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Workers with Criminal Records: A Survey by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute

image coverThe number of Americans with a criminal history is on the rise; nearly one-third of the adult working-age population has a record. A new nationwide study commissioned by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) finds that while these Americans do face additional scrutiny during the hiring process, many employees, managers, and human resources (HR) professionals are open to working with and hiring people with criminal histories.

At a time when unemployment nears a record low, many employers are finding that they need to consider new sources of workers. For many organizations, individuals with criminal records can be a good source of untapped talent. With this study, SHRM and CKI have begun investigating the attitudes and opinions of managers, non-managers, and HR professionals towards this policy.

The study suggests that every organization must decide if and how it will approach hiring workers with criminal records. In many cases, these important conversations have not yet taken place. Employers who choose to pursue this talent source need to understand how to manage both real and perceived risks of this hiring practice and must communicate their policies and practices to their employees. HR professionals have an opportunity to create a dialog among decision-makers within their organization that would begin to determine what policies are right for their company.