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Human Resources
Apr 10, 2023

Unlocking Untapped Talent

Sponsored Content provided by Khalilah Olokunola - Founder | Impact Architect, ReEngineering HR


The Great Sansdemic
- A shortage of labor has left businesses across the country struggling to stay afloat while others are laying off in large numbers. I wonder how many businesses in ILM are facing the same challenge of laying off or a labor shortage?

This shortage of labor has been caused by many factors including the baby boomer generation retiring at a rate of 10,000 people per day, with the next generation simply not being big enough to fill the gaps.

This April, Fair Chance Hiring Month is the perfect opportunity for employers here to start tackling the crisis head-on. By focusing on creating internal fair chance hiring programs, employers will not only find great talent, but also invest in the futures of their communities. I’ve learned that there is a huge misconception of what it means to have a record. I’ve also learned that  you never know what kind of hidden gems you might uncover when you cast a bigger net for your hiring pool.

Speaking of Hidden Gems, I know a professor, a social worker, a painter & a VP of Diversity who recently rung the bell at the Stock Exchange who served time but were given opportunity and today they are making an impact in education, in extending emotional support services to families, in enamel expertise and in equity. Their stories are not unique, we have people that reside right here who have served time, came home and helped shift a culture in the organization they currently work at. When we think of diversity - inclusion we often classify it by color and culture. That definition is not fully accurate. It limits the perspective into the depths of change organizations can make internally. That change can make an external impact and provide a return of investment from stakeholders- Customers, Client and Company employees.

I am sure you're asking BUT Why Fair Chance Hiring?
We all know that most people with criminal records have a hard time finding work. With the current state of the labor market, justice-impacted individuals could be the saving grace for employers struggling to fill open roles. Organizations like JP Morgan, Verizon, GAP, Walmart, Dave’s Killer Bread & Slack are just a small handful of companies that are tapping into this largely untapped pool of talent. And why shouldn't they? Justice-impacted individuals come equipped with unique skill sets such as problem solving abilities and creative thinking that can bring a fresh perspective to your workplace culture. Plus, by investing in these individuals' futures, companies can improve their public image, impact their DEI & B initiatives and show customers that they're serious about doing their part in making a positive difference within their community.

At a recent event Hans Vestberg the CEO of Verizon said there are some jobs you need a degree for but most jobs you don't. We also have to recruit for competence and character. This statement resonated so much with me because our processes focus on understanding the human factors and behaviors associated with teams to find solutions and strategies or to develop specialty training.  The data that drives the decisions of the design are directly connected to character and competence.

Fair chance hiring month or as some prefer Second chance hiring month, which is this month is the perfect opportunity for you to get ahead of the curve and spark the conversation about casting your net. To make sure you’re making the most out of this opportunity though, employers can take some extra steps: 

  • First off, Dig in to learn what Fair Chance hiring is. 

  • Second, Dive in and review the policies in place and see what steps you need to make to explicitly align your HR policy and practice to these initiatives.

  • Thirdly, Find a recruiting partner who specializes in connecting companies with Justice Impacted talent like Kelly Services or Honest Jobs.

  • Fourthly, focus on building relationships with local organizations that specialize in providing resources to justice-impacted individuals who are seeking employment opportunities. These are called wrap around services.

  • Lastly if you’re serious about rolling out a fair chance hiring  program & ready to make the investment with your time and monetary resources, we can show you how.


​The business case for fair chance or as termed by others, second chance employment in your organization are attractive. Some of the benefits in developing an internal Fair Chance program is: 

  • Hard working team members 

  • Long term employee loyalty - Justice impacted team members have the lowest attrition rates across the categories of people in the workforce 

  • Large diversified talent pool 

  • And according to NC Second Chance Work Opportunity Tax Credits: Available to private employers who hire targeted groups of traditionally underemployed workers, including people with records. Businesses can receive a one-time tax credit of $2,400-$9,600 for hiring a qualified job applicant; the amount varies, depending on the hire. While some states offer state-level tax credits, North Carolina does not. https://www.nccommerce.com/workforce/businesses/work-opportunity-tax-credit


​Unlocking the potential of millions of Americans with a criminal record is not only a matter of social justice or social good, but also a savvy business move. The numbers speak for themselves - over 70 million individuals in the U.S. have a criminal record, representing a quarter of the population, 600,000 are released annually. Imagine the positive impact we could have by successfully reintegrating these individuals into the workforce. If we broaden our horizons and embrace a new talent pool we can keep our society and economy moving forward but it's up to us as a community to make the decision to harness this untapped talent for the greater good.

Schedule a roundtable with our team if you want to start this conversation. https://calendly.com/rehrconnect/30min 

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