From attrition to lack of trained personnel, challenges galore for HR in Indian BPO sector

Narayan BhargavaUpdated: Thursday, December 30, 2021, 01:51 PM IST
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It is believed that most people join the sector to just make money instead of a career, and they tend to leave as they get a better opportunity. |

In an excellent show of its mettle, India has positioned itself as a major player in the outsourcing industry. At present, the country possesses around 56 percent of the world’s business process outsourcing (BPO). Moreover, the BPO sector in India is growing at an annual rate of 17 percent and is counted among the world’s top outsourcing markets.

Along with being one of the fastest growing industries, the BPO sector is also one of the biggest employers with highest employee turnover ratio in the country. The sector has been gaining traction over the last decade majorly because of the quality of service and solutions provided by the firms here.

Higher attrition in BPO sector

Due to the ease of getting a job in the BPO sector, hiring and retaining skilled employees is one of the most peculiar and important functions, and therefore Human Resources (HR) has to play an important role, even though HR is not directly involved in the processes. Their job becomes all the more grave because the sector is reeling under attrition. As per numbers, the average attrition rate is around 10-15 percent per month.

It is also believed that mostly people join the sector to just make money instead of their career, so they tend to leave as they get a better opportunity.

So along with high rate of attrition, abrupt non appearance and disobedience towards company policies become a major challenge for the HRs managing the employee requirement and retention.

Trained personnel needed for BPO sector

The other most rampant challenge faced by the HRs in the BPO space is the need for constant training. Every process by the virtue of it requires proper training before any employee is sent out on the floor, while some processes require a training of 30 days, there are some international processes that extend their training sessions for about 3 months.

Some figures suggest that any company loses as much as around Rs 60,000 if an employee leaves after training in an international process. Because of this and for ensuring continuity of business bench strength has to be maintained.

Not a viable career option

The next big challenge is that the BPO sector reels under a reputation problem. The common notion, among most middle-aged working class people, is that it is not a very viable career option for any individual. Some believe that there is less growth opportunity. However, in BPO, one learns about various industries as they are trained on multiple processes. So it is imperative for the HRs to work towards image-building of their brand and reposition the BPO sector as a profession where one learns about many industries instead of just a place to earn money.

In BPO, the work is driven through strict service level agreement (SLA) and adherence to the SLA’s results in stressful conditions for employees. This is also one of the reasons for higher attrition. One has to use tools of workforce management to ensure that right number of people are available to attend to work based on inflow of work at different point of time. This results in to people working at odd hours. HR therefore has tough job of keeping the morals high of the employees.

Monotonous nature of job

The other big issue is the monotonous nature of work, especially for customer executives and those catering to the queries. So, the responsibility of bringing vibrancy in the work environment goes to the HRs, and they have to induce activities that can rather be stress-busters.

So even though they do not have first-hand involvement, the HRs certainly plays a crucial part in the smooth functioning of the BPOs.

(Narayan Bhargava is Chairman and Managing Director of Calibehr, Business Solution Provider across industries)

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