Magazine article Workforce

Hiring Social Outcasts

Magazine article Workforce

Hiring Social Outcasts

Article excerpt

Can companies do well by doing good? Jeremy Delozier thinks so, and he has the numbers to prove it.

Since 1998, Delozier, the HR director of Handy Home Products, has staffed many of his company's unskilled and skilled jobs with such hard-to-employ groups as nonviolent ex-convicts and participants in welfare-to-work programs. The company, based in Warren, Michigan, makes build-it-yourself wooden gazebos and storage buildings that are sold in such stores as Lowe's, Home Depot, Menard's, and other large retailers.

By hiring people that some companies might reject, Delozier has reduced turnover by 60 to 70 percent, lowered his company's temporary labor costs by $200,000 a year, and earned the firm an average annual Work Opportunity Tax Credit of $50,000. The company's workforce numbers around 200, including salaried and hourly employees.

"They're great workers," Delozier said of his hires. "We help them, they help us."

The strategy also helped Handy Home solve a staffing challenge. …

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