A Roadmap to Replicability: How to create, sustain, and scale an ethical recruitment agency

When Seefar launched its ethical recruitment pilot project in 2020, there was little guidance available on how to run a successful ethical recruitment agency. Our subsidiary, The Ethical Recruitment Agency (TERA) India, started with a desire to change the conditions for vulnerable migrant workers – but little knowledge of what the journey would look like.

TERA, in partnership with the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), developed the Roadmap to Replicability to support other aspiring ethical recruiters in their journey towards fair, transparent, worker-focused recruitment. 

We start by sharing our lessons for charting the way ahead: How should market research be done to achieve maximum success with a future ethical recruitment agency? What should aspiring ethical recruiters keep in mind when making decisions on a geographic base, operating models and networks to be successful? 

The roadmap then guides the reader through how to start the journey. What is important with regard to ethical principles? What funding mechanisms are available and suitable? What should future ethical recruitment agencies keep in mind when registering and applying for recruitment licenses?

One of the most critical detours to avoid is getting lost when trying to secure commercial clients. We share our learning and insights on how to harness existing demand, make the business case, what to focus on with regard to sales and finding an anchor client. 

Finally, the roadmap accompanies future ethical recruiters through the journey by sharing critical elements of the business process: Staffing, partner and employer vetting, job seeker engagement, pre-departure training and the recruitment agency’s worker welfare system.

Insights and lessons are drawn from TERA’s operations in India, from a synthesis of existing evidence to date, and from interviews conducted with stakeholders who work in and are knowledgeable about ethical recruitment. We hope that TERA’s successes and lessons enable others to move towards ethical recruitment too, so that it may become more widely available.

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