Intellecap launched the research publication “Understanding Human Resource Challenges in the Indian Social Enterprise Sector” at the Sankalp Forum 2012 in Mumbai on 13th April, 2012. Click here to read and download the report.
The study comprises an online survey followed by in-depth interviews. Intellecap’s online survey of social enterprises (socents) garnered over 100 responses from founders and leadership teams of organizations pursuing a dual bottom line in sectors as diverse as agriculture and livelihoods, water and sanitation, healthcare, education, and energy. These socents are in different stages of their life cycle. They operate in different parts of India, in markets that are both, urban and rural. Not surprisingly, Human Resources (HR) emerged as a top challenge.
HR challenges range from attracting and finding the right talent to retaining them. Subsequent in-depth interviews indicate that the unique concepts and business models that socents adopt add a further dimension to their already complex HR requirements. Employees must have a plethora of hard functional skill sets plus an intrapreneurial streak – the ability to work with little in terms of resources or information, the ability to thrive in ambiguity and the ability to wear multiple hats, often at the same time.
Socents realize they need to find this elusive mix against odds such as poor branding and visibility of the organization, limited ability to pay market-matching salaries and a fluid, and often chaotic work environment. Weigh this against benefits such as an unmatched learning experience, the opportunity to learn skills that are not taught at B-Schools and be associated with an organization that is delivering social impact, even as it strives for sustainability – and you have a small talent pool of takers.
Finding and retaining good talent and raising capital pose the greatest challenges for social enterprise. Raising Capital is a greater challenge for socents in the design and pilot stage. Recruitment is overwhelmingly recognized as the greatest HR challenge. 70% of socents reported it as their biggest HR challenge. 40% of respondents report that they have had to compromise on candidates’ qualifications or experience level in at least one in five hires.
Within the hierarchy, socents find it easier to recruit field staff at the junior levels, but they are harder to retain. Average tenures at this level are often significantly lower than 2 years. While the senior level positions are harder to fill, they are easier to retain say founders – this is because they have bought into the mission and have consciously left higher paying jobs in exchange for greater job satisfaction, new experiences and possibly a higher position in the hierarchy.
The report also highlights that HR challenges in the social enterprise space are multi-dimensional. Furthermore, as they are intertwined, these challenges are unlikely to be resolved in a piecemeal manner. The report is an effort to gain insight and perspective into these inter-linkages. Additionally, the report highlights the need for support to the sector in setting up HR systems that not only promote transparency, but also help to develop and grow the organization’s human resources. Good quality and context-rich training is yet another need, although this needs to be affordable and effective.
to read and download the report.
Notes For Editors:
Intellecap is a pioneer in providing innovative business solutions that help build and scale profitable and sustainable enterprises dedicated to social and environmental change. The Company is uniquely positioned at the intersection of social and commercial business to attract and nurture intellectual capital that combines the business training of the commercial world with the passion and commitment of the social world. Intellecap's clients include a broad range of enterprises, investors, development finance institutions, foundations, and private sector corporations.
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