BPO has come a long way in the past 10 years. Today BPO covers complex and non-transactional processes from writing technical publications for airplanes, to performing high-end controllership tasks, to managing the entire Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) function seamlessly, thereby successfully overcoming challenges such as location, language, niche skill sets and other complexities. Every analyst you interact with is bullish about the growth of BPO in the years to come.
Clearly BPO is one of the most dynamic industries and it has evolved into a transformation-driver over the years. However it is still perceived as primarily requiring the execution of extremely tactical or transactional tasks: it is not seen as a career of choice the way other professions are like medicine or law. This is a real challenge when it comes to managing the ever-growing demand from our clients to attract, retain and groom the right talent.
Two recent articles I’ve read discuss the same issues: “Does ‘Generation BPO’ have a professional identity yet?” and “Unfocused and Unambitious Millennial”, both of which look at the new generation of talent within the BPO industry.
I completely agree that today’s BPO is about much more than simply processing invoices or collecting payments. Today’s BPO professionals look beyond their individual transactions and understand the end-to-end business processes to which they contribute. This is how they realize the transformative role of BPO.
Recently my teams ran an interesting employee initiative called ‘CLIK’ – Client Info Kiosk. It was launched with three core objectives
a) To improve client awareness
b) To enhance process knowledge
c) To improve the people connect.
The operations floor was transformed into a knowledge sharing hub, with the setting up of stalls dedicated to client business overview, the scope of services we offer and individual process metrics that tracks performance.
Our endeavor is to constantly encourage our associates to become true custodians of the client processes they work on. While onboarding programs typically focus on teaching associates process details, we went a step beyond. During CLIK, we started from the basics such as “definitions and ways to calculate turnaround time and accuracy” to deep-diving into the client’s business model, understanding their Supply Chain, industry trends and best practices, best-in-class business KPI’s, end-to-end process maps, and most importantly, – driving behavior of “Right At First Time” and “Speed To Value” (a combination of Turn Around Time and accuracy).
We did this by building an interactive learning center and fun activities using products from our clients who are from the manufacturing domain.
It’s extremely important for us to help our new joiners and give them not only transactional process training but also make them aware of upstream and downstream of the process so that they understand the big picture. At times we have seen that green SLAs necessarily do not indicate the true health of the process. As such we need to focus on business KPIs and work with clients to improve business KPIs in addition to delivering contractual SLAs.
We are continuing to build upon CLIK by including a few of these best practices in the new joiners’ induction tool kit and also in the standard process training so that there is a structured way of knowledge capture and cascade to our associates.
In my view, we are not only building strong and dedicated teams, but are also better enabling the new generation of BPO to transform client processes. We need to own the responsibility of providing value added knowledge and necessary training to our associates and act as enablers in this journey.
Do let me know your thoughts as to what best practices you have seen that may be worth adopting!