BPO TRAINING: Creating Talent

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

As India assumes center stage in the outsourcing world, it will come under

intense scrutiny. Partly because as a leader there are many who are closely

following the India model and also because there are many who are waiting for

cracks to show. Only with the help of training can the industry avoid the

pitfalls as well as position itself as the ultimate offshoring destination of

the world.


As many competitive destinations emerge and as India's own cost structure

increases, the only differentiator between competing destinations would be the

quality of service. Ironically, while India touts the availability of talent, it

is also true that most of this talent is unpolished. Training this pool of

talent is a huge challenge.

Contrary to the myth of a huge talent pool, the resources are very limited. A

statistic from McKinsey says that only five percent of the available talent is

ready for call centers. It adds that 15—20 percent of the talent pool that can

be trained for deployment. The rest, 75—80 percent, is so poor that it is not

economically viable to train them for deployment. The industry is therefore

doing a tightrope walk between the need to expand and doing it in a

cost-effective manner.


Usually, most companies would like to train internally as much as possible

but it is not always feasible because the requirement levels are so huge and

often the raw material is very poor.


Besides, there are some very specific skill sets for which the company has no

option but to look for training solutions outside. Let us consider some

scenarios under which outsourcing the training is desirable.

- During ramp-ups the in-house training team

will not be able to handle the requirements of new recruits. Neither is it

feasible to hire a huge training team to cater to such seasonal requirements.

- It is a good idea to hire external trainers

when it comes to learning about culture. External trainers usually cost a packet

but they do a good job too. A smart thing to do during the training is to have

an internal trainer shadow the external trainer and learn the structure of the

program and attempt to do it internally the next time.


- Behavioral training is usually outsourced.

This relates to leadership development as well as customer interaction issues

like handling pressure. Such trainers are usually very experienced and bring a

mature insight into an industry that is brimming with youngsters yearning to

grow. From agents to team leaders to supervisors to project managers, these

youngsters have to constantly develop and hone their team spirit and leadership


- Training for specific skill sets, such as

workforce management, has to be necessarily outsourced as they are highly

specialized. Sometimes, such skills are so specialized that companies enroll

employees with overseas universities for online training through the Web.

- Training for high-end BPO work such as legal

transcription and financial accounting are usually outsourced.



While the brand of the vendor does play a role, it is often individual

trainers that make the difference. Therefore, it is not so much about selecting

the vendor as much as being able to identify the good trainers with the vendor

that is more important. This can be achieved by asking the trainers to make

short presentations and assessing them on the basis of presentation skills and

to ability to connect with the audience.

The vendor should have a customized training module for your organization.

Just as one size does not fit all, similarly all training modules have to be

customized to suit the organization's specific needs.

For that, a critical differentiator is the vendor's ability to understand

the client's processes, understand its needs, and customized the offering.

Therefore it is important to distinguish between a vendor who simply delivers

vis-à-vis a vendor who also does consulting and delivery.



So what do the in-house training people do? How much training a company

wants to do in-house or outsource also depends a lot on what the organization

wants. Initial training including voice, accent, and customer care are hygiene

factors and are taken care of internally. Besides, it is important to handhold

and conduct refresher training programs on a sustained manner.

The training team works in close coordination with the operations team to

conduct these trainings. This is because agent performances are constantly

monitored and training needs evaluated.

Most of these refresher courses are customized to cater to specific

situations. The training modules are developed from the point of view of current

need and therefore are highly result oriented. At the same time, it is important

to design tools to evaluate the results of such performance-enhancing training.





VP training, BPO and IT services, GTL

Sheila Vasan Singla, principal associate,
Chrysalis HRD

Managing Knowledge is Important

Let's face it, there is tremendous pressure on BPO companies to have trained

employees hit the shop floor from the word GO. But the available talent has no

orientation about the ways of the industry. Their training takes place at two

levels: pre-process and process related.


While the former relates to orientation, and voice and accent; the later is

more specific and is an ongoing process. Ongoing training becomes an expensive

proposition but is a necessity nonetheless.

At the same time there is a lot of stress handling irate customers and

working at odd hours, resulting in high attrition rates. During attrition, it is

important to realize that it is not just the employees who walk out of a

company, but also the learnings that they carry along with them. There are many

unique situations that arise out of these interactions and it makes immense

sense to record such interaction for the company's knowledge base.

Under the circumstances, initiating a process by which knowledge can be

captured and made accessible as well as introducing self-help, e-learning

processes can contribute significantly to enhancing employee capabilities.


there is a need to structure the rollout carefully to ensure its success. One

can start by installing a learning management solution and introduce generic

off-the-shelf content like stress management or customer management. Create a

library and ensure that employees use its content.

After this, the company can focus on building its customized content, such as

company-specific information about rules, procedures, and guidelines. Once these

processes are in place, it is time to start the formal process of capturing the

knowledge and disseminating it internally.

Knowledge capturing is a very significant part of this initiative and must be

done with the involvement of senior operations people. This information must be

stored and presented in a manner that appeals to employees. And, it must have

extensive indexing and easy retrieval mechanisms in place.

Knowledge management can help companies improve productivity and accelerate

growth because it compresses the knowledge of its collective employee base and

drastically reduces the learning curve of each individual.

Suren Singh Rasaily,

executive VP and head enterprise learning solutions business, NIIT