Research has found that 40% of employers believe hiring homeless people is illegal, which is completely false. Such misguidance makes it no surprise that many homeless people struggle to find long term-employment and often face discrimination in the process.
When faced with such dire odds, the homeless are often unable to break the vicious cycle they have become trapped in: unable to find a job without an address, unable to afford housing without a job.
Hiring the homeless can not only help these individuals improve their living conditions, it can also be beneficial for the employers themselves. Here are the benefits of employing homeless people, and why you should consider it.
Breaking the Stigma of Hiring Homeless Candidates
As a society, we need to overcome the stigmatisation around homelessness, particularly the belief that homeless people’s circumstances are entirely self-created. There is much more to homelessness than laziness or severe drug addiction.
When a reputable brand makes the effort to hire homeless people, it not only helps break the cycle of homelessness, it also raises awareness surrounding the issue, and helps lift some of the stigma that engulfs it.
Benefits of Employing the Homeless
Here are some of the benefits your brand can expect to experience when employing the homeless:
Giving Back to Your Local Community
Homelessness is often caused by a vicious poverty cycle that is best broken by stable employment. With so many communities beginning to understand the realities of impoverishment, demonstrating your commitment to making a difference will positively impact both how your clients and customers see you, and the quality of life in your local community.
Providing employment for the homeless will make your area a safer place to live, potentially raising the value of local property. You will also be building strong relationships with local shelters or community centres, getting to know the people that live and work in your neighbourhood.
Your efforts can also help bring more customers into the area, making a further positive impact not only on your bottom line, but on the business of other local brands.
Inspiring Loyalty and Dedication
Once a homeless person is able to escape the cycle of poverty, they are likely to do everything they can to hold on to their new job. This often makes homeless or ex-homeless workers significantly more loyal and dedicated than other staff members.
Their dedication can also help you cut down operational costs, as retraining is cheaper than rehiring, and engaged employees also happen to be more productive.
As research suggests that rehiring is one of the biggest expenditures for UK businesses, employing homeless people can further benefit your company.
Hiring the homeless will also help your business promote inclusivity, both within your own ranks, and within the local community. By hiring people in vulnerable situations, you will clearly be demonstrating your desire to help, and overcome the consequences of stigmatisation.
This will not only help you shift the mindset of your staff, it will likely make you a more desirable employer as well.
As the inclusivity battle is waged on all societal fronts, your efforts will also make an impact on your community as a whole.
Accessing Untapped Talent
Given the mass of prejudice surrounding hiring homeless people, there are likely thousands of individuals that could possess the skills your company needs currently being overlooked. By hiring the homeless, you could be tapping into a previously unexplored talent pool.
Taking this leap of faith could be what sets you apart from your competitors who are leaning into prejudice instead of relying on research.
Improving Your Brand Image
When your brand becomes a vocal advocate for inclusivity, its image will be significantly improved.
Your connections with governmental and non-governmental organisations will bring you more exposure, you may be featured in the local or national media, and this coverage will bring in new clients or customers.
Growing Your Business
Ultimately, employing homeless people can help you grow your business.
By tapping into a previously ignored talent pool, you will be filling in the operational gaps every business is faced with sooner or later. As these new employees are likely to be more dedicated and invested in your success, they will also be more productive, and perform their daily tasks better.
Your overall company morale will also experience a boost, as your staff becomes more inclusive and more open-hearted. Helping your fellow human beings always feels good: and this emotion will affect every aspect of your brand.
Finally, as you may also be able to access government funding schemes, or even raise private donations that will help you cover the costs of employing a homeless person, you can also enjoy the financial benefits of these subsidies.
Providing Extra Support
Despite all of these benefits, your homeless employee may still need some extra support. Everyone is different, so the best way to find out what they need is to simply ask.
Be prepared for the occasional hiccup, and understand that your new employee may need to overcome a fair amount of prejudice. They also may need longer to settle into their new role, and may need additional training.
You will not be able to foresee all of the support you’ll need to provide, so staying flexible and alert is your best policy.
If you are looking to employ a homeless person and help someone in need, you can post a job on our jobs board, or create a company profile that will clearly identify you as an inclusive and socially responsible employer.