Editorial:Sanjiva Jha, President – Operations - LabourNet - Enable livelihood of Informal Sector

Human Resource in social enterprises and ways of maximising their true potential.

Sanjiva JhaThe last one decade has seen a significant shift in terms of the complexity of work involved in the social sector, and there has been an enormous amount of emphasis on efficiency and cost optimisation to drive better value to the beneficiaries and stakeholders. The focus has been on creating an impact in all that a social organisation undertakes. The phenomenon of more and more consumers turning toward ethical brands, and more and more talent seeking to join a team that aims to make an impact has been on the increase. After all who doesn’t want a job that allows them to indulge their creativity and possibly be a part of the change?

The concept of integrating social aims with profit-making has been an emerging trend in the world today. Social Enterprise is at the very core of this new movement to incorporate social goals with profits, taking root in an increasing number of circles today, ranging from the field of international development, to impact investing, and even public policy.

People lie at the heart of the development engine, and the development focused organisation is therefore only as successful as the commitment and efforts of the core contributors – its people. Managing Human Resources effectively, therefore becomes an essential reason for real impact. Managing people is a tricky business in any organisation. It is common knowledge that social enterprises perennially struggle with various critical Human Resource issues such as getting employees at low rates of compensation, providing growth opportunities for employees within the organisation, retaining talent especially in the middle management, providing clearly defined roles and tasks to employees. This is leading to high attrition and increasing the cost of acquiring and training new employees.

The challenge of an enterprise while focusing on social objectives creates a complex environment for managing people in social enterprises. Traditional HRM (Human Resource Management) strategies may seem to offer little to those organisations staffed predominantly by volunteers, wishing to support a vulnerable workforce, or excluded from the mainstream. However, the need to establish clarity about staffing levels, patterns of work, culturally aware recruitment and selection processes, motivational performance and reward options, an energising work relationship and progressive development policies are common strands linking the HRM agenda to social enterprise.

In this edition, we have Gayathri talk about the critical issues of values, ethics and dilemmas that LabourNet as a social enterprise has faced. This is followed by expert views throwing light on addressing the challenges of attracting the right people to the organisation, retaining them and ensuring their professional and personal growth in the organisation. We will further look at addressing some of the pertinent questions about Human Resource in a social enterprise and ways of maximising their true potential.

I am very sure that this edition will give us an insight into the most critical resource of a Social Organisation – It’s Human Resource!

Warm Regards

Sanjiva Jha,

President – Operations

LabourNet Services India Pvt. Ltd.

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