Dollars and Sense
Dollars and sense were center stage at our Employer Roundtable on July 18th. Middle Tennessee employers – spanning healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality, customer service, and construction – filled the room to hear the message of smart hiring. We hosted execs from two nationally known leaders: Johns Hopkins Medicine and Butterball Farms. After all, they are the experts that Bloomberg Radio interviews, that The Guardian writes about, that the US Department of Justice puts on stage in a beltway ballroom, and that the Pew Center profiles, when they’re looking for the greatest heft of evaluated experience in the realm of hiring people with criminal conviction histories.
Between Johns Hopkins and Butterball Farms, there are more than 50 years of experience in employing large numbers of motivated job applicants who have criminal records. And for most of those years, these two thriving organizations – one a mammoth healthcare system, and the other a mid-sized food production company – have been tracking and analyzing their results.
Here is the upshot of all that data and experience: it is a winning move to hire people who have conviction histories! Their employees who have conviction histories have actually done better – meaning they’ve stayed on the job longer and they’ve advanced farther – than their employees who don’t have conviction histories! 8-10% of Johns Hopkins Medical Center employees are individuals that have incarceration in their past. Butterball Farms reports greater retention numbers in every single department, from warehousing to IT, for those employees that have been incarcerated in the past, than those without.
This is pragmatism made profitable. And it’s also pro-community. These companies have workforce needs, and their applicants’ backgrounds are blemished by criminal justice involvement. Butterball Farms and Johns Hopkins broke from business norms many years ago, and started bringing people into their ranks who had made serious mistakes in their past. And the rest is history. Success upon success, by now numbering well into the thousands of employees who have, incrementally and collectively, spelled success for their employers. And those employers in turn are local leaders and national role models for smart hiring.
In the meantime, we at Project Return are thrilled to play a part in connecting hardworking, motivated Nashvillians with successful employers.