Spring is Underway: Bloom a New Talent Strategy Inclusive of People with Criminal Records


As the weather gets warmer, it’s an opportune time as HR practitioners and employers to do a little “spring cleaning” to remove old misconceptions and bias, replenish with new and forward-thinking strategies around hiring and retaining top talent and to explore innovative ways to build a talent pipeline for the future. We encourage you to implement a more inclusive hiring strategy – one that is open to job seekers with criminal records. 

One in Three Working-age Adults Have a Criminal Record

Did you know there is an untapped pool of candidates of nearly 700,000 individuals that are released from prison each year? Yes, they have a criminal record and yes—they are a talented, skilled group of people who bring great value to both employers and their communities, when they’re given an opportunity to thrive. 

The Getting Talent Back to Work Initiative

April is Second Chance Month. I encourage you to learn how the SHRM Foundation’s Getting Talent Back to Work Initiative can help you build a stronger workforce. Our research shows that the overwhelming majority of HR professionals report that employing second chance hires has been good for business. Sixty-four percent have had either mostly positive or overwhelmingly positive experiences working with these employees. They perform as well as, or better than, their coworkers. 

Businesses see a clear return-on-investment. Among the benefits, employers who adopted hiring practices that are inclusive of this talent pool have gained:

A job pool of all the best candidates: With more than 70 million Americans with some kind of criminal record, including these job seekers ensures you’re building the most talented and competitive workforce possible.

Improved Business Performance: Save time and money in the hiring process and reduced turnover with loyal employees.

Diversified Workforce: Break down barriers for and bias of people with criminal records can effectively contribute to your DE&I efforts by building a high-performing, racially diverse workforce.

4 Ways to Create Change

  1. Take an assessment to learn how to reduce barriers for this pool of candidates.
  2. Earn the Getting Talent Back to Work Certificate. It’s chock full of actionable knowledge and tools to attract, hire and retain people with criminal records.
  3. Take the Pledge and show you’re committed to considering all qualified candidates with a criminal record.
  4. Utilize the SHRM Foundation’s Digital Toolkit with resources to support your efforts to recruit, welcome and develop individuals with a criminal background.

You can find all these resources at gettingtalentbacktowork.org

The SHRM Foundation has long been committed to influencing large-scale systemic change for individuals with criminal or conviction records. We invite you to join the many, many organizations that are growing and thriving from working with this pool of talent.



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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