Will you be an advocate for inclusive hiring at your workplace?

Oct 24, 2022   |  By Emily Montgomery

Inclusive hiring helps maximize access to talent for employers while ensuring that past convictions do not prevent qualified people from joining the workforce.

It is easy to feel powerless with the constant stream of bad news in the world. However, a simple and meaningful way to make positive change in your community is at your fingertips: encouraging inclusive hiring in your workplace!

Dr. Geneieve Rimer, CEO’s director of inclusive hiring, field building, says that the first step to influencing change in hiring practices is challenging our own belief systems about jobseekers with past convictions. In the case of inclusive hiring, this may mean breaking from established perceptions, such as the idea that if hired, individuals with prior convictions will negatively impact the company or even cause harm.

Companies are increasingly recognizing this motivated and productive talent pool waiting on the sidelines, and here’s why:

  • 13% lower turnover rates for employees with past convictions1
  • $1,000 estimated annual cost savings per employee as a result of reduced turnover2
  • 85% of HR professionals indicate workers with a criminal history are equally or more effective than their peers3
  • 80% of Americans support inclusive hiring practices4

Now with a greater understanding of inclusive hiring, you too can promote it by telling others at work about your change in belief and the benefits. While thinking through how to discuss the benefits and need for inclusive hiring, Dr. Rimer developed a set of tenants she calls the “3 C’s.” They stand for commonality, connection, and community:

  • Commonality refers to the understanding that we are much more alike than different. For example, we often share hobbies, value systems, or other interests with people we otherwise feel separate from.

  • The second “c” stands for connection. Nearly one-third of adult Americans have had a prior conviction–roughly the same number of people with a college degree.

    “The chances are high that you have relationships with people that have convictions; you just might not know it,” Dr. Rimer says. They could be neighbors, members of your church, parents at your children’s school, or coworkers.

  • Community addresses the idea that we all share space and experiences with people with prior convictions, and therefore, we should be interested in their opportunities and well-being.

“We may sit next to each other on public transportation; we may grocery shop together. All we care about in those moments is that we're there for a common purpose,” Dr. Rimer says. “We're experiencing community together.”

Dr. Rimer has seen these conversations work firsthand. As someone with a prior conviction, she knew she faced judgment from some in her community. But something special happened while she was pursuing her doctorate in social work from the University of Southern California. The university published an article about her work establishing a group for formerly-incarcerated students. She shared the article with her family, and her father, who traditionally has strongly-held conservative political beliefs, shared it with his friends.

“I helped him change that narrative within himself,” Dr. Rimer says. “He was proud to talk about me to his friends, even when the article included a summary of my past.”

Dr. Rimer explained that with that step, he became a credible messenger. “People may not trust individuals with past convictions right away, but they may trust the person that shared good words about those folks,” Dr. Rimer added.

When talking with coworkers or supervisors about why to bring inclusive hiring practices to your workplace, you can emphasize the 3 C’s. These conversations have the potential to bring real positive change to your community.

Dr. Rimer points out, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The time is always right to do what’s right.”