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Atlanta based Society for Human Resource Management  (SHRM) wants to scale up the conversation about diversity in the workplace, to include formerly incarcerated individuals.

Because the US of A is a diverse country. Employers and People, Culture and Organization Division should also change its framework to create a culture that is diverse, inclusive and respectful to attract and retain top employees. Wherein inclusivity is no longer limited to the usual marginalized groups, but to also include formerly incarcerated individuals.
Johnny C. Taylor Jr., CEO of SHRM,  wants the 72-year-old organization with membership worldwide, to be ‘the’ voice for the “future of work.”  
According to SHRM:

  • Almost ½ of American workers report age discrimination;
  • People with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed;
  • Nearly 700,000 (roughly a third) of the formerly incarcerated remain unemployed for over a year;
  • More than 50% of veterans have trouble finding work

If you are a practicing HR professional, whether in the US or the Philippines, you have noticed that employees today, specially those whose job is in demand,  do not plan to – nor have to – remain with a single employer. Thus, the need to recalibrate strategies is sourcing and retention of employees.

SHRM believes the key is diversity

Diversity today is no longer limited to discreet groups. Diversity should include a broad spectrum of workers with different religious and cultural practices, including the LGBTQ community

Diversity is inclusivity to all

This video explains the scope of SHRM’s inclusivity campaign

Diversity, SHRM believes, is not only about including the discreet marginalized part of our society, but also to include those who have criminal records.
One of SHRM’s top priorities is the ‘getting talent back to work‘ program. Wherein employers are encouraged to hire the formerly incarcerated. The SHRM CEO believe those who have criminal records should not be prevented from “earning an honest living” because of their past.
According to this survey:

  • 74 percent of American workers feel comfortable working for an employer if a few of their coworkers have non-violent criminal records
  • 78 percent of Americans are comfortable buying goods or services from a business where the customer-facing employee has a non-violent criminal record
  • 76% are comfortable doing business with a company that offers second chances by hiring the formerly incarcerated
  • More than 80% of managers say workers with criminal records bring as much or more value to the organization as workers without records
  • 74% of managers and HR professionals believe the cost of hiring workers with criminal records is the same as or lower than the cost of hiring workers without criminal records

SHRM also revealed that about 2,500 employers have signed a pledge to hire formerly incarcerated workers. This pledge, however, will become meaningful once the reintegration of this individuals back to the workplace is completed.

This SHRM initiative is ideal and worth praising. However, operationalizing this is another story, HR professionals in the Philippines and elsewhere, should watch how this initiative will unfold, and perhaps explore how a similar program can be applied locally if SHRM succeeds.


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