Monday, 2 March 2009

Outsourcing Employees: Wake Up!

With all the focus in the outsourcing industry, there has been an intense scrutiny over the sustenance and credibility of it. You can hardly ignore the gripping that the same youth is getting into. A thought of where do I see myself 5 years down the line? Is the industry going to be in there for a long time, what will I do afterwards? All of that. In spite of his happy present, his thought process is limiting and cannot see beyond.

By Prabal Atreya

The buzzword Outsourcing today needs no introduction among the average Indian Youth. We see other synonyms in the form of Call Center, BPO, KPO, LPO etc. An average graduate looks out for one of these as soon he steps out of college. He brings along a fat salary in the first month itself, quite unheard of during the previous generations. Suddenly, he/she belongs the most suited son/daughter, boyfriend/girl friend, husband/wife. In comes a lifestyle, where black and white is just a color, gadgets became a must-have, shopping experiences were like never before. People now don’t watch a high-voltage match in homes, they will hit the nearest pub over a sip of beer, hang out there, celebrate every boundary and over it with great pomp and show. The youth today bears all the medical expenses with the coverage he gets for his dependents; gets his hatchback at the earliest, but ensures he goes to Tirupati with the same as well.

But behind all of these, with all the focus in the industry, there has been an intense scrutiny over the sustenance and credibility of it. With all the analyst reports (which one to believe in?) flowing in from all the major banners, you can hardly ignore the gripping that the same youth is getting into. A thought of where do I see myself 5 years down the line? Is the industry going to be in there for a long time, what will I do afterwards? All of that. Inspite of his happy present, his thought process is limiting and cannot see beyond.

Outsourcing is not just about call centers and BPOs, to begin with. There is a whole lot of quality work that comes along with it. Any part of the business could be outsourced. Whether you’ve converting sales or collecting sales, sourcing products, collecting market intelligence for your client, maintaining contracts, insurance coverage maintenance, providing legal management support, IT support and maintenance, provide analytical support to the business and so on. You name it and you’ll find everything right there. Let us also accept the fact that today, the toughest competition lies here with candidates coming from the all backgrounds play out here. But what we need to understand and graduate ourselves there is, outsourcing in not just another business decision to reduce cost but is very much a business requirement, a rather global requirement. The best minds across all industries believe in the mantra and are opting for the change called off shoring. We have to understand the nuances of the business, take pride in the work that we do, and without an element of doubt, keep developing the professional within us.

Cost is definitely an important driver for such a business decision but let us not consider ourselves as low wage workers for the western world. Let us understand that it could not have sustained only because of the cost factor. Along with it, what keeps us ahead in the league is the quality of output the Indian Outsourcing industry provides. India is a proud owner of the highest number of graduates and post-graduates in the world. We definitely have a better EQ in terms of providing business solutions. However, it is disturbing to note that some C-Grade establishments help in reducing the number by hiring undergraduates just to have some high energy resources. But in the process, the so-called employers forget or do not care about the long-term career of the candidate. There are a lot of innovative ideas that came out over a period of time in the human resource management with the developing industry, to tackle this. Not everyone though, but some do have a ‘learn while you earn’ concepts, which is good. But not everyone handles books and big bucks at the early twenties well, do we?? The same C-Grade employers forget that they are actually encouraging a whole bunch of unskilled resources which could only be identified at a level later.

Having said all of it, a professional’s worry is not void. There are definitely concerns over the jobs. We are already loosing our cost factor edge to countries to Philippines, Romania etc., it even reached places like Guatemala. Our command over the international language is slowly loosing the shine, as smaller developing countries are actually looking at India and are slowly but silently creating their workforce. China has a very skilled labor but lacked on the language front; but they understand their problem, and have now launched a crusade to get their skilled labor more international and crossing their language barrier, their government policies says it all.

Its now time to play the game on our strength. Realise our strength, that we have the resources to provide the quality that is unmatched. We talk about adding value to the business but do we really practice that. But we have inculcate it, think in those lines every time we provide solution to our business partners. People sitting across the table would be saying that he has a better cost destination then why you? There would be questions asked for they are paying for it. But we have to qualify that with the offering that we have.

What the individual professional could do here? Literally everything. For the starters, don’t you start off without completing your education. Understand that you could face problems later in your career when you take up expanded assignments. I mean those who have circumstances that lead you to, it’s fine but otherwise, if I have to suggest someone I would tell him to finish education first.

Develop and enhance your skill sets time over time…see what your developmental needs are and fulfill that at the earliest. See what the requirements of the times are. Make sure you spend quality time at your level to have the domain expertise. Today, employers look for people who have a wealth of knowledge in their respective domains. See your strength, what you are good at and proceed!! Job hoppers…understand that you spend quality time before you actually think of moving out for greener pastures. Because, now you’d be questioned if you can really add in some value to the organization. The hiring department has no never been this choosy. They will definitely question you loyalty and credibility at every interview that you attend and we’d start failing to crack a smart interview unless we have it in us.

In all, be an asset that an organization would love to have. It looks like yet another GYAN but that’s the way it is. Beware, our actions and sincerity towards the job drives the industry. It’s high time we as Indians get the right ethics in place. If the industry is looking for other shores than our’s, then it is because of our actions that we will let the scenario deteriorate. But on an overall, let’s play on our age old strength and get back the shine that we all Indian talent pool is known for. Even if an Obama or Gordon Brown has to make some steps for its people but Outsourcing shall still be a reality. The only difference is, we the people have to, individually, pull up our socks, and get outs together now. This complacency factor has to be cut out of us. Am sure we’ll have a better life with better jobs for a long time provided we get the fundamentals right. So go, get your job, lead a life that you always wanted. With every job created, understand that you are also benefiting the business and nation…so be responsible and go for it without any qualms. This the best period in Indian history, recession or no, we would rule. But the time has come for us to be more responsible than what we were ever before.

P.S- I did not put any statistics because you already have an OD of it from the everyday media. For once, let’s speak and understand like layman and get on to the business.

Read article by Prabal Atreya

An IntrospectionWEDNESDAY, 7 JANUARY 2009

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