According to a Justice Department survey, one-third of the U.S. working-age population has a criminal record. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) recently conducted a study showing that many employees, managers, and Human Resources (HR) professionals, are open to working with and hiring people with criminal histories.
At a time when the opioid epidemic is sweeping the nation – causing many people to fail drug tests – and unemployment is at a record low, employers must be more open than ever about the potential of hiring a “low-risk” drug addict or a person with a criminal record.
According to SHRM and CKI, organizations must decide if and how they will approach hiring workers with criminal records. In many cases, these important discussions have not yet taken place. However, they certainly need to. And soon.
Case in point – I ran errands last weekend and in a five-minute timeframe passed multiple Help Wanted signs stuck into the grass along the side of the road. When I reached my destination at a strip mall, five of the eight businesses had Hiring Now signs in their windows, and all of these advertisements boasted hourly wages well above minimum wage.
WHAT CAN I DO? Times have changed, friends. As a leader, hiring manager or HR professional, the time has come for you to start the conversation with decision-makers in your organization about how you will manage today’s new normal. And if you are thinking, “This isn’t normal,” think again. According to the study, two-thirds of HR professionals say their company has hired workers with criminal records. What will you do?
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 firstname.lastname@example.org.