Infosys is a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing solutions. We enable clients, in more than 30 countries, to stay a step ahead of emerging business trends and outperform the competition. We help them transform and thrive in a changing world by co-creating breakthrough solutions that combine strategic insights and execution excellence.
At his famous address at Madison Square in New York and during several instances earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lamented that turning up for work on time has become a virtue and merits special mentions in the press, a work ethic that should be a given and followed by all. Going by reports, we seem to be moving ahead as things begin to gather pace in Delhi.
Now, there is another world in the same country where young Indians (average age of 25) are showing a different side of India. They not only report to work on time, but also deliver services to domestic and global businesses round-the-clock to exacting standards.
Yes, I am referring to the young workforce that does outstanding work for outsourcing companies. But do we even know about this? Often, outsourcing work is dismissed as low-end “call centre” work. On the contrary, these young men and women undertake important and sometimes, mission-critical work for businesses.
Sample some of the work they do:
• Booking and processing orders worth millions of dollars for companies dealing with different products
• Managing procurement activities for wide-ranging goods and services to keep global supply chains ticking
• Verifying and processing payments for hundreds of suppliers
• Maintaining and reconciling accounts month-on-month, quarter-on-quarter, and facilitating book closures mandated by audits
• Sifting through huge volumes of data from different transaction systems, analysing them, and creating reports in different forms to facilitate decision-making
• Assist customers in resolving their queries 24x7. Has anyone spared a thought for a young lady who picks up a call at the first ring on a lazy Sunday morning, identifies herself pleasantly, and helps us patiently through a transaction query?
Moving to their performance standards….
All outsourced work is outcome-driven and governed by service level agreements (SLAs). The SLAs spell out inter alia, the expected levels of performance, measurement criteria, rewards, and penalties associated with each. While the SLAs are custom-specified for a process or an activity, any outsourced work typically falls under the ambit of the following three SLAs-productivity, turnaround time, and quality.
The SLAs are laid out and agreed upon at the start of a relationship and become the corner-stone for performance measurement at individual, team, and company levels. These are rigorously governed during daily, weekly, and monthly performance reviews.
It must be seen to be believed that these resourceful young men and women rise up to the challenges of the business. Contrary to the playfulness associated with youth, these are serious business partners, particularly serious about their work.
They arrive on time, manage their office time, and deliver on SLAs hour-on-hour, week-on-week, all days a year. For critical business processes, they do not hesitate to work on weekends or holidays. They plan their breaks in such a way that the flow of the business is not affected. When the rest of India is celebrating Diwali or Holi, these young people chug away at the back-office of their client’s business. Their performance is under constant scrutiny and their promotions and pay increases depending on how well they meet their SLAs.
Can we dream of such work ethic and culture pervading all walks of our life? Can files in government offices be cleared within specified SLAs? Can electricity, water, and road-related complaints be fixed within specified time frames? Can legal cases that drag on for years see closure within reasonable time frames? Can performance of individuals and departments be assessed on quality of work and outcomes achieved?
I am convinced that it is possible–the outsourcing industry stands testimony to this. It is not without reason that the industry has grown multifold over the last decade, gaining trust and earning goodwill of customers from across the globe.
The young workforce of this industry can teach us many lessons in efficiency, productivity, and customer-centricity.
Let’s celebrate them and learn from them to make a better India!
- Narayanan Sampath, Head–India Business, Infosys BPO
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of the company