Your commitment to social entrepreneurism impacts every decision you make -- including hiring.
The first step toward using your business to give something back to the community is making sure you have the right people on your team. Here are a few tips to help you get started . . .
Social entrepreneurs walk a fine line between doing what's best for their company and doing what's best for their cause. In a perfect world, business objectives and social objectives would never conflict. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world, and from time to time you will be forced to compromise between the two.
More often than not, the need for compromise comes to a head in hiring decisions. For your company to have any hope of achieving both its business and social goals, there can't be any weak links in your staff. Every, single employee must excel at their jobs and share your passion to make the world a better place.
To avoid unpleasantness later, here are some of the qualities you should be looking for in a new hire – regardless of their job title.
When everything is said and done, a socially-conscious company is still a company. Since your capacity to enact social change is largely limited by your ability to achieve business success, you have to rank business acumen as your most important hiring priority. In fact, business skills are so important that most nonprofits won't hire upper-level execs unless they possess a set of skills typically associated with their for-profit counterparts.
You can teach an employee how to use your company's e-mail system. What you can't teach them is how to be as socially-concerned as you are. It's not uncommon for prospective employees to be taken aback by the idea of social entrepreneurism. Let's face it: Social entrepreneurs are a unique breed of individuals and there is a good chance that your company is the candidate's first exposure to an organization that combines business with social involvement. But unless the candidate reacts positively to the idea and can demonstrate some prior level of social concern, they may not be a good fit for your business model.
You would think that a candidate with superb business skills and passion for a specific social cause would be a hiring no-brainer. However, there could be a catch. If a candidate is highly committed to a cause that is different than the cause your company supports, their passion could create conflict and division. Instead of championing your cause within the business, the employee's pre-existing social commitment could lead them to insert their cause's interests into your efforts. Social passion is good, but just make sure the employee knows that if she comes onboard she will be expected to direct her efforts toward your social goals and objectives.
Although a team mentality is an important quality for employees in any business, it is especially important for employees in a social entrepreneurship. To be effective, everyone on your team needs to pull together in the same direction, and there is simply no room for lone rangers.