Thoughts, stories and events to share

HSS Hire

Sophie O'Sullivan, about 4 years ago

If you want to open up your recruitment to include those with convictions, where do you start? How do you put ambition into practice? Who do you consult within and outside your business?

This blog will feature HSS Hire, a leading supplier of tool and equipment hire in the UK and Ireland, and their journey towards more inclusive recruitment.

We spoke with Head of HR, Lisa Crawford, about her work providing employment opportunities to those with convictions in custody and the community.

After attending an industry event and discussing with the wider HR and management teams, Lisa decided to implement a programme to recruit ex-offenders into roles at HSS.

The team kicked this off by exploring which roles would be best suited, and how they could support these types of colleagues coming into the business.

HSS initially adopted a partnership approach, working with or gaining advice from organisations and other businesses who had the experience and connections to be able to help them implement this new process successfully, such as Recycling Lives, A Fairer Chance, DHL, Greggs, Timpson's and Dominic Headley/Mind the Gap. These companies were able to offer advice and support based on their own experiences.

HSS also connected with a number of charity partners who took them through-the-gate into various prison environments. This gave the team access to appropriate candidates who had the right skills and who were best suited to the ethos of the company.

Going into the prison environment, Lisa and her team were impressed by the wealth of talent inside. HSS prepared information packs to leave with careers advisors within prisons, educating and informing potential candidates on the company background and the types of roles available to them.

They also ensured effective communication to managers internally, so they understood what they were doing and why.

To apply, candidates are asked to present their CV along with a disclosure letter with information on their individual circumstances and background prior to the interview stage. The first candidates joined the business in operational roles such as stock controllers and fitters, however this has since expanded into sales and head office roles.

HSS have had a really positive experience with the candidates they have recruited so far, receiving great feedback from recruiting managers.

From a business perspective, our colleagues from the prison communities are motivated, hardworking and have shown real loyalty and commitment.

-Lisa Crawford, Head of Human Resources, HSS Hire

The first ROTL candidate was employed at their Manchester site. Since January, they have employed 16 people with convictions, including candidates on ROTL.

Working for HSS Hire and the opportunity they have afforded me has given me a sense of purpose as well as building my self-esteem. To be considered an equal amongst my peers has helped build my confidence and driven me to aspire to be better than the mistakes I've made in my past. HSS were kind and welcoming towards me and treated me with decency and patience, being part of the team here has helped my greatly and I would recommend HSS to any other persons willing to better themselves to ensure a more positive future.

-ROTL colleague, HSS Hire

Impressively, HSS offer permanent roles to all offenders who have completed a ROTL programme once they are released from prison.

For HSS Hire, Lisa says that the future is bright as they continue building relationships with prisons and support organisations. HSS aim to attract the right people to their business, and for candidates to see them as an inclusive employer. They are devoted to providing opportunities for the right people in order to enrich their business with a wealth of culture and experience.

For HSS, opening up recruitment to include those with a conviction is incredibly valuable for businesses across all sectors.

We recommend that you speak to employers that are doing it already because they have already worked through any concerns or worries you might be facing and will offer great advice. It's not just about the external and corporate social responsibility. The whole company will benefit from bringing in great talent. That is what is about: attracting and retaining great talent. We actively encourage other companies to do the same.

-Lisa Crawford, Head of Human Resources, HSS Hire