The initial gloss of steel-and-glass offices, 24X7 pizza and being chauffered to work and back has worn off. With growing reports of substance abuse among stressed-out business process outsourcing (BPO) employees and affairs with co-workers, families of the youthful talent pool are getting increasingly nervous about letting their offspring opt for a BPO career.
Now, BPOs are fighting back.
Hit by unsustainable attrition rates (most BPOs lose around a third of their workforce every year), BPOs are trying to get the families of employees — both existing and potential ones — engaged with the companies.
Like multinational giant Accenture’s BPO arm, for instance. It has re-engineered its hiring process to involve employee families right from the interview stage to the post-recruitment phase. During the advanced stages of an interview, the company asks the prospective candidate to bring his or her family or spouse along.
This is being done with a view to project a more “family-oriented” approach. At the same time, it also helps dispel the notion that working in BPOs is all fun and frolic. Both candidates and their families are briefed on the work process, while pitching a BPO job as a serious career option.
P.G. Raghuraman, lead executive, Accenture India Delivery Centre, says: “We figured that since 70 per cent of an employee’s life is spent at office, it makes sense to provide them with a family atmosphere.”
The ‘family atmosphere’ includes taking employees’ families around the centre, introducing them to team leaders and allowing employees to see their children during work hours.
Also, Accenture pitches the ‘career path’ possibility by highlighting programmes that allow a BPO employee to work on IT services-related projects. “This would chart a specific growth path for employees in the long term,” says Raghuraman. Many initiatives are copied from the IT industry, which is higher up the value chain, but has similar problems with attrition.
‘Family days’ are typical. Employees can bring their family, including kids, to the office and take some time out.
Says Jyothi Menon, VP, Human Capital, Transworks: “We invite parents of our associates to visit the facilities and understand the work that their children do. We also take them around the facility. The objective is to familiarise families with the nature of the industry and the work done, so that they feel proud of their children.”
“When an employee has performed well, we call up the parents or the family members concerned and tell them about the employee’s achievement,” adds Raghuraman.