NGOs fast emerging as great employers

Non-government organizations (NGOs) are the backbone of civil society in India. Increasingly, they are also the choice of people looking for a career in the public sphere. To that end, it is important to rate NGOs in terms of how each one is as a place to work in.

Great Place to Work Institute, the global management consulting and research firm, has identified the 10 best non-government organizations (NGOs) in India that offer the best environment to work in from among 26 participating organizations. 

The average employee strength of these NGOs was around 466, with women employees comprising 53% of the total workforce, which is significantly higher than the combined average of organizations from all other industries (20%). Besides the listing of the top 10 NGOs, some of the other findings are illuminating.

The findings show that the NGO sector has emerged as a competitive employer and offers meaningful and attractive opportunities for employees. 

Organizations in this sector, in fact, are quite ahead of the corporate sector in terms of providing a positive and engaging employee experience. No wonder then, employees working in the NGO sector report a higher positive intent to stay with their organization for a long time. According to the study, 85% of the employee-respondents from the NGO sector feel theirs is a great place to work, as compared to 78% in the non-NGO sector. 

These are validated by the feedback given by employees themselves. For instance, an employee of Delhi-based SOS Children’s Villages of India says: “There are so many unique things about this organization... transparent salary structure with no hidden cost. Training and development of all employees is well taken care of. There is so much to learn and excel (in).’’

Another employee at Room to Read India Trust says: “This organization has a friendly environment with positive attitude. It treats everyone with respect and has a practice of active listening. It is flexible and transparent. It gives feedback for development and receives (it), too.’’

Many of the NGOs are being run as rigorously as corporate organizations, incorporating practices such as compensation benchmarking, performance management and training-need analysis for all employees. Training programmes focusing on leadership development, behavioural training, managerial skill development and opportunities for vocational learning are offered to employees. Benefits like financial help in times of a family crisis, free medical facilities in affiliated hospitals and aid to school-going children of employees are also made available. For instance, Gujarat-based Society for Education Welfare And Action-Rural (SEWA Rural) promotes work-life balance through multiple initiatives that include time off for parents to support their wards appearing for board exams and special leave so that employees can attend camps for holistic living. 
Bengaluru-based NGO, Make A Difference (MAD), which works to ensure equitable outcomes for youth in orphanages and street shelters, holds daily huddles where all employees come together to share how each one is feeling on that particular morning. This helps everyone tune into the space and build empathy within the team. The huddle is followed by inspirational shares from the cities and appreciation for a team member who either would have exemplified MAD values or has supported a co-worker. Such practices ensure that all the employees are appreciated by one another and builds a spirit of collaboration.

Apart from the norms set by their global parent in case of multinational NGOs, this culture is also driven by the top leadership teams of these NGOs, some of whom have had the experience of working in the corporate sector before moving to an NGO.

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