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There’s new attention on hiring people with criminal records

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Posted at 4:17 PM, May 27, 2021

With both the need for workers right now and emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion, there's new attention on hiring people with criminal records.

As many as one in three or around 70 million Americans have some type of criminal record.

Human Resource professionals and business leaders are more on board with hiring them now.

According to new research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the majority say they do their jobs just as well or better than others. This also includes promotion potential, dependability and retention.

Some businesses are still asking for people to indicate their criminal history on their application, but it is fewer now than three years ago.

“If we can address the stigma, we can address biases that people may or may not even recognize that they have inherently. If we can have conversations with those HR professionals, with recruiters, with individuals who are engaging with these individuals, every day, once they come into the workplaces, the necessity for ban the box or not may not necessarily be there,” said Wendi Safstrom, Executive Director at the SHRM Foundation.

Currently, three-fourths of the U.S. population lives in an area that has a "ban the box" policy, according to the National Employment Law Project.

HR professionals say there is value in being transparent about your experience.

“Be very transparent about why perhaps there was a gap on their employment, what they've learned in the interim, the skills, in particular the soft skills, if not in addition to the technical skills that they've got,” said Safstrom.

Hospitality and manufacturing are two industries the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation's executive director says have been doing a good job with this hiring. They've set up apprentice programs which have helped.