Diversity and inclusion have become influential buzz words in the work environment in recent years, largely due to the racial justice conversations that have been taking place nationally and globally.
Any employer who wants to attract and retain a skilled workforce needs to recognize that prospective employees often have very high expectations of company culture, and will be paying attention to both claims and demonstrations of healthy diversity and inclusion.
One way to boost the diversity and inclusion at your workplace is to be a fair chance employer.
The goal of fair chance hiring is to offer applicants with prior arrest or incarceration records a fair chance in the hiring process. It entails taking a critical look at your hiring and adjudication criteria, conscientiously removing bias, and taking a positive role in evaluating the context and any remediation relating to a candidate’s criminal background.
The philosophy is based on the notion that each applicant deserves a fair assessment for any role they are qualified for, even if they have a criminal history. Such applicants are often committed to their personal reform and highly motivated, but they may be overlooked by hiring entities for their past infractions.
While it’s pretty clear this has advantages for the 70 million Americans who are survivors of the criminal justice system, it also profoundly benefits employers in a variety of ways.
Benefits to Fair Chance Employers
Competitive Advantage: You’ll have a broader talent pool to choose from. Since one out of three American adults has a criminal record, and competition for new hires has never been higher, you can’t afford to disqualify such a large proportion of applicants.
Diverse Employee Base: Hiring people who’ve been involved in the justice system ensures a workforce of people with a constellation of different abilities, education levels and economic histories. It’s widely acknowledged that diverse perspectives lead to innovation, creativity, and disruption. In addition, many employees state that a diverse workplace is important to them when evaluating job opportunities. Fair chance hiring is a powerful step towards increased diversity, allowing your company to benefit from the unique skill sets of a diverse workforce.
Improve Retention: A recent study of John Hopkins Health Systems & Hospital revealed that fair chance employees showed a 43 percent higher retention rate than employees without a criminal record over the course of four years. About 5 percent of their workforce has criminal backgrounds. Reduced turnover saves money and contributes to a more stable and consistent work culture.
Qualified candidates: Many highly skilled and educated formerly incarcerated people struggle to reenter the workforce upon release due to administrative barriers or regulations preventing them from holding professional licenses. Common discrimination against post-prison individuals is often based on inaccurate or misguided notions about their job performance. Consider the example of the US military, where previously incarcerated individuals are statistically promoted faster and to higher ranks than their peers.
Social Benefit: Employment is demonstrated to be one of the best protections against recidivism. Fair chance hiring helps formerly incarcerated individuals overcome their increased risk of poverty, housing insecurity, homelessness, and unemployment. This benefits your entire community.
Benefit the Community and Your Bottom Line
Fair chance hiring is a powerful way to attract and retain a committed, qualified, diverse and loyal group of employees. As a strategy that can improve your bottom line while also making enormous positive contributions to the community, it’s a win-win strategy. Here at Tech Dump and Tech Discounts, it intersects perfectly with our explicit mission of social justice, but we’re convinced it will benefit profit-driven companies of every description.