Ricoh – how Ban the Box helped to create an inclusive culture for people with convictions
Ricoh UK signed up to the Ban the Box campaign in 2014, and since then they have continued to be a strong business champion for people with ex-offenders. Since then they developed relationships with prisons, offered placements to prisoners on temporary release, and even set up a Digital Training Academy at HMP Onley so that prisoners can train for roles within the print and IT sector whilst serving their sentences.
James Knox, Community Investment Manager at Ricoh says that the key to creating an inclusive environment for ex-offenders is exposure. “There is a cultural change that needs to happen” he says “Far too often people are surprised when they learn that someone here has a conviction, because their previous perceptions of ex-offenders is entirely negative”.
These perceptions have changed as more employees – including senior leaders – have volunteered to support with the employability workshops which Ricoh continue to run. As well as being exposed to people with convictions whilst volunteering, Ricoh have helped to improve perceptions by actually employing ex-offenders. Whilst they do not ask about criminal convictions of job applicants, they are clear that employees with offending backgrounds are empowered to disclose their past to colleagues without judgement.
One employee with a conviction said “I was advised not to shout it from the rooftop, but at the same time they said I have the freedom to say so, if and when the time is right, and we will support you if there are any negative reactions. There is a positive energy here and that helps build your confidence”.