Harvard Business School published a working paper outlining a field experiment conducted in partnership with a nationwide staffing platform to test approaches that more directly address the reasons that employers may conduct criminal background checks. Researchers found that 39% of businesses in their sample are willing to work with individuals with a criminal record at baseline. This rises to over 50% when businesses are offered crime and safety insurance, a single performance review, or a limited background check covering just the past year.
The platform asked hiring managers at 1,000 businesses whether they would allow workers with a criminal record to accept their jobs given the availability and level of wage subsidies in conjunction with multiple approaches.
They measure the effects of labor market conditions and whether a job involves high-value inventory and/or customer interaction. In order to assess the downside risk of hiring candidates with past justice-involvement, they measure the availability of crime and safety insurance. They also evaluate the effects of providing performance ratings, job history screenings, and limited criminal record screenings in an employer’s hiring decision.
Based on the study, the platform now offers businesses the option of crime and safety insurance coverage. This had led to over 12,000 jobs being made available to candidates with past convictions through August 2021.
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