Step 1: Workplace Readiness

Workplace readiness is the conscious and active process of helping an organization prepare for change.

By preparing your organization for change, you are proactively seeking the best steps to welcome and support your employees, including those with a criminal background.

Many employers had very positive results from giving opportunities to people with criminal records. For example, Johns Hopkins Medicine has hired hundreds of people with records, many for critical jobs involving patient care. When it conducted a multi-year audit of accidents and other major negative events involving employees, it found that not even one had been caused by an employee with a record. This is not unusual.

Free, High-Quality Resources

Understand the latest research, evidence-based best practices and industry guidance needed to reduce legal liability and increase inclusive hiring by downloading the Getting Talent Back to Work Toolkit.

Building a Business Case

A business case is the result of your strategic analysis of how individuals with a criminal background can be an asset to your organization.

Selling It In

Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation: Making the internal case to hire individuals with a criminal background.

Managing Organizational Communication

SHRM: Formal and informal communication from employees to upper management.

The Case for Hiring Ex-Offenders

America Working Forward: Q&A with David Rattray, Executive VP of Center for Education Excellence and Talent Development at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Back to Business

The ACLU “Back to Business” Project articulates the correlation between the reduction of barriers to employment and the positive implications on the health of a business and the American economy as a whole.

Risk Mitigation

All hiring decisions involve risk―even the strongest applicants sometimes fail to become strong employees. And not all convictions pose a significant risk for all jobs. The threshold question is whether the job in question presents an opportunity for the type of conduct involved in the conviction. Learn more in this specific section of the Getting Talent Back to Work Toolkit.

Risk Mitigation

Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation: Evaluating risk when hiring individuals with a criminal background.

Federal Bonding Program

Bonds 4 Jobs: Accessing the Federal Bonding Program.

Creating an Inclusive Culture

Research from Deloitte found that inclusive organizations are eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes, six times more likely to be innovative and agile, and two times more likely to meet or exceed financial targets (Source: Biz Journal).

Understanding and Developing Organizational Culture

SHRM: Evaluating and defining the factors that build an organization’s culture.

Company Culture

Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation: Building a culture to welcome and include individuals with a criminal background.


Employers that hire individuals with a criminal background may be eligible for select incentives. Learn more in this specific section of the Getting Talent Back to Work Toolkit.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

U.S. Department of Labor: Federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain targeted groups.

Workforce Development Programs

CareerOneStop by U.S. Department of Labor: State-specific resources to build a strong workforce.

Re-Entry Programs

Help For Felons: A list of re-entry programs by state.

Stages of Readiness

As you prepare your organization for change, recognize that each part of your organization should be evaluated, including:


Do your company’s vision, culture and goals align with an inclusive workforce, including individuals with a criminal background?

Services Defined

Is there a legal reason why someone with a criminal background cannot deliver your company’s services?

Service Process Map

As an employee, an individual with a criminal background will engage with internal and external vendors and customers.

Skills Group Management

Define the skills for each role. What skills are required for the job and what can be learned on the job?

Resource Planning

Change requires resources, and you must evaluate the resources required to create and sustain change.

People Management

Are your people managers open to hiring and prepared to manage individuals with a criminal background?

Team Effectiveness

You will need to evaluate the possible impact of change on the team and prepare the team to welcome new, diverse team members.

Individual Performance

How will you evaluate a new employee who has a criminal background? For your organization and employee to be successful, you must be ready to welcome, train and support your employee.