How can I incorporate fair chance hiring into my DEI strategy?
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70 million Americans have some form of a criminal record in their past. This means there are 70 million Americans who aren’t give a fair chance and are overlooked as viable job candidates.
Here are some insights from Ken Oliver, Executive Director of Checkr.org, Checkr’s corporate social responsibility program in philanthropic initiative, on what fair chance hiring is, the benefits it can generate, and how to incorporate it in your organization.
**What is fair chance hiring?**
Fair chance hiring simply means that every candidate, regardless of background, receives a fair opportunity to compete for a job based on the merits of his or her qualifications rather than on life events or circumstances that may have happened in a candidate’s personal life or past. It’s important to note that when we talk about fair chance for everyone, what we are really talking about is the most authentic version of inclusion. Diversity, equity and inclusion was birthed in this country because several large swaths of people in this country were not being provided access and opportunity to advance, be promoted, or even considered not based on their skills or merits, but based on their status, which becomes this kind of Scarlet letter a person has to be judged on for the rest of their life.
We want to give people the opportunity to participate in meaningful work and to be provided access to economic mobility should be provided to every single person in America, regardless of divisive statuses that we have often created in this country for people.
**What happens when it’s implemented?**
What’s interesting about what we are advancing is that the data shows that when we are inclusive, we actually increase our productivity and profits. We increase creativity with our workforce and our staff. We increase innovation and wellbeing within our company cultures.
And more importantly, we increase the health and vitality of the communities where we do business and where we live. This is kind of a holistic brand of diversity and inclusion, and it’s not about racial identity necessarily It’s about the richness and value in diverse lived experiences and perspectives that can maximize value across the board.
**How can companies get ahead of biases?**
When we get past the bias it’s really about building a culture of inclusivity in the workplace that has to start from the top down. There has to be intention from leadership to be inclusive. And cascade that company value down throughout the company.
When we look at some of this country’s leaders who have embraced inclusivity through fair chance hiring have seen tremendous value in integrating it into their corporate practice. Each of these companies have done so because there was an insight usually and a willingness by the highest levels of corporate leadership.
Once leadership has bought in an adopted intention, then the rest is, like anything else, educating ourselves about best practices, educating ourselves about the primary issues and the myths about people we are all trying to daily overcome. It’s very difficult to truly hold on the bias when you are a part of changing the world, when you are contributing to making a difference in someone else’s life or a difference in your community.
**How can I learn more?**
If a company is interested in educating itself on fair chance hiring, how it can benefit their company or a more broader inclusion strategy that can help their business and make a difference in the community, my first suggestion is to download the Checkr fair chance playbook, which we have on our website. The second thing is to look at Checkr.org. If you’re interested in learning about Checkr’s fair chance program and how they can help your company actually implement a fair chance initiative responsibly.
For more information, you can check out this episode:
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