Understanding Fair Chance Employment: A Strategic Approach to Talent Acquisition

Fair Chance Employment is a deliberate practice aimed at attracting, recruiting, and retaining justice-impacted talent. It is a powerful and practical approach to talent acquisition that can have a positive ripple effect on the community, because fair chance employment focuses on hiring the best candidate for a role, regardless of their background. Two ways to begin approaching implementation in your organization is through policy changes or a pilot program. Policy changes provide a philosophical approach to talent acquisition by making policies, structure and culture inclusive and equitable for all.  A pilot program is also an effective way of implementing fair chance employment. This involves creating an end-to-end approach to weave justice-impacted talent into your organization with an apprenticeship or mentorship program before they are hired full-time. This approach provides soft skills training and gives prospective employees a chance to acclimate and build on their previous education. 

Data shows that fair chance employment initiatives are highly effective, with 83% satisfaction reported from HR managers and employers with justice-impacted employees (The Responsible Business Initiative for Justice). As your organization implements or expands its fair chance efforts, consider the following key points:

  • Human-Centered Language: Develop human-centered language in job descriptions, postings, and your organization’s employee handbook. Use asset-based language rather than deficit-based language. This helps create an inclusive environment and attracts a diverse pool of candidates.
  • Diversify Recruiting: Assess your current recruiting pipelines, partnerships, and platforms. Expand them to include community-based organizations. This ensures that you are evaluating talent from a variety of non-traditional backgrounds.
  • Measuring Success: Evaluate the effectiveness of your fair chance employment efforts by establishing an inclusive and equitable system. Make sure to develop a baseline of information and data to show change and improvements. 
  • Socialize the Organization’s Commitment: Showcase your organization’s commitment to fair chance employment. Sharing talking points on social media opens up a discussion about how your organization actively recruits and retains the best talent for the job. Highlight how talent can come from non-traditional backgrounds and that your organization is committed to that inclusion. 

By adopting fair chance employment practices, organizations can not only tap into a diverse talent pool but also contribute to positive social change by providing second chances and promoting inclusivity in the workforce.