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Hiring for growth

Taking a social enterprise to the next stage requires an expansion of the organisation’s human resources beyond the close-knit team of co-founders.

While founding a startup requires careful consideration of complementary skills and personalities among the partners, later-stage hiring for organisational growth presents its own set of challenges.

RippleWorks Global shares the following advice from its research into social enterprise hiring:

Act now – talent gets tougher over time: While fundraising and all other challenges get easier, finding and keeping the right talent is the only challenge that gets tougher. 45% of later-stage entrepreneurs find accessing talent to be very or extremely challenging, up from 25% of early-stage entrepreneurs.

To overcome this challenge, the social enterprises that RippleWorks surveyed utilised the following strategies:

  1. Make hiring decisions at the top: Recognising the vital importance of human resources, many social enterprise CEOs and other top leaders remain closely involved in the hiring process. These top leaders can effectively communicate the organisation’s vision to potential hires and ensure that they will fit into the company’s culture.
  2. Pitch your values to overcome budget constraints: Social enterprises are unlikely to be able to offer financial compensation at par with purely for-profit businesses. Hence, the recruitment process for social enterprises must highlight the non-monetary rewards of the position, including the value proposition of the organisation.
  3. Use outside partners to enhance training: Skill-building and promotions from within the organisation are one way that social enterprises can ensure a committed and knowledgeable workforce. Some social enterprises, especially in the developing world, partner with outside organisations with skill training expertise to make internal capacity-building a key area of strength.
  4. Turn temporary hires into long-term employees: Interns and fellows who join social enterprises for short-term stints are an attractive hiring option because they bring talent and enthusiasm at a lower cost. However, organisations benefit most from these hires when they retain them for longer periods. Look to hire interns and fellows for at least six months and, ideally, have a pipeline for bringing them on board on a permanent basis.

In the comments, please share the best piece of hiring advice you’ve received or would want to share with other learners. You can read the full report from RippleWorks Global in the resources below.

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This article is from the free online course:

Social Enterprise: Growing a Sustainable Business

Middlesex University Business School