Life in a BPO

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Guide - - SITUATION VACANT - Ankita. sethi@ hin­dus­tan­times. com

Ankita Sethi

The sce­nario has al­ways looked good for the busi­ness process out­sourc­ing (BPO) in­dus­try — ac­cept­abil­ity from government, ad­mi­ra­tion from the me­dia, en­thu­si­asm from col­lege grad­u­ates and com­mit­ment from mid­dle man­age­ment pro­fes­sion­als. It, in­deed, seems too good to be true. Let’s take a closer look at life in a BPO.

Started in the 1980s, ser­vices out­sourc­ing to In­dia rapidly ac­cel­er­ated in the 1990s, fol­lowed by the emer­gence of IT com­pa­nies. Although the BPO in­dus­try has seen many ups and downs over the years, on the whole, it is a success story.

Too good to miss

A plethora of fa­cil­i­ties, quick pro­mo­tions, and fat salary pack­ages are some of the hardto-be-missed fac­tors at­tract­ing young peo­ple to this thriv­ing in­dus­try. Raghaven­dra K, vice pres­i­dent and head - hu­man re­sources devel­op­ment, In­fosys BPO, says, “In­fosys BPO has a 24x7 op­er­a­tional med­i­cal cen­tre, a chemist and an am­bu­lance ser­vice to ad­dress any emer­gency sit­u­a­tion. Most of In­fosys’s large cam­puses have state-ofthe-art recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties, which in­clude a gym­na­sium, a med­i­ta­tion room, a yoga room, a swim­ming pool, and ten­nis, vol­ley­ball and bas­ket­ball courts.”

With the BPO in­dus­try’s evo­lu­tion from busi­ness process out­sourc­ing to busi­ness process man­age­ment, com­pa­nies have started look­ing at the larger can­vas. Peo­ple from var­i­ous ver­ti­cals such as lo­gis­tics, health care, re­tail, fi­nance, and en­gi­neer­ing have come to­gether to work un­der one roof.

Balancing life with work

Do hap­haz­ard shift tim­ings, high stress af­fect em­ploy­ees’ work­life bal­ance? Pawan­preet Singh, LCTG — qual­ity, NIIT Tech­nolo­gies, quickly re­sponds: “The op­tion of flex­i­ble work­ing hours is avail­able to em­ploy­ees, which al­lows us to man­age our per­sonal life bet­ter.” Ke­shav Raj, trainer, iYogi, adds, “Work­ing in night shifts does not im­pact my per­sonal life at all. On the con­trary, it helps me do my per­sonal work dur­ing the day.”

Ashish Garg, di­rec­tor - re­cruit­ment, Con­ver­gys In­dia, af­firms, “We work with our em­ploy­ees to help them main­tain a per­fect work-life bal­ance. We have seen that a work-life pol­icy works more ef­fec­tively for us as well.” A BPO or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vides em­ploy­ees with plenty of av­enues to en­hance and fur­ther their ca­reers, un­like more tra­di­tional com­pa­nies that may not be able to of­fer the same flex­i­bil­ity. To this, Raghaven­dra adds, “Em­ploy­ees should iden­tify and de­fine a clear pur­pose and mean­ing to their life. When one aligns work with the over­all life pur­pose, they wouldn’t have to think that they have to bal­ance their work and life as it is al­ready balanced and aligned with their life pur­pose.”

On the flip side

Meenakshi Sharma, spe­cial­ist in a lead­ing ITeS com­pany, how­ever, ad­dresses the big­ger is­sues. “Night shift im­pacts per­sonal life a lot. Work­ing women al­ready face many chal­lenges but night shift can be fa­tal for your mar­ried life.” Deepak Bharad­waj, se­nior tech­ni­cal sup­port as­so­ciate, Dell In­ter­na­tional Ser­vices, agrees, “I hardly spend time with fam­ily and friends.” Out­sourc­ing com­pa­nies pay ex­tra at­ten­tion to the work-life bal­ance of em­ploy­ees; how­ever, in the end it is also an in­di­vid­ual im­per­a­tive to main­tain that bal­ance in one’s life.

Fun and work are one

A young work­force and a process driven and goal-ori­ented work en­vi­ron­ment make it im­per­a­tive for BPO com­pa­nies to keep the ex­cite­ment go­ing on the shop floor. Bharad­waj says, “Ev­ery fri­day we have some or the other fun ac­tiv­ity - games, con­tests like tug- of-war, theme-based dress­ing, sports day etc. For in­stance, last week a mail was cir­cu­lated that any­one who has a hole in his socks can come and claim his prize.”

Fun and en­gage­ment is a key lever used in re­tain­ing tal­ent across out­sourc­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions. Manish Thukral, as­so­ciate, Con­ver­gys, agrees, “We have Em­ployee In­ter­est Groups, which or­gan­ise ac­tiv­i­ties such as pho­tog­ra­phy, dance and mu­sic ses­sions. In ad­di­tion, our re­wards and recog­ni­tion cer­e­monies are very in­ter­ac­tive and pro­vide for an ex­cel­lent way to un­wind.”

You are safe here!

How does HR en­sure safety of fe­male em­ploy­ees? “Women em­ploy­ees are picked and dropped at their door step dur­ing night shifts. Our in-house trans­port team has an on­line sup­port desk and a re­ac­tion team avail­able 24/7 to ad­dress em­ployee griev­ance dur­ing tran­sit. We also try and plan the travel such that fe­male em­ploy­ees are not picked first or dropped last. If it is un­avoid­able, then fe­male pas­sen­gers would be ac­com­pa­nied by trained se­cu­rity per­son­nel,” says Raghaven­dra from In­fosys. Con­sid­er­ing the high crime rate, safety and se­cu­rity of em­ploy­ees is the top pri­or­ity for most BPO com­pa­nies. Garima Vats, as­so­ciate, Con­ver­gys, af­firms, “We get 24-hour pick-and-drop and se­cu­rity guards for em­ployee safety. So, safety is never a con­cern. “We use state-of-the-art cabs fit­ted with GPS, which helps our cen­tralised op­er­a­tions team to track the where­abouts of any cab across the coun­try.” . Rightly said - safety first is safety al­ways. Aparna ( name changed on re­quest), cus­tomer sup­port ex­ec­u­tive, IBM Daksh, quips, “If the com­pa­nies don’t pro­vide a pick-ndrop fa­cil­ity, no em­ployee would be ready to work in night shift.”

Moolah mat­ters

Work­ing in the BPO in­dus­try is ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive in terms of salary as this in­dus­try de­mands and at­tracts top tal­ent from the labour pool. Sharma says, “I love to shop and this job al­lows me to ful­fil most of my wishes.” Singh, on the other hand, be­lieves in sav­ing money and in­vest­ing in the stock mar­ket. “I have re­cently gifted my­self a Honda City,” con­cludes Bharad­waj.

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