The Body Shop Will Start Using “Open Hiring” Without Background Checks

Question Mark Job Applicants

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The Body Shop – a cosmetics, skin care, and perfume company – will start using an “open hiring” process and hire the first applicants who apply for retail jobs without any interviews, drug tests, or background checks if they answer affirmatively to three yes-or-no questions, according to a report from Fast Company.

Fast Company reported that The Body Shop would become the first large retailer to embrace the open hiring approach starting in the summer of 2020. “When there’s an opening, nearly anyone who applies and meets the most basic requirements will be able to get a job, on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Open hiring was used in a pilot program at The Body Shop’s distribution center in North Carolina at the end of 2019. “We’re not asking for your background check. We’re not asking for you to be drug screened,” Andrea Blieden, general manager of The Body Shop for the U.S., told Fast Company.

“And there’s only three questions to get a job,” Blieden continued. “It’s, ‘Are you authorized to work in the U.S.? Can you stand for up to eight hours? And can you lift over 50 pounds?’ If those three questions are answered, then we will give you a chance to come work in our distribution center.”

According to the report: “Monthly turnover in the distribution center dropped by 60%. In 2018, the Body Shop’s distribution center saw turnover rates of 38% in November and 43% in December. In 2019, after they began using open hiring, that decreased to 14% in November and 16% in December.”

As a result of the drop in turnover rates – and also “increases in productivity” – the practice of open hiring will be used by The Body Shop in “all of its retail stores this summer, where it employs around 800 people, and as many as 1,000 during the holidays,” Fast Company reported, adding that:

At the Body Shop, the money saved in recruiting, screening résumés, interviews, and background checks will be redirected into training, employee benefits, and programs to support new employees with challenges such as transportation issues that can make it difficult for employees to get to work on time.

Open hiring was pioneered by the Greyston Bakery in New York, and “the company sold 8 million pounds of brownies in 2019, making $22 million. This year, Greyston launched a nonprofit, the Center for Open Hiring, to help other businesses implement the same process,” Fast Company reported.

“While the well-meaning goals of the company are laudable, there are some foreseeable challenges and unintended consequences,” warned an article by Forbes about The Body Shop’s open hiring method, adding that “management should at least conduct some due diligence to ensure the safety of all employees.”

The Forbes article continued: “It is admirable to possess socially conscious values, but it could be detrimental to the company and open it up to serious legal liabilities and repercussions if it hires a person who does something harmful that a simple cursory background review could have avoided.”

Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), will be watching this new trend. “With no criminal record checks or past employment verifications, open hiring will be an interesting experiment to follow. It may work for certain jobs, not so much for others,” he said.

Speaking of trends, Rosen – author of “The Safe Hiring Manual” – will host a live complimentary webinar on the “Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2020” on Thursday, February 27, 2020, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM PST. To register, visit https://info.esrcheck.com/resources/webinar/2020-top-ten-background-check-trends.

In 2003, Rosen helped found the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), a nonprofit trade group representing the background screening industry formerly called the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). He received the PBSA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.

In 2019, the PBSA and HR.com released the results of their third annual survey on “How Human Resources Professionals View and Use Background Screening in Employment” and found that 96 percent of respondents conducted some type of background check on applicants, up by one percentage point from 2018.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is a leading global background check firm that is accredited by the PBSA, undergoes annual SOC 2® Type 2 audits, adheres to the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, and was named one of the top screening firms in 2019 by HRO Today Magazine’s Baker’s Dozen.

ESR offers an applicant support center that includes resources for ex-offenders with criminal records trying to find work. ESR also provides a “Ban the Box” resource page to help employers comply with laws restricting them from asking job applicants about their criminal history. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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