Category Archives: Thoughts

My thoughts of the perception people have about a BPO or, a Call Center

Confusion

To be or, not to be. The Job Change Confusion!

One of my team members came to me a couple of days back with a query. He wanted a suggestion from me. His sister was working in a company who was reeling under the economic crisis and was going through a cost-cutting spree. There were cost reduction initiatives everywhere. Incentives that were offered earlier were no more being given. Salary appraisals were also being put on hold. Recognitions were not coming, just because recognition involved costs. No employee was happy with just a pat on his back. It had to be accompanied with some kind of reward which meant monetary considerations. Giving the kind of situation that the organization was going through, employees were bound to be unhappy. Add to this the lack of communication from the organization’s leaders to its employee, and the matters were worse.
Now this employee was looking for a change very desperately. She had spent close to 3 years in the organization and was in for a promotion when all this happened. So growth was what she was looking for. She got an opportunity with another company which was into the financial domain and there were news in the leading dailies that they were cutting jobs and that the financial situation was bad. The organization was offering a good enough package to this employee and a position jump as well.
She was caught in a dilemma now. Should she opt for the change or, not?
There are quite a few employees caught in this dilemma. They are scared of the financial situation and at the same time are so dissatisfied that they desperately want to change. So what is the correct decision at this point in time.
The decision would depend upon a comparative evaluation. One should keep in mind that there is always a risk at changing a job during tough financial conditions. Any organization that goes on an employee reduction initiative would first look to lay-off the ones who have just been hired. They would certainly not want to let go off their seasoned employees unless they are absolute non-contributors and non-performers. So the risk remains. But at the same time, if your organization is a sinking ship and if you have a better opportunity it is always better to grab it and jump out of the sinking ship. So consider the following and then take a call.

  • Which organization is financially strong – your current organization or, the prospective one? – If both are non-comparisons, then evaluate the following.
  • Has your organization in the past offered growth and appreciable pay-hikes?
  • Has your organization taken care of its employees in the past?
  • Is there a definite communication from your senior leader’s to the employees.
  • Are you okay to be without a job in the worst case scenario for about a couple of months?
  • Even if your organization is taking extreme steps of cost-reduction right now, how strong is it financially? Is it cash-rich? Does it have enough liquidity reserves?

The last point would be a difficult to gather information, but with internet and Google, you should be able to do so. Answer all of the above questions and you would be able to find an answer.

Photograph courtesy Rose Ann

BPO – Equal chance to excel

There was an article published in the front page of the Wednesday job supplement ,”The Ascent” in the “Times of India”, dated 19th March 2008. It spoke about the opportunities that the BPO sector had to offer people with disabilities. There were mention of a few leading BPO organizations which were quoted as examples and the names of a few employees were also mentioned therein.

One of these employees is a person known to me. as I read through the articles, I recollected the struggle that he had to go through in finding a job before he entered the ITES sector. Finally when he appeared for the interview to a BPO and cleared it, his joy knew no bounds. He was offered a position and a salary package better that he had expected. Today he is happy in this organization. With many other aspects like fun@work, work-life balance and such other things in these organizations, people are able to nurture and develop other talents that they have.

It is indeed a matter of pride for me to be working in this sector and so should it be for any other individual. Come and join the BPO industry to build a career that you would never have dreamt off.

BPOs and its Cabbies

As I was driving back to my home from work I saw a BPO cab fly past me, at a speed I could not even guess.I had to use the term “fly” because that is the only appropriate term for the way it was being driven.

After a couple of accidents over the past few days involving these call center cabs, there was a huge furore amongst the law-makers and they decided that they will tame this animal.There were new traffic rules formulated and call centers cabs and transport departments were advised to employ speed governors in these cabs and that cabs were to ply at not more than 40 KM/hr. But obviously none of these seem to be implemented, looking at the way things are as on date.

I would rather suggest that nothing of the above is required but a bit of initiative from the employees travelling in these cabs. I have often found that the employees sitting in these cabs encourage the drivers to drive fast. Only if they were concious about their own lives they would have ensured that the cabs were driven in limits and this problem would have been taken care off. We often tend to ignore the act that the cab is being driven above permissible speed limits and enjoy the thrill. But what we forget is that in doing this we are not just risking our own lives but lives of numerous others as well.

Lets understand our responsibility toward the society, our family and to ourselves and behave responsibly. Lets take an initiative towards ending this menace.

Youngster opinion

A leading daily wrote that “youngsters are turning away from BPO jobs because they have finally realised that the stress and abuse in a BPO is not worth the money they are paid”. There were also a few excerpts from comments made by a couple of college going students.There was something similar about what all of them said. They had a comment to make about the “Pseudo names” being used, the “abuses” one faces from customers and the “24/7″ environment.

A few questions that come to my mind is:

  • Is 24/7 environment something that is new to us? Our factories have always worked 24/7 which employees working shifts. So what is it that is new about it? Why is it that the youth is afraid of working 24/7.
  • Which “abuses” are we talking about?I have heard these very college going people abusing customer care executives at Indian call centers serving them for their mobile phone queries.Do we have the right to comment when we ourselves do not know how to behave.We have a tendency of even abusing each other when it comes to driving on the roads. So what culture are we fearing?
  • Finally the use of “pseudo names”. There are not too many BPOs that encourage the use of pseudo names as they all are aware of the fact that a “John Moore” with an indian accent will only destroy their reputation.

Your answers to these questions would be similar to that of mine. Then why the hype of this “Stress”. We are in a way destroying one of the best employment opportunities available in our country by showing this negative approach to it.

The Paradigm shift

It is now more than 7 years that I have spent in the BPO industry. I come across various types of employees everyday, a few who are here only to earn some extra money so that they can pay off their mobile bills, yet others are here just because they have a dream bike that they want to buy, or probably a dream car. There are very less who are here to build a career, a rewarding career that no other industry can offer. This is probably the bane that this industry has. This is a reason for all the problems that this industry faces, including attrition.
Also the industry has not done enough to promote the “calling job”. The front line executives who are the main source of production in this industry is just another low profile job which no one would want to stick to for long. Anyone joining the industry would join in as a frontline executive, only to look for a promotion in the next 12 months. They would just want to get off the calling job and become a supervisor in less than a year. When this doesn’t happen they look for a change and jump companies.
Is the calling job, that uninteresting? The answer is ‘No’. It is one of the most interesting jobs around. You get to face a new situation every day, thus preparing you for challenges in life. You ability to speak develops and you become good at public speaking. You develop flair to talk and this helps you in developing good PR skills. It is just not another underpaid job, because the monetary factor attached to this job is huge, good salary and good incentives.
Then why is this not a most sought-after job? It is just because there is lack of awareness amongst the ones joining this industry and there is very little that has been done by this Industry to promote these entry level jobs.

For the ones who wish to join this industry, I would suggest to look at it as a long term prospect and set a target of building a career in this industry.