This paper seeks to draw attention to Human Resource Management (HRM) policies and practices in the Micro Finance Institution (MFI). The researcher has selected a case study of an organization, Intermission Micro Enterprise Development (IMED) based in Chennai, India. This organization is an Implementation Partner (IP) of Opportunity International (OI) Network, which works with five independent units in the United States of America, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada supporting 40 implementing partners around the world through micro finance for poverty alleviation. During his internship with Opportunity International Canada for six months, the researcher discovered the critical issue of staff turnover/retention and developed the research question in consultation with OI Network staff.

The micro credit approach in poverty reduction strategies and practices have established an enviable credibility. However, after the poor people, the critical actors of this success story are Loan Officers who are the front line staff and take much of the burden but work in difficult work circumstances. This study examines the issues and dynamics related to job conditions of the Loan Officers and the reported high turnover in Loan Officers’ cadre in IMED, Implementing Partner of Opportunity International Network.

IMED has been facing the challenge of retaining Loan Officers (known internally as Field Assistants). To analyze the case, the researcher has used number of sources of information. He reviewed a number of IMED documents and consulted material on the micro credit industry with reference to staff turnover and staff motivation to retain on job. In addition, he pursued qualitative interviews and focus group discussions with Loan Officers, Field Officers and Managers in IMED. The findings suggest that a number of factors influence retention and turnover of Loan Officers. These include market competition, working conditions and environment, challenges inherent in the work, remuneration, and desire to fair treatment to seek equal status, security of the job, future career development prospects and intrinsic motives. The researcher has recommended that IMED must review its program and training areas, financial package, organizational structure and culture to achieve retention with Field Assistants or Loan Officers.


Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Human Resources Management