Impact Sourcing Makes an Impression

Global Impact Sourcing Makes an Impression at the Summit

IAOP Working with New Coalition to Build More Inclusive Global Supply Chains

IAOP and several of its leading members have joined with the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition (GISC) to help advance its goal of building more inclusive global supply chains by intentionally hiring and providing career development opportunities to people who otherwise have limited prospects for formal employment.

The Rockefeller Foundation in partnership with BSR created this new coalition in September 2016 to raise awareness of Impact Sourcing, to share best practices, test models and measure the coalition’s progress. Currently, the GISC has more than 30 members representing 850,000 global BPO workers.

Impact sourcing has been a focus in outsourcing for several years. But now with a global focus and more
collaborative efforts spearheaded by the GISC, the practice is gaining momentum and strong interest was seen at OWS17.


As defined by the GISC: Impact Sourcing is an inclusive employment practice through which companies in global
supply chains intentionally hire and provide career development opportunities to people who otherwise have limited prospects for formal employment, to deliver business and social outcomes.

Impact Sourcing has been shown to provide many business benefits, including access to new sources of
talent, higher levels of employee engagement, and lower attrition rates while offering employees their
first step onto a career ladder that leads to economic self-sufficiency through income growth, skills
development and professional advancement.

While in the past Impact Sourcing has been largely known for creating jobs in emerging markets or underserved communities, the Coalition’s definition has been expanded to reflect the full diversity of inclusive hiring practices across all industries and geographies. This includes the long-term unemployed, informally employed and first-term job seekers. It is as much about offering employment for job-seekers in the Rust Belt of the U.S., military veterans or Native Americans as it is for disadvantaged youth in Africa or refugees.

During a breakout session on “The Role of Impact Sourcing in Global Site Strategy” and an informational breakfast meeting hosted by IAOP CEO Debi Hamill, delegates learned more about opportunities for Impact Sourcing and new initiatives by the Coalition.


In the two sessions, Jon Browning, President, Global BPO Solutions and Sara Enright, Manager of the GISC at BSR, stressed that there needs to be – and is – a compelling business case for Impact Sourcing.


Enright also shared experiences about how Impact Sourcing is helping to empower woman as part of a
keynote panel presentation. (See related story).

As BSR stated in the announcement of the launch of the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition in 2016, “Impact sourcing is not philanthropy; it is a business practice that seeks to maximize societal and business outcomes.”

A recent survey by the Everest Group of 15 BPO companies to find out how they use Impact Sourcing showed positive results. The study found that the cost of impact sourcing is comparable or less than traditional hiring models and it provides the added benefits of significantly lower attrition rates, higher levels of employee motivation, and access to new untapped labor markets. The total cost of impact sourcing workers is often less than traditional workers because they stay on the job longer, and this reduces recruitment and training expenses.

Impact Sourcing workers are paid the same market rate wages as traditional workers. Everest found the total cost of employment to be 3 to 10 percent less annually. Much of this comes from reduced rates of attrition, which can be reduced as much as 40 percent, Browning said in sharing the findings during his breakout session.

Their longevity in the workplace also translates to higher levels of proficiency over time. One of the banks in the study found that Impact Sourcing workers committed fewer faults than traditional workers even in the first year, and had an average absentee rate of just 2 percent versus 4 percent for traditional workers.

Impact Sourcing also can be a powerful differentiator for outsourcing providers. “With so much emphasis put on corporate social responsibility today, Impact Sourcing can be a real competitive differentiator for BPO companies,” he said. “Procurement leaders are looking for ways to show how they are making a positive impact.”

Browning challenged outsourcing buyers and providers to set a starting goal of allocating 5 percent of employment to Impact Sourcing jobs, which would provide work to tens of thousands of people this year who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity.


The founding of the GISC is the result of a convening in 2015 of a group of companies who have been at the forefront of Impact Sourcing to discuss key opportunities and barriers to bringing Impact Sourcing to scale. The Rockefeller Foundation has been engaged with the private sector to contribute to employment for African youth through practicing Impact Sourcing for the past four years.

Enright shared with the group the Coalition’s aims of building company capacity to do Impact Sourcing, raising awareness and increasing uptake among global companies, and advocating and contributing to a stronger enabling environment. Its vision is “for all people in the world to have the opportunity to obtain productive employment and decent work.”

Among activities the Coalition is working on are establishing a global Impact Sourcing standard and assurance system to define, measure, evaluate and improve Impact Sourcing initiatives; and building an “Impact Sourcing toolkit” to help companies to get started.

Steve Sheahan, Sales Integration Executive at IBM, called the two Impact Sourcing events “the most engaging sessions” he participated in at the Summit.

Audience members at the GISC session shared their own positive experiences using Impact Sourcing. They talked about developing skills training programs, overcoming special considerations that hinder employment and raising awareness. One buyer shared how they broke down jobs into micro-tasks with less complexity so advanced education wasn’t needed, enabling their provider to employ workers in remote villages.

Chitra Rajeshwari, aCOP, Executive Director of the Avasant Foundation, spoke about the importance of mentorship to help employees with the difficult transition and to cope with the work environment so they succeed.

“Even though things change at work, they stay the same at home,” she said.

Enright concluded the lively discussion by saying that Impact Sourcing presents many opportunities to transform outsourcing.


IAOP, which has a long commitment to CSR, has partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation to launch a new award to recognize industry professionals who are leaders in Impact Sourcing. The Global Impact Sourcing Award will be presented annually at the Outsourcing World Summit, starting at OWS18 in Orlando. Leadership teams from customer or provider organizations from all sizes are eligible to self-nominate through an online application. IAOP membership is not required to apply. For more information, go to


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