Social enterprises can be powerful entities for positive social and environmental change, when run effectively. Through harnessing business structures and strategies with the express purpose of serving a greater cause, as opposed to profit for the sake of profit, these organizations have the potential to be a true force for good in the world. Nevertheless, as with any sort of business, attracting not only high quality talent, but the right kind of talent, is a major challenge for social enterprises. Hiring candidates who are not only good at what they do, but are also fully committed to your cause, is paramount to your enterprise’s success.
If you’re currently looking to hire the right employees for your social enterprise, whether you need to fill senior positions or budding young potential, there are certain considerations that will help you on the way.
Read on to discover how.
Play to your unique strengths
While you may not always be able to offer the sort of financial incentives that some traditional business can, as a social enterprise you can offer incentives that they cannot. Crucially, your enterprise more than likely already has a strong social or environmental vision, goal, and set of values that will appeal to ethically conscious individuals. Focus heavily on this strength, because it offers two mutually benefit advantages in recruitment.
First, particularly for millennials (see part two of Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey for more details), the feeling of ‘making a difference’ in their career is becoming rapidly more important for employees. By making it crystal clear to candidates how they can achieve that by working with you, they’re much more likely to accept the position. Secondly, it helps to identify the candidates who will provide the necessary dedication to the cause, ultimately leading to a more motivated and longer-lasting workforce.
Clarity is key
It is paramount to be crystal clear about the nature of the role(s) you are recruiting for, and the specific values you are expecting your ideal candidate to bring to your social enterprise. This clarity of purpose will greatly assist in both building and realizing your long-term strategy. After all, the ‘right’ candidate is one who will enhance the performance of your organization in a quantifiable sense, not just one who shares your social attitudes and convictions. Therefore, be specific in your search criteria and make sure that is reflected in your outreach and general recruitment approach.
Once you have a clear vision for what you want from your new employee, it’s then a matter of ensuring your recruitment process can deliver on that vision. Talent sourcing tools are a great way to achieve this: for example, Hello Talent allows you to create talent pools for organizing candidates according to skill sets, experience, and many more factors. You can then filter through to find the most suitable candidates for specific positions far more easily.
Training and development
Offering comprehensive training and development options to your employees is, of course, vitally important for retaining employees. However, it should also be considered a part of any strategic recruitment plan for social enterprises. When considering how to hire the right talent, it can be tempting to think primarily in terms of candidates who can slot into your enterprise and make a difference immediately. While this valuable quality to look for, focusing too heavily on it during your search can mean you neglect candidates with huge potential and thirst for development, who you can help grow into leaders. In the long term, such candidates are more likely to be deeply invested in your cause and stick around for longer. If that wasn’t convincing enough, the realistic prospect of thorough training and promotion potential is extremely enticing for talented candidates.
The core idea behind these three tips is to make it count when you’re on the recruitment drive. For social enterprises it is all the more important to hire staff who are passionate about, and dedicated to your cause – being able to perform the role’s functions is not enough. With a well devised recruitment strategy, you can establish a firm foundation for the future of your social enterprise.