According to the June 2018 BLS report, the Nation’s unemployment rate is at 4%. Organizations and talent acquisition departments across the US are poaching, spending and doing everything possible to find the talent needed to meet business objectives. An opportunity that many organizations are debating is how to leverage non-traditional talent pools.
A Justice Insider or Insider for purposes of this article is a term used to describe an individual that has been involved in the justice system. This term helps to neutralize the negativity associated with labels like ex-convict or criminal.
In many cases, leaders look to Compliance and Legal departments to help navigate through this seemingly controversial opportunity. Many times, these asks are met with risk adverse responses like, “this is too risky” or, “what about the safety of our employees or the risk to the business?”. Both of these objections are real, however, there are ways to support our organizations, our communities and people in general by hiring Justice Insiders. These opportunities have so many winning touch points.
What if some of these prospects came with funding subsidies for training? As much as 50 and 90 percent in some cases. That ought to be a good lead into winning over an executive team or manager if the expense to the business can be limited. Workforce and economic centers across the nation often have funding to help individuals find jobs.
Research municipal, county and state websites for programs that might suit the organization, reach out and build relationships. This dialogue may not only help the business find talent that you can be trained without spending dollars, but also provides access to a non-traditional talent pool. Many times the candidates in these programs have completed certification programs, soft skill training and have been working on their resume and interview skills. One can assume as professionals that those willing to put in the work are normally the ones who will go above and beyond to keep a job.
Other sources where Insiders will be readily available include sober & halfway houses. A good way to go about accessing these programs and getting referrals that include identifying pretrial, probation and parole officers. These individuals have a responsibility to coordinate Insiders back into the community. Moreover, these officers will have specific insight into Insiders, including their skills, competencies and what opportunities they might be best suited to. From time to time, an agent may even vouch for the character and progress of the individual.
It is also important to complete due diligence on the officer or referral source. Are they trying to check a box and push through a workload, or do they seem genuinely concerned about the Insiders they are serving? Just as one would with any other recruiting push, find good partners, and build trusting relationships to harvest those Insiders best suited for the role. This partnership may be critical in helping to resolve a sticky situation should an Insider need coaching beyond the scope of regular leadership duties.
There is no need to develop a titanic sized program. An organization can start with one role, one relationship and one Justice Insider. Vet the candidate the same as any other, evaluate the skills needed for the role and whether the Insider can meet the requirements of the job with our without an accommodation.
There are 6 steps to hiring an Insider
- Select the candidate based on their ability to learn and perform the job.
- Pay for the service provided, i.e. the value of the role, and do not use a past record as a compensation penalty.
- Build a rapport starting with great onboarding with the new employee and give feedback using good leadership tools.
- Recognize and reward an Insider for their contributions to the business and for their achievements. Self-esteem and support goes a long way.
- Delight in the knowledge that the decision has helped a person, the economy and the business.
- Scale your program based on what works.
Those employers, who need an edge, can get a trifecta of wins by leveraging a program that works with people coming out of a judicial situation. Those given a second chance, tooled correctly and given responsibility, respect and support often find success. Besides, what exactly is the point of having a correctional system in this nation if those that have paid their debt cannot contribute? Find good judicial partners, build relationships, select with care and build up people and your business.
These are my opinions and not those of my employer.
This was a guest post by Rustin Tonn