Teaming with a Social Enterprise – Innovative Partnership for Success

man in a call centerPearl Interactive, a for-profit social enterprise established in 2004, provides contact center services specialized in healthcare and beneficiary services supporting government agencies, prime contractors, and commercial clients. Pearl’s social mission is giving hiring priority to people with barriers to work, such as people living in economically challenged areas, people with disabilities, military spouses, and Veterans. With over 1,100 employees located in thirty-one states, Pearl is pleased to report that 61% of their workforce are people faced with significant barriers to employment.

Allen Proctor, Founder and CEO Emeritus at SocialVentures, a nonprofit that supports emerging social entrepreneurs states: “The very definition of social enterprise addresses using creative business models to tackle societal issues.” Proctor sees employment-based enterprises as “making in-roads on a perpetual problem that spans ages, races, genders and generations: Poverty.”

Owner and CEO of Pearl, Merry Korn believes that the combination of Pearl’s consistent delivery of quality service, being a diverse woman owned business, and leading with a compelling social mission are key to the tremendous success Pearl has had with securing Federal and State government and commercial contracts.

The following are among some of the compelling drivers for government contractors and commercial companies to team with a social enterprise like Pearl:

Competitive Advantage: If price is equal in a competitive bidding process, a compelling social mission could be the winning discriminator. “Pearl giving hiring priority to people with barriers to work has consistently supported our efforts to secure new business in a highly competitive marketplace,” shares Jean Murphy, Vice President of Business Development for Pearl.

Pricing Advantage:  While not always the case, there are times when a social enterprise can command higher than market rates. Allen Proctor, Founder and CEO Emeritus at SocialVentures, contends: “I have often advised the hundreds of social entrepreneurs that I have come across to consider pricing their services at rates that are slightly higher than the competition. My reasoning is that I believe businesses as well as consumers would be willing to pay more for a product or service knowing that paying more will have a positive impact on economic, social, or environmental disparities.”

Recruiting:  LaTonya Simmons, Director of Talent Acquisition at Pearl comments: “A critical part of our recruiting strategy is to understand why our candidates select Pearl as their contact center employer over the thousands of domestic and global contact center providers. frequently, I am told that people select Pearl as their employer of choice because Pearl’s social mission resonates with them. They want to contribute to an organization that is committed to providing service with excellence and is socially responsible.”

Employee Morale: University of Michigan Professor David Ulrich believes “An abundant organization enables its employees to be fulfilled by finding meaning and purpose from their work experience. This meaning enables employees to have personal hope for the future and creates value for customers and investors.”

Brenda Wingert, Vice President of Operations for Pearl comments: ”When we survey our employees, we find that the key factors in employee satisfaction are that we are a social enterprise, provide a culture of caring, and offer training and coaching for professional and personal growth. As a result, we consistently see higher employee satisfaction ratings and retention rates than our competitors.”

About Pearl Interactive Network

Pearl is a HUBZone certified, woman-owned small business focused on government and commercial healthcare and beneficiary services. Known for delivering high-touch, white-glove customer service experiences, Pearl concentrates on the delivery of interactions that require complex resolution while developing a personal emotional connection between the agent and caller. Pearl’s culture of caring is at the core of everything they do, and a driving force in transforming the lives of those they serve. Founded in 2004, Pearl takes great pride in their hiring preferences for people living in economically challenged areas, people with disabilities, military spouses, and Veterans. They operate across the nation, with employees in 31 states.

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