In late January, 300 members of Checkr’s revenue organization gathered at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco for the 2023 revenue kickoff.
In many ways, it was a standard annual event. Revenue leaders outlined their vision and strategy for the upcoming year. Sessions helped employees align on the product roadmap and discover new ways to level up their outbound sales efforts.
But amid the various planning conversations and panel discussions, one unusual activity set this gathering apart: a reentry simulation.
Team members enacted a fictional scenario in which they had recently been released from prison and were transitioning back into the community. They witnessed the barriers formerly incarcerated individuals face adjusting to a “normal” life. The simulation concluded with people impacted by the justice system, including Checkr employees, sharing their stories.
It was a memorable experience for Bryan Sise, vice president of product and customer marketing.
“We saw first-hand all the challenges and complications that a person with a criminal record can face, including the hesitation they face from employers even when they’re well-qualified for the job,” Sise said. “It was a moving experience for me, like nothing I’ve ever seen at a company’s annual kickoff.”
The simulation opened the door for team members to be vulnerable, build trust with one another and connect with Checkr’s mission to make the background check process fairer for all.
FULFILLING ITS PROMISE
Checkr committed to the Pledge 1% corporate philanthropy movement. The company donates 1 percent of its employees time, its product, equity and profits to furthering fair chance hiring, which is the practice of hiring people with criminal records. As Checkr services more customers and expands its teams, it directly contributes more money, awareness and time to this mission.
Scaling responsibly with the mission in mind
Checkr recently tripled in size, and hundreds of new and tenured employees connected personally with one another at the kickoff.
“Throughout the week, many employees came up to us to express gratitude that they were part of a revenue organization that mirrored diversity they had not witnessed in past experiences,” Carrie Bosworth, senior vice president of direct sales, said.
Checkr’s diverse revenue team reflects the future it envisions for all companies: one where outdated hiring practices that serve as obstacles for marginalized communities no longer exist. To ensure Checkr is at the forefront of that fairer future, the company is focused on scaling responsibly in the present.
“There is so much more opportunity to continue to serve the justice-impacted and create a fairer future.”
Doing so starts with the customer. Revenue team members spend time listening to their customers’ challenges and growth goals. And to help revenue remain a customer-centric organization, leaders have made concerted efforts to keep department ratios whole. Account management, revenue operations, marketing and solutions engineering grow as sales does, which benefits both employees and customers.
Hiring the right talent is key to sustainable growth, too. Leaders look for people with the experience and resume that matches where the company is headed, not where it’s been.
“We have had to shift to a mix of both inbound and outbound motions,” Bosworth said. “This shift changed the profile of the talent we are looking for across the revenue organization.”
At the same time as it’s bringing new talent on board, Checkr is also bringing thousands of smaller businesses onto its platform.
“Those businesses often prefer to research, purchase and onboard new software in self-driven ways,” Sise said. “It’s an exciting challenge to build the tools and experiences they need.”
Strides in improving product-led acquisition funnels and Checkr’s self-service product experience, where customers can add different screenings to a background check order on the Checkr Dashboard, eases the workload for revenue. Collaboration between the research and development organization and go-to-market team has led to in-app messages that recommend additional Checkr products to customers as they use the application.
With more customers — and effort-saving product developments — come more chances for the revenue org to spread awareness of Checkr’s mission. Team members use every call, starting at the prospect stage, to emphasize the importance of fair chance hiring.
“There is so much more opportunity to continue to serve the justice-impacted and create a fairer future,” Bosworth said. “We are doing this together, and it’s exciting to think about what’s ahead.”
Fair Chance Hiring from Top to Bottom
To stay true to Checkr’s mission, furthering fair chance hiring is embedded in its operations, products and the way the company partners with customers, candidates and the community.
- Operations: Checkr regularly hires fair chance candidates and educates employees about fair chance.
- Products: Checkr recently launched the Fair Chance Dashboard, which helps customers understand how they measure up to EEOC guidelines on fair chance hiring. The assessment product uses advanced analytics and forecasting to help companies avoid ruling out qualified candidates.
- Customers: Checkr actively partners with companies like Good Eggs on their fair chance hiring initiatives. Checkr shares advice and learning resources on how its partners can expand their recruiting strategies while remaining compliant with laws and regulations.
- Candidates: The candidate experience team helps candidates through the background check process and coaches fair chance candidates on how to use Checkr to proactively tell their story.
- Community: Checkr.org, which is supported by Checkr's 1% pledge, works with businesses, public policy groups and government agencies to advocate for fair chance hiring as part of an overall diversity and inclusion strategy.
A vision for a fairer future
Lindsey Scrase got goosebumps when CEO Daniel Yanisse first spoke to her about Checkr’s mission to build a fairer future. It’s what ultimately led her to join the company as its chief revenue officer.
“Being able to participate in advancing fair chance awareness and impact was incredibly inspiring for me personally,” Scrase said.
She was also attracted to Checkr’s fast-paced environment and culture of humility, transparency and connection.
Since joining, she’s witnessed the team’s grit as they handled a massive volume of interested prospects and new customers, all while having fun. And when it comes to Checkr’s future, the sky's the limit for Scrase.
“We have huge aspirations in terms of the growth of our business, the value we can offer to our customers,” she said.
To achieve that impact — a fairer future for all — Checkr plans to work with companies and workers to design technology that creates opportunities.
“Being able to participate in advancing fair chance awareness and impact was incredibly inspiring for me personally.”
There are nearly two jobs per worker in the U.S., and the labor force participation rate among younger populations continues to shrink, according to Sise. But a major issue — and solution for this problem — lies in talent that is overlooked: formerly incarcerated individuals.
According to a December 2021 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 33 percent of more than 50,000 people released from federal prisons in 2010 could not find employment in the four years after their release. And a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that just 5 percent of managers and three percent of HR professionals actively recruit people with criminal records.
Sise and his product team plan to build infrastructure for the future of work. In practice, that looks like the People Trust Platform, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to modernize the background check process. Or, it could be payroll products that help companies and workers reduce transaction fees and administer and access payments instantly.
“We’re looking for smart people from diverse backgrounds to join us in pursuing these kinds of new ideas and helping us take more steps to a fairer future,” Sise said.