Ex-Offenders Employment: How Employers Can Manage Staff Concerns

Written by Richard O'Connor
Last updated June 19, 2024

Are you an employer considering hiring ex-offenders? While there are a range of benefits associated with ex-offenders employment, it’s also important to take your current employees’ concerns into account. 

Ex-offenders face significant challenges when attempting to reintegrate into society. A crucial piece in this puzzle is finding meaningful employment, allowing ex-offenders to rebuild their lives and stay out of prison.

The good news is that thanks to a recent push in government measures to reduce reoffending, there has been a 116% rise in ex-offenders finding employment within 6 months. 

In today’s blog, we’ll be looking at how employers can manage staff concerns regarding ex-offenders employment. We’ll share some of the most common problems and provide ways for you to deal with them effectively. 

In just 6:30 minutes, you’ll be fully prepared to integrate ex-offenders into your workplace and maintain a productive and satisfied workforce across the board.

Understanding the Benefits of Hiring Ex-Offenders

Before we delve into the ways employers can manage staff concerns, we’d like to highlight some of the key benefits of hiring ex-offenders.

1. Address the skills shortage

Hiring ex-offenders can address skills shortages, enhance diversity, and improve retention. The UK has over 11 million people with criminal records, many possessing valuable skills and qualifications. 

2. High-performing employees

86% of employers of ex-offenders state that they’re good at their job. Ex-offenders often demonstrate high motivation and loyalty, positively influencing workplace morale. Employing them boosts a company’s reputation for social responsibility and can lead to new business opportunities. 

3. Reduced recruitment costs

Additionally, recruitment costs are reduced as employers gain access to a ready pool of candidates through prison programmes. Embracing this untapped talent can benefit both businesses and society.

Ex-offenders employment not only addresses skills shortages but also helps to cultivate a more inclusive, motivated, and cost-effective workforce.

Further reading: Benefits of Employing Ex-Offenders 👉

Managing Staff Concerns about Employing Ex-Offenders

Having highlighted the significant benefits of incorporating ex-offenders into your workforce, let’s now address some common concerns that current staff may have and how you can best manage them.

Common staff concerns

Despite these benefits, existing staff may have several concerns about working with ex-offenders. 

Put yourself in your employees’ shoes. If your employer were about to take on an ex-offender, you’d probably be concerned about safety, trust, and how it will affect your ability to do your job well. 

You may also be worried about the potential for criminal behaviour to reoccur, the reliability of your new colleagues, or the impact on the company’s image. 

Therefore, as an employer, it’s your job to address these concerns openly and constructively to maintain a harmonious workplace.

How can you do that?

Effective communication and education

First, open and transparent communication is key to addressing staff concerns. 

Our advice is to begin by openly discussing the company’s decision to hire ex-offenders. Explain the benefits involved and the measures you’ve put in place to ensure a safe and productive work environment. 

Educational initiatives, such as workshops and training sessions, can help demystify the concept of hiring ex-offenders and highlight the positive impacts. 

It can also be a good idea to share success stories and statistics can also be an effective way to shift perceptions and build acceptance.

Success stories: Learn about the companies that hire ex-offenders UK and the success they’ve had as a result 👉

Implementing support systems

To support both ex-offenders and existing staff, companies will need to implement comprehensive support systems. 

One particularly beneficial way of doing this is through mentoring programmes, pairing new hires with experienced employees who can provide guidance and support. This is also a great way to help all new hires integrate and feel part of the team.

Human Resources should play an active role in monitoring and addressing any issues that arise, ensuring that support is available when needed.

Establishing clear policies and procedures

Having clear, well-defined policies and procedures in place is crucial for alleviating staff concerns. 

Your policies should outline the company’s vetting process for hiring ex-offenders, ensuring that all candidates are thoroughly evaluated before being offered a position. 

Additionally, companies should establish clear behavioural expectations and consequences for misconduct. This transparency can reassure staff that their safety and the company’s integrity are priorities above reduced recruitment costs, for example.

Bonus content: Employers Guide to EDI Policy 2024 👉

Promoting a positive and inclusive work culture

When it comes to integrating ex-offenders into the workforce, there needs to be a positive and inclusive work culture in place. Studies show that employee satisfaction can increase by up to 50% when working with people they are friendly with.

Leadership is a key player here. Employers and managers must create an environment where diversity is celebrated, and all employees feel valued and respected. You can do this through regular team-building activities and diversity training, which can help build a cohesive team spirit. 

Be sure to offer equal opportunities and celebrate the achievements of all staff, including ex-offender employees. This promotes a positive narrative and encourages acceptance.

You may be interested in: Handling a Toxic Corporate Culture: An Employer’s Guide 👉

Addressing incidents and concerns proactively

No matter how much you prepare, there will always be incidents and concerns that arise over time. 

It’s your responsibility to be proactive and prompt in addressing any concerns and dealing with incidents that occur.

This begins with establishing a clear process for reporting and resolving issues. When concerns are raised, they should be handled with sensitivity and confidentiality, ensuring that all parties involved feel heard and respected. 

But it’s important to be consistent. All staff must be treated equally, regardless of their background. This will help prevent conflicts and build trust among staff.

Gathering feedback and continual improvement

Finally, how will you know if this is all working? Well, you won’t unless you keep tabs on the entire process by gathering regular feedback and studying the data.

You need to be constantly looking for ways to improve this new initiative, so make sure you encourage your employees to keep an open dialogue. Invite them to share their thoughts and experiences regarding the integration of ex-offenders. 

This feedback can be gathered through surveys, meetings, or anonymous suggestion boxes. Consequently, when your employees see you using this information to adapt policies and practices, it will demonstrate your commitment to continuous improvement and employee well-being.

Bonus reading: Fair Chance Hiring: How to Give Job Applicants with a Criminal Record a Fair Chance 👉

Key Takeaways: Ex-offenders Employment and Managing Staff Concerns

Hiring ex-offenders can be incredibly rewarding and beneficial for businesses, boosting your team while doing some real social good. It’s important to address any concerns your staff might have in a thoughtful and proactive way. Following the tips outlined in this blog will help your company thrive and support the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-offenders in the UK.

Are you an employer of ex-offenders or considering hiring a formerly incarcerated worker? Our experts at Refreshing a Career can give you advice on ex-offenders employment. 

Here are just some of the services we offer:

Give us a call on 03458724501 or drop us an email at info@refreshingacareer.com to learn more about our bespoke packages. 

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Last Updated: Monday June 10 2024
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