The Body Shop embraces an open hiring model

The initiative reduced monthly turnover among distribution center staff by 60 percent

Imagine if retail workforce challenges could be solved in three simple questions. The Body Shop is betting that it can be. The retailer will hire based on the responses to three questions: Are applicants authorized to work in the United States, can they stand for eight hours, and can they lift 50 pounds. Three yeses, and a job awaits.

The Body Shop is following the model of Greyston Bakery, which provides baked goods for companies like Ben & Jerry’s and Whole Foods. The company not only hires brownie bakers, but also provides life skills training to those in its apprenticeship program. It has been hiring this way since 1982 and now aims to help others learn from its — mostly positive — experiences. More than 1,000 have graduated from Greyston’s workforce programs over the past decade.

The bakery works with others who want to learn its Open Hiring model through its nonprofit, the Greyston Center for Open Hiring, which provides education and training, advisory service and research.

The Body Shop tested the program in its distribution center and found a 60 percent reduction in monthly turnover. It also was able to reduce the number of temporary employees. More broadly, studies have shown that those given a second chance often are more productive and loyal than the average employee.

The Body Shop says its new hiring process will have additional benefits, including savings in recruiting, interviews and background checks. It plans to redirect those into programs that will help its employees succeed.

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