We haven't fully achieved our goal yet, but we're on our way. Despite numerous struggles, we are determined to make it. We will make it!
While writing this piece on our foremost core value - Employee Centricity, I reflect on why this value tops our list of six. In my nearly 20 years in this industry, I've witnessed the ebb and flow of many professionals. Given its focus on heightened efficiency and cost-cutting, numerous BPO companies are often accused of paying only lip service to "Employee Centricity" instead of genuinely embodying it. These suspicions aren't baseless; they're anchored in tangible observations and experiences. Below are some of the compelling reasons behind this perception. 1. High Attrition Rate:The BPO sector often faces high turnover rates. Due to this transitory nature of the workforce, some companies might not feel the need to genuinely invest in long-term employee well-being. Instead, they may use employee-centric slogans and initiatives superficially, without truly backing them with meaningful action. 2. Cost Pressures: The competitive nature of the BPO industry, especially with its relentless focus on cost reduction, can sometimes push companies to prioritize bottom-line numbers over employee well-being. Declaring themselves "employee-centric" might be a way to project a positive image without incurring additional expenses.
3. Standardized Processes: BPOs often rely on rigid, standardized processes to ensure consistent service delivery. While this ensures quality control, it can sometimes restrict individual autonomy and growth, making any claim of "employee-centricity" seem hollow to the actual employees.
4. Short-Term Focus: Some BPOs, driven by quarterly results and short-term contracts, might focus more on immediate outcomes rather than long-term employee development and satisfaction. While they might voice support for employee well-being, in practice, they could prioritize short-term gains.
5. Misunderstanding the Concept: Being genuinely employee-centric requires an in-depth understanding of what employees truly need and value. Some BPO companies might introduce generic initiatives under the banner of employee-centricity without truly understanding or addressing the unique needs of their workforce.
6. Talent Abundance: In many regions, the BPO sector has a vast pool of potential employees. This abundance can sometimes lead to a mindset where employees are viewed as easily replaceable. Thus, the rhetoric of employee-centricity might be used to attract talent without necessarily following through on those promises.
7. Cultural and Regional Differences: BPOs often operate in multiple regions and countries. What's considered "employee-centric" in one culture might not be the same in another. Some companies might not adapt their strategies to regional differences, leading to a mismatch between promise and delivery.
As we crafted our values, we aimed to genuinely embody the Employee Centric value. But the question was, how?
We aspired to distinguish ourselves as a unique BPO, one where employees would want to work for many years. The foundational essence of our company called for a deeper commitment. Being distinct meant that we couldn't solely focus on services or transactions; it was key that we prioritize experiences. Inspired by Zappos, renowned for its exceptional customer service and company culture, we designed our core value around a 'People Centric' approach. This became the cornerstone of The OnSpot Experience. This is about our customers and we happen to have two - our clients and our people - our tribe. Why Zappos?
Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer, isn’t just known for its vast collection of products, but for its dedication to ensuring every customer feels valued and heard. Their customer-centric approach isn't only for their customers; it's deeply entrenched in their internal culture as well. Employees aren't just employees; they are part of the Zappos family.
We see a reflection of our ambitions in the Zappos model. Given that OnSpot is more than just a BPO and serves as a melting pot of diverse tasks from sales to post-care support across continents, it's vital to ensure that every interaction feels personal and genuine. We don’t just want to service clients; we aim to understand them, value them, and grow with them. Building the Employee Centric Culture Our goal is to empower our Tribe to realize their dreams and aspirations by ensuring client success, recognizing our people as the heartbeat of the organization and the clients as the lifeblood of the company, while delivering innovative and exceptional service experiences to top brands worldwide.
The OnSpot Experience is not just a business strategy; it is a philosophy. Borrowing from Zappos' commitment to customer service, OnSpot began embedding this into every facet of our operations. We started with core value number 1 - Employee Centric. Culture isn’t just about the kind of snacks you have in the pantry or the games in the breakout room. It goes deeper, affecting every decision, every process, and every interaction. Over the years, I've learned that an organization’s culture can make or break its success. That’s why, from day one, I was determined to build an employee-centric culture in our organization. We are making concerted efforts to make the below a reality. As I mentioned, we are not yet there. But, we will get there. Why Employee Centricity?
In many businesses, there’s an overt emphasis on customers, products, or revenues. And while these are undeniably crucial, there’s another ingredient that acts as the lifeblood of any successful venture: the employees. These are the people who bring ideas to life, interact with our clients, and make the company what it is. To me, putting them first was a no-brainer. An inspired, satisfied, and motivated employee is more innovative, more productive, and more aligned with the company’s vision.
Starting from the Top
To foster an employee-centric culture, it was clear that the values needed to trickle down from the top. This meant that our leadership team had to not only preach about it but live it. We began with transparent communication – accessible chat tools, open-door policies, and honest discussions about our challenges and triumphs. By making myself and other leaders accessible, we aimed to build trust and demonstrate that every voice matters. Listening to Understand
One of the first steps in our journey was to genuinely listen. We conducted surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one discussions to understand what our employees truly needed and valued. This wasn't a one-time event but became an ongoing process. By listening, we could address concerns, implement suggestions, and make our team feel genuinely heard.
