Hiring people with convictions: Five key strategies to consider

The CIPD Trust is delighted to partner with Offploy and St Giles Trust to deliver a pilot project that supports people with convictions to succeed in work, using the expertise of the Trust’s experienced HR mentors. 

Offploy’s founder and managing director, Jacob Hill explains how this group can strengthen workforces and increase inclusivity. In his guest blog and video, he reveals five key strategies for businesses considering hiring from this untapped talent pool. 

Jacob’s blog 

Seven years ago, I emerged from a situation that often marks the end of a person's career ambitions. I was released from prison. In the face of this adversity, I found a purpose – to help those with convictions secure meaningful employment. From this purpose, Offploy was born.  

In the years that have passed, we've proudly supported hundreds of individuals to reintegrate into the world of work. They've started new journeys with employers just like you – forward-thinking, inclusive and ready to discover the diverse talent that resides in the most unexpected places. You can read all about our employer services here: www.offploy.org/employers.  

Hiring people with convictions may appear daunting at first. It's a path less travelled, riddled with questions and uncertainties. Yet, you are far from alone in this endeavour. Prestigious brands like Greggs, DHL and Timpson are already reaping the benefits of embracing this untapped, resilient talent pool.  

If you're ready to explore the possibilities, here are five key considerations to help you get started with hiring people with convictions:  

  1. Get the team on board and give it a go: The first step towards any organisational change is securing the buy-in from your team. Encourage open conversations about this initiative, address concerns, and foster a culture of acceptance and inclusion. A shared vision is the foundation of success. Once you have this, it's time to take the leap of faith and give it a go. 
  2. Check you're asking the right questions: Transparency is crucial, but it is equally important to respect the privacy of your potential employees. Tread carefully when asking about convictions. Avoid asking for too much information that could lead to bias or discrimination. The focus should be on the individual's skills, qualifications and potential, rather than their past.  
  3. Remain compliant with GDPR: Employers have a legal obligation to protect personal data, including information about convictions. Consequently, you need to establish a secure process for data destruction that complies with these regulations when those convictions become spent and the data is no longer relevant to your organisation.  
  4. Manage the risk, ask the right questions, and assess the role and the candidate separately: Like any hiring process, employing people with convictions requires risk management. Assess the nature of the conviction and the job role separately. A past mistake should not overshadow a person's potential to excel in a role that doesn't conflict with their history.  
  5. Get some advice: There are employers who've walked this path before you. Seek their advice, learn from their experiences, and gather insights that could inform your journey.
  6. You can also book a session with us at the Festival of Work via our Calendly link: https://calendly.com/d/ykt-fyq-hwp/hiring-people-with-convictions-festival-of-work. We are here to help you navigate this unique hiring landscape!

Using these strategies, you are well on your way to discovering a wealth of talent often overlooked by traditional hiring practices. By providing opportunities to people with convictions, we're fostering inclusivity, changing lives, and strengthening our businesses through diversity.

I hope to see you at the CIPD Trust's stand during the Festival of Work, ready to embrace this untapped talent pool.  

Book your advice session with me here

Together, we can revolutionise the world of work and build a society where everyone, regardless of their past, has a fair chance at employment.  
Jacob Hill, Managing Director at Offploy 

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