Life in a BPO
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.”
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.