Employment service providers often face scrutiny about their effectiveness and profit margins, including media criticism and government reviews. Unfortunately, the sector’s strengths are often overlooked and underappreciated. Through our extensive work, Prospert has witnessed firsthand the profound and enduring impact these providers have on the lives of job seekers and local communities. Their influence extends far beyond sustainable job placements, encompassing positive changes that contribute to inclusive growth, economic empowerment, and social cohesion.

However, to truly understand and enhance their impact, employment service providers can do more than share the occasional “good news story”. They need to commit to a journey of rigorous measurement and evaluation, beyond simple contract performance indicators. This blog explores the crucial significance of measuring social impact for employment service providers and provides practical tips on how to do it effectively.

The social impact of providers

In our work with the sector, we have identified five key outcomes that are consistently delivered by providers, showcasing their significant contribution to society:

  1. Employment opportunities: Employment service providers create pathways to sustainable employment, empowering individuals to secure jobs and achieve financial independence.
  2. Skills development: Through education and training, providers equip job seekers with valuable skills and knowledge, enhancing their employability and career prospects.
  3. Social inclusion: Through employer engagement, targeted programs, diversity initiatives, and culturally appropriate services, providers actively contribute to building more inclusive and diverse workplaces.
  4. Financial wellbeing: Access to employment opportunities leads to increased financial stability, which enables people to improve their quality of life, support their families, and break the cycle of poverty.
  5. Economic growth: Employment service providers are instrumental in driving local economic growth and prosperity by connecting job seekers with employers and addressing labour and skill shortages. 

Why measure social impact?

Measuring social impact allows employment service providers to demonstrate the effectiveness of their programs and interventions. By quantifying their impact and tracking progress over time, providers can showcase tangible results to stakeholders, including funders, staff, partners, policymakers, and the community. It also builds trust among stakeholders by fostering transparency and accountability. 

In addition, social impact measurement provides valuable insights that inform strategic decision-making and continuous improvement. By identifying what works and what doesn’t, providers can allocate resources more effectively, maximising program delivery and enhancing overall effectiveness. A continuous improvement mindset also best positions providers to adapt to changing needs, innovate solutions, and increase their impact over time.

Case Study

In Maryland, USA, the Executive Director of a local employment service provider had an epiphany when he realised that funders care more about social impacts than first thought.  Working with his stakeholders, Walter Simmons identified impact measures everyone was keen to see in his community of nearly 1 million residents.  Keeping it simple to maintain high morale within his group, they settled on the “significant few”  indicators that have the greatest social impact, including increasing sustained employment above the minimum wage, and reducing truancy, recidivism and homelessness. His “Community Impact” model is now highly sought after across the United States.

Tips for measuring social impact

Prospert’s expertise includes significant experience in social impact across the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. We’ve pulled together some quick tips to get you started:

  • Define desired outcomes: Begin by defining clear, measurable outcomes that align with your organisation’s mission and goals. Identify key metrics and indicators that reflect the desired social outcomes you aim to achieve.  Hint: These are not outcomes in a contractual sense; they are social impacts that outside observers can relate to.
  • Collect relevant data: Determine the data points needed to measure progress towards your objectives. This may include quantitative data such as closing employment gaps, finding jobs that pay above minimum wage, and recidivism metrics, as well as qualitative data such as participant testimonials and success stories.
  • Use a mix of methods: Employ a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to capture the full spectrum of impact. This may include surveys, interviews, focus groups, case studies, and data analysis to provide a comprehensive understanding of impact.
  • Regular monitoring and evaluation: Establish a system for ongoing monitoring and evaluation to track progress and assess the effectiveness of interventions. Set regular intervals for data collection and analysis, allowing for timely adjustments and continuous improvement as needed.
  • Engage stakeholders: Involve stakeholders in the measurement process to ensure buy-in and foster a sense of ownership. Seek input from participants, staff, funders, partners and community members to gain diverse perspectives and insights.
  • Communicate outcomes effectively: Finally, communicate your outcomes and insights in a clear, compelling manner that resonates with your target audience. Use storytelling, data visualisation, video or an annual social impact report to bring your impact to life and inspire action.

A final word

The social impact of employment service providers in Australia is profound and far-reaching, shaping a brighter, more equitable future for all Australians. As a sector, we must do better to understand, measure, and communicate this impact. 

Contact Prospert today to begin identifying the true potential of your social impact.