Would you trust an ex-convict in your team ?

Does the idea of recruiting ex-convicts make you balk? Personally, I think it’s inspiring! Progress on diversity in business is frustratingly slow, so it’s encouraging to see more leaders opening their minds to practices like Open Hiring, a burgeoning movement from New York.

At this point, skepticism in the face of (yet another) corporate diversity program is understandable, given the lack of progress after decades of investment. But not everyone’s failing at it. The popular messaging app Slack is making headway in the tech world — an industry famous for its lack of diversity – by hiring based on skills, not pedigree. Before Stanford or MIT, Slack recruiters look to Hackbright, an all-women’s coding camp, and Code2040, a nonprofit dedicated to training black and Latino programmers.

And then there’s open hiring, a practice pioneered at Greyston Bakery in New York. Anyone can sign up on Greyston’s hiring wait list, with job openings filled on a first come, first served basis — no questions asked about past experience, education, or even criminal history.

This past summer, Greyston opened the Center for Open Hiring to educate other companies about the benefits of the practice in terms of diversity, social impact, retention, and financial performance, and how to implement it. The good news: major players including Unilever have already signed up to learn more about hiring people for what they can do, not where they come from.

Learn more: “This company hired anyone who applied. Now it’s starting a movement” (FastCompany)