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It's time to reevaluate your background checks - Fast Company

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

If every unemployed American found a job today, the country would still have an astounding four million unfilled positions. A recent Fast Company article laid out the facts.

Given the shortage in the labor market, U.S. companies within industries like banks, pharmacy chains, transportation, warehousing, and retail have eased hiring restrictions against the justice-impacted population. The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) surveyed managers who adopted inclusive hiring practices, and 82% reported that the productivity of the employees with records was as high as or higher than that of their colleagues.

Once hired, justice-impacted employees also have lower turnover rates. The retail giant Kroger introduced a program working with nonprofit organizations to provide jobs for this population, and the program had a retention rate of 93% after 18 months.


The justice-impacted population in America has a staggering 27% unemployment rate. Discriminatory background checks and mandatory criminal record disclosures in early rounds of applications and interviews are the main drivers perpetuating hiring inequities. A common argument against hiring people with criminal records is employers' perceived risk. In 2009, Carnegie Mellon found this was an unfounded misconception. In fact, after five years of no new arrests, an individual with a criminal record poses no greater risk of rearrest than the general population.


"When you take the time to evaluate someone with a criminal record's full humanity and invest in their future, the untapped potential for positive outcomes is often immeasurable" - Emily Galvin-Almanza, Cofounder and Executive Director of Partners for Justice

Addressing societal inequities to find high-quality talent amidst today's labor storage is within reach. Taking steps to reevaluate hiring restrictions against people with criminal records simultaneously helps your business while contributing to broader societal change.

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