The world of work is in transition. Results from the recent State of the Workplace Study from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 84% of organizations reported labor shortage challenges in the past year. (Society of Human Resource Management, 2022) Whether you label the current workforce phenomenon as “The Great Resignation,” “The Great Reimagination,” or “The Great Reset,” many organizations across the country are struggling to attract and retain talent.
While immigration reform has been touted as a possible solution to the labor shortage, increased attention is being placed on the justice-involved population, and for good reason. With 30 million justice-involved individuals in the United States, employers are taking a fresh look at fair chance hiring. Not only are retention rates higher and turnover lower for employees with a criminal record (American Civil Liberties Union, 2017), but a study by SHRM and the Charles Koch Institute found that 67% of HR Professionals and 82% of Managers stated the quality of the workers with criminal records is as high or higher than those without records. (Society for Human Resource Management Foundation, 2021)
If you’re wondering how to engage in fair chance hiring, a great first step is to partner with a re-entry organization, like Concordance. Within Concordance is the Concordance Employment Agency, an alternative staffing agency with the dual mission of delivering staffing services while helping individuals overcome obstacles to employment. We have cultivated relationships with hiring partners across the St. Louis region such as BJC HealthCare, True Manufacturing, Morrison Healthcare, Lyons Blow Molding, and Triad Manufacturing, and more. Our hiring partners not only see the benefits of fair chance hiring practices but are also committed to achieving equity within their communities by creating a lasting impact on the lives of justice-involved individuals and their families.
Concordance Hiring Partner, Triad Manufacturing, currently utilizes eleven staffing firms to fill various roles within their organization. Lee Holmes, Human Resources Manager at Triad Manufacturing, noted, “We have found that Concordance staffers are reliable and show up on time ready to work, more so than any other staffing company we use.”
As a human resources professional or manager, you may have wondered why an employee is presenting a certain behavior or having a workplace issue, such as poor attendance and punctuality, a rapid change in mood or attitude, impulsiveness, loss of concentration or connection, feelings of being disrespected or devalued, or is having trouble with adapting to social norms. While these behaviors can be representative of those within the non-justice-involved population, for justice-involved individuals, these behaviors can often stem from unaddressed trauma, low education, and training.
At Concordance, we believe in healing first. The key to our participant’s success is our EAP-style, wrap-around support that is delivered by a participant’s individual support team, inclusive of a licensed therapist, case manager, peer support specialist, and career educator. Our support and programming, which participants continue to participate in throughout part-time and full-time employment under the Concordance Employment Agency, allows us to get the answers to why behavior or workplace issues arise. We work with participants and employer supervisors to address issues in real time and course correct. This level of engagement and support is an advantage in the marketplace – not only for our participants, but also for our hiring partners.
At Concordance, we partner with participants on their healing journey. This non-linear journey is different for each individual, and we are proud to be able to support them through their transition back to their families and community. We are fortunate to witness the transformations that take place each day. Throughout this process we are reminded, time and again, that our participants never needed a second chance. They needed their first.
American Civil Liberties Union. (2017). American Civil Liberties Union.
Christman, A., & Natividad Rodriguez, M. (2016, August 1). National Employment Law Project.
Friedman, M. (2015, November 17). Brennan Center for Justice.
Society for Human Resource Management Foundation. (2021). Getting Talent Back to Work.
Society of Human Resource Management. (2022). State of the Workplace Study.