Investing in Growth
Another cornerstone of our employee-centric culture is continuous learning. We introduced training programs, workshops, and mentorship initiatives. By investing in our employees’ growth, we were not only improving our business but also showing them that we genuinely care about their personal and professional development.
Fostering a Sense of Belonging
We’ve made concerted efforts to celebrate our collective successes and learn from our failures. Monthly recognitions, team-building activities, and creating a collaborative workspace have all been part of our strategy. We want every employee to feel like they belong and that they’re an integral part of our journey.
Flexibility and Work-Life Balance
In today's fast-paced world, work-life balance isn't just a perk; it's a necessity. We introduced flexible hours, remote working options, and mental health days. Recognizing that our employees have lives and responsibilities outside work and respecting that has been crucial in building loyalty and commitment.
Why should clients care if their BPO partners are employee-centric?
An employee-centric BPO recognizes that the keys to a successful partnership consist of Philosophy, People, Processes, and Problem-Solving. Of these, People are fundamental. In fact, we lost many clients in the past because we couldn't uphold this core value properly. We've since learned our lesson. Imagine what the below can do for your business.
Enhanced Service Quality: Employees who feel valued, appreciated, and engaged tend to deliver superior service. They go the extra mile to ensure client satisfaction, anticipating needs and providing solutions proactively.
Greater Consistency: Happy employees typically stay with companies longer, resulting in lower turnover. This means clients deal with experienced staff who are familiar with their accounts, leading to consistent, high-quality interactions.
Innovation and Proactivity: An employee-centric environment encourages innovation. Employees feel more comfortable suggesting improvements, which can lead to new and enhanced services or solutions for clients.
Faster Problem Resolution: When employees are empowered and have a stake in the company’s success, they’re more likely to quickly address and resolve client issues, ensuring minimal disruptions.
Genuine Client Relationships: Employees in such cultures often build deeper, more genuine relationships with clients. They're not just servicing an account; they're nurturing a partnership.
Trust and Transparency: Employee-centric companies often emphasize transparency and honesty, both internally and externally. This means clients can expect open communication and trustworthiness in all interactions.
Alignment with Client Values: Many clients today prioritize doing business with companies that have strong, positive cultures and values. They view these companies as more stable, trustworthy, and aligned with their own values.
Enhanced Brand Reputation: A company known for treating its employees well tends to have a better reputation in the market. Clients often prefer associating with such brands, knowing they prioritize ethical treatment of their workforce.
Higher Productivity: Employee satisfaction often translates to higher productivity. This can mean faster turnaround times, more efficient processes, and better outcomes for clients.
Adaptability and Flexibility: Employee-centric companies tend to be more adaptive and flexible. When employees are encouraged to think critically and offer feedback, it often leads to a more agile business that can adjust to client needs quickly.
Let's put some actual figures on how the above positive impact can translate financially for your business.
Reduced Turnover Costs: Industry research shows that the average cost of replacing an employee can be between 50% to 200% of their annual salary, factoring in recruitment, training, and lost productivity. An employee-centric BPO, with turnover rates potentially 25% lower than competitors, can represent savings of several thousands to millions annually, depending on scale.
Higher Productivity: Studies suggest that engaged employees can be up to 21% more productive. This uptick in efficiency translates directly to faster service deliveries and potentially a 15%-20% reduction in operational costs for clients.
Fewer Errors: The American Society for Quality reported that companies with high employee engagement levels see 70% fewer errors. This implies potential savings for clients in terms of rework or compensations, which can often amount to 5%-10% of project costs.
Enhanced Service Quality: Improved service quality can elevate customer retention rates by up to 5%, according to Bain & Company. This, in turn, can boost client profits by 25% to 95%.
Innovation and Efficiency: Engaged employees contribute up to twice as many innovative ideas, as per Gallup. Innovations can lead to process improvements, potentially saving clients 10%-15% in operational costs.
Adaptive and Agile Service: While hard to quantify universally, agility in service can prevent project delays and thereby save costs. On average, this adaptability might cut down project overrun costs by up to 20%.
Strengthened Brand Image: Companies known for social responsibility can witness up to a 20% increase in sales, as a Nielsen study indicates. Partnering with an employee-centric BPO can, by extension, benefit a client's sales figures.
Fewer Disputes and Conflicts: Reduced disputes mean fewer legal complications. For clients, this can lead to a potential 5% reduction in associated costs.
Long-Term Partnerships: Long-term contracts often come with better negotiated rates. Clients can potentially save up to 10% in service costs with extended partnerships.
Predictability in Budgeting: Predictable budgets mean reduced financial risks. A consistent budget, devoid of surprise expenses, can improve a client's ROI by up to 15%, depending on the nature of the project.
To sum up, when combining the tangible benefits of lower turnover, heightened productivity, reduced errors, and all the other mentioned metrics, clients can anticipate an improved ROI that could be upwards of 70% or more, just by opting to work with an employee-centric BPO. However, it's important to note that these figures can vary based on specific industries, scales, and regions. People First: Why BPO's Employee-Centric Approach Matters to Clients