Posted June 26, 2019

#SHRM19: Giving a second chance to people with criminal records

One in three Americans has a criminal record — the same percentage as Americans who have college degrees. 

Brene Brown returned to that phrase multiple times during her Monday keynote at SHRM’s annual conference and exposition, and while she started by using it in the context of military special forces and NFL players, the maxim applies to all of us, even in mundane circumstances.

Think hiring. It's a common, routine activity, but one with significant effects. To make great hires (and some mistakes), you have to be vulnerable, knowing that for all the data and research you do, every hire is a chance taken. And every hire is filtered through unintentional bias and specific circumstances.

For all the predictive analytics coming to market, there’s still a looseness to most hiring, a human element that can be short on information, distracted or sabotaged by bias (even as the algorithms can also be biased). Some of this filtering is unavoidable -- certain jobs have ironclad requirements or barriers, and many positions sensibly seek out particular skills and experiences in candidates.

But there are other biases that have, for whatever reason, been considered more acceptable. These biases are not even considered as such, but rather as just good business. The bias against hiring people with criminal records is one example.

One in three Americans has a criminal record. To put that into context, that’s roughly the same amount of Americans as have a four-year college degree. Each year, more than half a million people are released from prison, according to a SHRM handout.

Click here to learn more.