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The Body Shop makes ‘open hiring’ — no background checks — permanent in stores, DCs

An employee helps a customer at The Body Shop

The Body Shop North America is expanding an unusual hiring model it piloted in early 2020.

The beauty retailer said its “Open Hiring” strategy is designed to promote a systemic, fair approach to attracting, recruiting, selecting and onboarding employees through the elimination of common barriers to employment. The process does away with traditional background checks, drug screenings and previous experience requirements. Instead, it uses a simple three-question interview process (including Can you stand for up to eight hours? And can you lift over 50 pounds?) with job candidates and hires on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Following two successful pilot programs for seasonal employees through which it hired 733 individuals, Body Shop said it is adopting open hiring  as a recruitment model for all permanent customer consultant and entry level positions in its retail stories and distribution centers.

"The Body Shop is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all of our employees and that starts with the hiring process," said Nicolas Debray, president of The Body Shop, the Americas. "We believe businesses are a force for good, and that means giving everyone the opportunity to work regardless of their background and previous experience. If you're interested in working in our retail stores or in our distribution center, we can find a role for you with a competitive wage. It's really that simple, and it works."

In a recent addition to the program, The Body Shop is doing targeted recruitment, which it described as an intentional move to fill open roles by partnering with nonprofit organizations to engage candidates with specific barriers to employment including homelessness, incarceration and lack of education. 

"We sought to connect with organizations that were focused on not only helping local people overcome barriers to employment, but also supporting them once they are hired," said Debray.  "Many of our community partners offer job readiness courses to help candidates prepare to successfully enter the workforce. Additionally, they will continue to offer the employee support once they are hired. This helps reduce barriers to the employee becoming successful in their new role."  

Starting this fall, The Body Shop will work with different organizations that focus on aiding marginalized communities, including those experiencing homelessness and poverty as well as recent immigrants and previously incarcerated individuals. Its U.S.-based partners include Chrysalis, City Relief, Project Renewal, and Wake LRC.  Canada-based partners include Elizabeth Fry Northern Alberta, Bridging The Gap, and Calgary Immigrant Women's Association. 

"One of the most glaring and overwhelming barriers that keep people who experience homelessness from improving their lives is access to a good paying job," said Josiah Haken, chief program officer of City Relief. "City Relief is so excited to partner with The Body Shop to connect people experiencing homelessness to employment opportunities that will allow them to pursue a brighter future for themselves and for their families."

When new retail employees start at The Body Shop, they will complete a questionnaire, referred to as the “Joyful Collective: form, which allows the HR team to get to know the employee during the onboarding process. The form also will help identify any needs the employee may have to be successful, including housing, transportation, and financial literacy to name a few, and then connect them to The Body Shop's employee assistance program for support. 

In addition, The Body Shop is rolling out a comprehensive training program for both management and entry-level employees that it developed in collaboration with G3 – a consulting service that creates workplace training programs to activate and elevate employees' soft skills and leadership capabilities. Courses will focus on the mission and purpose of open hiring, managing, and leading without bias, working, and thinking more inclusively, adapting, and managing change as well as building customer service communication skills through authentic communication. 

The Body Shop International 
Founded in 1976 in Brighton, England, by Dame Anita Roddick, The Body Shop is a global beauty brand and a certified B Corp. It operates about 3,000 retail locations in more than 70 countries. Along with Aesop, Avon and Natura, The Body Shop is part of Natura &Co, a global, multichannel and multi-brand cosmetics group that is committed to generating positive economic, social and environmental impact.  

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