There are approximately 171.1 million unemployed people in the world. How do we introduce more of this potential global workforce into the economy at large? How do we shape, design, even create markets around the targeted goal of elevating the world’s most disadvantaged?
We source with impact.
The Rockefeller Foundation first coined the term “impact sourcing” in 2011 for initiatives employing training and developing persons, specifically in underprivileged communities of the world. This has not always been the mindset of the outsourcing community, to say the least.
Technology writer Daniel Lyons once said, "To be sure, robotics are not the only job killers out there, with outsourcing stealing far more gigs than automation.” Reductive mindsets like this have plagued the business process outsourcing industry for decades.
That is changing. The world’s best outsourcing companies are not just trying to do well, they are trying to do good. The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) lays out examples:
- Creating jobs in underserved communities or emerging markets where high unemployment exists
- Intentionally hiring workers who have fewer prospects for sustainable jobs and providing them training
- Hiring people with disabilities
- Hiring women where there is a disproportionately high female unemployment rate
- Creating a positive impact on local communities by creating employment opportunities
- Earn-while-you-learn training programs
- Creating job opportunities for refugees or rescued victims
Impact sourcing aligns with several of the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals, including no poverty, access to education, gender equality, decent work, and economic growth. Digital Divide Data is credited as a pioneer, starting impact sourcing back in 2001 with operations in Laos, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka. Their impact cannot be overstated:
Often, these ISSPs struggle to invest in business development efforts. Furthermore, they haven’t realized fluidity integrating or sub-contracting with larger BPO players. That needs to change.
Attrition rates with impact sourcing can be 15-40% lower than traditional sourcing channels. Furthermore, the average impact per employed is three to four people for these communities as families often live in close proximity.
When employment can have a triple or quadruple multiplier effect, that is business that must continue to be prioritized. Impact sourcing opens up potentially cheaper labor markets and pools of talent to access. The fact is that impact sourcing isn’t just good initiative. It is good business.