Jill Christensen
Jill ChristensenAuthor Blogger
Jill Christensen is a guest blogger for EmpowerPoints, an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth by re-engaging employees. Jill’s Website | LinkedIn Profile

According to a Justice Department survey, one-third of the U.S. working-age population has a criminal record. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Charles Koch Institute (CKI)  conducted a study showing that many employees, managers, and Human Resources (HR) professionals, are open to working with and hiring people with criminal histories.

Thanks in part to the opioid epidemic, relaxed marijuana laws, and depression brought on by the pandemic, many people are under the influence and fail drug tests.  However, employers must remain open about the potential of hiring a “low-risk” drug addict or a person with a criminal record.

According to SHRM and CKI, organizations must decide if and how they will approach hiring workers with criminal records.  In many cases, these important discussions have not yet taken place.  However, they certainly need to.  And soon.

Case in point – I ran errands last weekend and in a five-minute timeframe passed multiple Help Wanted signs stuck into the grass along the side of the road.  When I reached my destination at a strip mall, five of the eight businesses had Hiring Now signs in their windows, and this is occurring during a pandemic.

WHAT CAN I DO?  Times have changed, friends.  As a leader, hiring manager or HR professional, the time has come for you to start the conversation with decision-makers in your organization about how you will manage today’s new normal.  And if you are thinking, “This isn’t normal,” think again.  According to the study, two-thirds of HR professionals say their company has hired workers with criminal records.  What will you do?