BPO Policies: 5 Emerging Trends

Watch out for the next three years! A turbulent phase of global consolidation and aggregation should see Indian BPOs and KPOs emerge bigger and stronger. Some may even become MNCs and global industry leaders. Human resources will, however, be the key challenge at the industry level as well as for the individual HR professional. Successful HR managers will have to be prepared for five emerging trends.

Deepak Wadhwan, consulting advisor, KPMG, points out in an article in The Economic Times a “few key trends”:http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Opinion/Editorials/Crucial_years_for_the_BPO_industry/articleshow/msid-2367064,curpg-1.cms which he claims may get overlooked. The top five are:

* The next three years will see a lot of mergers and acquisitions in BPO space worldwide.

* Most new voice/data BPOs will be at least 1000 seaters while KPOs serving any specific domain, 100 seaters.

* Attrition will rise in the middle and top levels leading to a talent war.

* Most top Indian BPO/KPO companies would have multicultural/multinational operations/workforce.

* Bottomline: Those who focus on brand building will perform, others will perish.

HR managers who are better prepared to handle these trends are more likely to perform rather than perish. That means, they must be prepared for:

# M&As
# Scalability
# Talent War
# Multicultural Ops
# Brand Building

Not that all factors will be applicable to all organisations in BPO/KPO space. Each business will have its own strengths and opportunities and weaknesses and threats. The individual HR manager too has to asses what his/her organization specifically needs. A proactive manager will try to outguess the board and keep some plans ready even before they are actually asked for.
An M&A human resource impact study keeping in mind any one/several possible victims/predators in mind is a good example. M&As are complex and traumatic affairs from a HR point of view. In case one’s organization has any chance of becoming a participant in any M&A event in the near future, a little early planning can prove to be a big help.

Similarly, being all ready to ramp up overnight, as it were, due to some early preparation on your part, can only earn you kudos from the guys who matter. The same can be said about each of the other big trends such as the possibility of talent war or multicultural and multinational operations. The key issue is to correctly asses which way your own organization is headed and then to be specifically prepared for it.

Some companies will not bother much about brand building – either because they don’t need it or care for it, for some reason or the other – but most others would do so. That would mean an additional set of headaches for HR professionals. Apart from the many intangible values that add up to create robust brand equities, some very necessary and tangible aspects are getting certifications of various kinds, following industry best practices and maintaining/improving delivery standards. Achieving these goals will require constant development of HR systems and processes. In plain English that simply means more work for the HR professionals.

Managing human resources in an HR and knowledge intensive BPO/KPO industry was never easy, but with a period of turbulence about to set in, its just going to get tougher! But then being forewarned is being forearmed – just ride out the storm.

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