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Tuesday, 20 August 2019 14:13

Getting Talent Back to Work

Written by Laurie McIntosh

Getting Talent Back To Work

Are you having difficulty filling open positions at your organization? With unemployment remaining low (March figures at show Kentucky 4.0%, Nationwide 3.8%) recruiters must be innovative and look outside of the traditional recruiting methods that they have used in the past. One potential, and largely untapped talent pool, is that of the formerly incarcerated. “Nearly 700,000 people are released from prison each year and are locked out of the job market” ( This untapped pool of candidates is an additional solution to filling the talent shortage facing U.S. companies and industries. Many times those who were formerly incarcerated face obstacles when searching for employment after released. Not everyone is a career offender and are looking for, and deserve, a second chance. Giving a deserving person a second chance is socially responsible, and a business imperative to address talent shortages and skills gaps. Consider the qualified candidate’s merit and much-needed skill, not the mistake for which they have paid their debt to society.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is leading the way in creating awareness through their initiative, Getting Talent Back to Work (GTBW). Individuals, organizations, SHRM chapters and state councils are encouraged to take the GTBW pledge to express support of the second-chance initiative. The GTBW pledge calls on business executives and association leaders to consider qualified individuals for job opportunities who have criminal records. “While a great deal of uncertainty about hiring workers with criminal records still exists among some senior executives today, a recent study commissioned by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) finds that employees generally are open to working side-by-side with the formerly incarcerated. Just 14 percent of HR professionals and 26 percent of managers are unwilling to work with or hire someone with a criminal conviction.” (

Toolkit Available: SHRM has made available a GTBW toolkit for organizations to leverage and confidently evaluate the hiring of applicants with criminal records. This includes research and information on compliance, background checks, interviewing & assessment, screening guidance, risk analysis, negligent hiring, incentives & support and culture & communications. This information will help guide you through the questions and concerns that may arise as you consider candidates from this talent pool.

“The employment of people with criminal records is an issue workplaces should be talking about. I encourage HR professionals to lead conversations about inclusive hiring at their organizations so other executives can make informed, sensible and beneficial hiring decisions.” ~ Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, president and chief executive officer, SHRM.

Consider taking the pledge. By taking the pledge, you are showing your support and no further action is needed. SHRM is working on additional resources that will be available in the near future. The Kentucky SHRM State Council has taken the pledge and we strongly encourage all Kentucky chapters to follow their lead. For additional information and to take the pledge, go to: https://www.

Thank you for your support on this important initiative. Share the toolkit with your colleagues. We would love to hear your success stories! Please email them to me at

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Laurie McIntosh: Drawing from 15+ years as an HR practitioner with industry experience in health care, consumer packaged goods and banking, Laurie relates to the needs of HR professionals because she’s lived it. Prior to joining SHRM she was an active volunteer leader at the chapter and state level in Nebraska including the chapter president of a super mega chapter and NE state council director. She now works at SHRM headquarters in Alexandria, VA and supports membership in a five-state territory. She received her Master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Capella University and holds both SHRM-SCP (SHRM Senior Certified Professional) and CAE (Certified Association Executive) designations. Connect with Laurie at: Twitter: @SHRMLaurie and LinkedIn: Laurie McIntosh, SHRM-SCP