide array of industries such as e-commerce, transportation, logistics, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, hospitality, education, and more. In response to this shift, OnGrid has expanded its services to cater to this diverse range of sectors.

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Key elements of BGV have evolved beyond standard checks on identity, address, criminal records, prior employment, and education. Today checks like professional references, database checks, instant employment history, dual employment (moonlighting), social media scrutiny, and drug screening have become commonplace. OnGrid has developed innovative methodologies to expedite the delivery of these new checks with the utmost speed, accuracy, and effectiveness.

The digitization of BGV processes represents another significant trend, and OnGrid has responded by offering a paperless, streamlined approach complete with comprehensive dashboards and real-time reporting. The shift from a “buffet” model to an “a la carte” approach provides employers with greater flexibility in designing and executing their BGV programs. From day one, OnGrid has considered this shift and designed its platform with smart configurations to enable the creation of cost-effective, tailor-made solutions for its clients.

Piyush Peshwani: The demand for online background verification services has experienced significant growth in recent years, propelled by several key market trends and factors. One prominent client requirement is the turnaround time (TAT) for conducting these checks, as organizations seek to minimize the time gap between making a hiring decision and the actual onboarding of new employees. Additionally, cost optimization, especially when hiring gig workers, has underscored the need for digital background verification.

To address this demand, OnGrid has developed digital solutions that offer either instant verification through an API or methodologies that deliver rapid results within just 4 hours. All of these APIs can seamlessly integrate into an organization’s Human Resource Management System (HRMS). OnGrid has also formed partnerships with multiple HRMS providers to provide these instantaneous and digital verification solutions.

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Furthermore, OnGrid has made investments in eLockr, a platform designed for former employers to issue verifiable credentials to ex-employees. These credentials can be promptly and digitally verified with the electronic consent of the ex-employee. To date, millions of credentials have already been issued, and we anticipate a much wider adoption of digital verification and onboarding in the future.

TechGraph: Online background verification often involves accessing multiple data sources, including government databases. How does OnGrid ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information it obtains, and how does it handle discrepancies in data?

Piyush Peshwani: The accuracy of background verification results holds paramount importance, particularly when conducting such assessments on a candidate, as the outcomes can significantly influence their career or employment prospects. At OnGrid, we are acutely aware of this responsibility. We meticulously select our data sources, giving preference to reliable government sources and esteemed institutions.

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Whenever feasible, we seek opportunities to collaborate within established government frameworks as licensed providers. In cases where such frameworks do not exist, we turn to open government data platforms, such as website portals, or reputable third-party providers. These sources are chosen based on our confidence in the accuracy of their results and the dependability of their services, forming a robust foundation for our verification processes.

In instances of any discrepancies, our verification procedures involve cross-referencing information from multiple sources. Through the comparison and validation of data from various origins, we typically arrive at a conclusive result. Sometimes, when uncertainty arises, we exercise discretion in determining whether to classify a case as a “Failure” or a “Success with exception.”

Simultaneously, we acknowledge the limitations inherent in the available data and digital public infrastructure. We consider these constraints when presenting our results and reports.

TechGraph: What role does technology play in enhancing the efficiency and accuracy of background verification processes at OnGrid? Are there any recent technological innovations or advancements that have significantly impacted the industry?

Piyush Peshwani: Technology introduces innovative verification methods, such as biometric, facial, or voice recognition, which excel in terms of both security and convenience compared to traditional approaches. During the pandemic, OnGrid pioneered the digital address verification feature, a video-KYC-based process that enables remote address verification, without compromising social distancing protocols.

Our product, eLockr, which is rapidly gaining adoption as a platform for issuing ex-employee credentials, delivers instant and secure employment verification, a process that typically takes weeks or even months to complete. Face match APIs, powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), can discern whether the candidate joining an organization matches the one who participated in a video interview.

TechGraph: OnGrid works with a wide range of clients, including both large enterprises and small businesses. How does the company tailor its services to meet the specific needs and scale of different clients in the Indian market?

Piyush Peshwani: When serving over 3000 clients, it is not feasible to create a separate software platform for each one. Therefore, we rely on developing intelligent configurations that can be customized to meet the specific requirements of tens of thousands of Indian and international clients. To illustrate, if we consider 10 configurations, each offering 5 options, we’re dealing with a staggering 5^10 combinations, totaling nearly 10 million possible permutations.

These configurations encompass a wide range of choices, such as the selection of verification checks, the timing for initiating checks (pre-joining or post-joining), the method of data exchange (API or candidate self-registration), the approach or methodology for conducting checks, how reminders are sent to candidates for providing missing data or documents, the format of reports, the frequency of report delivery, and the designated recipients, among other factors.

Even the color codes can be configured, so if a client prefers a “mera-wala-blue” color instead of green to signify a successful result, it’s a quick and simple configuration that can be done in just a few seconds.
Our dedicated product team is well-prepared to craft new configurations and takes immense pride in its ability to address the diverse needs and scalability requirements of our clients in both the Indian and global markets.

TechGraphWith the growing emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, how does OnGrid contribute to creating fair and bias-free background verification processes? Are there any tools or strategies in place to mitigate bias in the data collection and verification process?

Piyush Peshwani: None of our verification methods give any consideration to factors that contradict the principles of diversity and inclusion. Our methods are entirely impartial regarding gender, race, religion, caste, and so on. In all our actions and plans, we consistently pose a straightforward question: “Is this the right thing to do?” This question embodies one of our core values at OnGrid.

TechGraph: As we move forward, what does the future hold for OnGrid and the online background verification industry in India? Are there any upcoming initiatives, partnerships, or innovations that we can expect from the company?

Piyush Peshwani: The market is experiencing rapid growth, driven by an expanding array of use cases, including onboarding and verification of candidates and customers across various industries and services. The global identity verification market is projected to increase in size from USD 8.6 billion in 2021 to USD 18.6 billion by 2026.

Factors like the gig economy‘s ascent and the prevalence of remote work will continue to drive the evolution of digital methodologies and infrastructure. The adoption of digital public infrastructure, exemplified by platforms like DigiLocker, and eLockr, and the integration of India Stack components like Aadhaar eKYC and eSign, holds the potential for transformative change. OnGrid is well-prepared to embrace this future, ensuring that its clients can reap the benefits of enhanced efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

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Krishna Mali
Krishna Mali
Founder & Group Editor of TechGraph.
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