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Management professor Christopher O.L.H. Porter of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business says employers can help individuals with criminal histories successfully transition into the workplace. Here’s his advice:
• Set high expectations. People with criminal histories often want to make the most of the opportunity you’re giving them. In many cases, employment may be a condition of their parole.
• Ease into things. Remember that many of these applicants have little work experience and may not be familiar with formal appraisal processes and the like, so take the time to explain how everything works.
• Be flexible. Train managers to understand that individuals with criminal convictions don’t always control their time. Parole officers may make unannounced visits, or these employees may be required to go for unscheduled drug tests or court appointments.
• Feed their pride. Don’t underestimate the pride a person can feel by being identified as part of your organization.
• Compensate fairly. Many employers extend lowball offers and fewer benefits to people with criminal backgrounds, whose earning potential is 30 percent less than that of other workers. Compensate them as you would any other employee.
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