Full of momentum for years, the industry increased its contribution to the national gross domestic product from 1.2 percent in 1998 to 7.5 percent in 2012, earning
But certain challenges have caused
This is partially due to rising wage inflation and infrastructure and real estate costs. The NASSCOM-Euerest India BPO Study predicts that 50 percent of the entry-level talent needed to grow
Unking education to enterprise
NASSCOM has claimed that the Indian BPO industry is capable of achieving fivefold growth during the next few years. "Reliance on a costsavings-driven value proposition alone will not be in the best long-term interest of the BPO industry" the organization explains.
To increase the quality of the BPO workforce, it recommends creating greater linkages between the current education system and the BPO industry. Campus recruiting and training programs are especially encouraged.
"Current and future employees, as well as influences such as parents of young graduates, form a very critical group of stakeholders for the BPO industry," the 2012 report explains. "Individual providers as well as the industry need to promote the attractiveness of BPO as a career option by highlighting exceptional firmlevel initiatives for employee development and facilitating information-exchange forums and mass outreach programs at various colleges."
Observing the titans of the Indian IT world, this seems a bit like preaching to the choir. These leading companies not only work actively with colleges and universities across
The program now reaches out to more than 100 colleges in
According to an article in Transpire, the quarterly newsletter from TCS's BPO services arm, "The vision of TCS is to see at least 10,000 students enrolled in [bachelor's] degree programs with specialization in business process services and management by 2022, which will be an industry and national record."
University professors are trained to develop students' English language and analytical skills. Regular classroom instruction is supplemented with access to a web portal hosted by
The quality of courseware is questionable, he says, and industry exposure by students is limited. "While technology and practices in the industry are swiftly changing, the courseware gets updated only once in a while. So its relevance remains a big question mark. Pedagogy, too, is rooted in age-old methods that focus mainly on theoretical knowledge."
He says more internships should be available for students, and faculty should take industry sabbaticals. What's more, recent graduates, exhausted by pressure from peers and family members to excel academically, are disengaged by leaming-which brings
From campus to campus
Fresh graduates joining
Taking into account the learners' states of mind as they arrive mentally drained from the rigor of their university degree programs, Orchard's curriculum eschews written assessments, instead providing continual evaluations that are integrated with daily project work. Experimentation and mistakes are not only accepted, they are celebrated-another departure from the traditional academic structure with which onboarders are familiar.
The training is designed to "rekindle curiosity in the minds of learners," which encourages them to tinker with software applications "like a child plays with Lego blocks to discover how they work," says Chakraborty. This approach to learning helps new hires build an engineering mindset, solving problems that they will encounter on the job.
In anticipation of a hiring surge in the next few years,
The new learning and development center will focus on developing recruits' technical and soft skills, as well as on developing habits to promote health and well-being, which
TCS also has multiple learning and development centers to receive its new hires. According to the company website, the flagship center, located in Trivandrum, could be "easily mistaken for a modem university campus ... which wouldn't be far off the mark, for the state-of-the-art training center of TCS, set in an idyllic environment-where students can at times hear the roar of the waves, or even the chirping of the birds-is as good as the best university campus anywhere in the world."
The center has been the site of the company's onboarding initiative, the Initial Learning Program, since 1998. This program (which accounts for 50 percent of the company's training budget) primarily serves engineering recruits and puts them through a three-month training session that acts as a bridge between the technical and soft skills they have when they first join the organization, and those that are required at TCS.
The young recruits are "groomed to shed their 'campus frivolousness' and assume their new roles as professionals and corporate citizens. For the freshers, this is a heady period during which they leam a new language, acquire professional skills, and are taught to conduct themselves in different cultural settings."
The program focuses particularly on the global careers for which new TCSers are headed. The program is conducted in English, but onboarders also have the opportunity to leam French, German, and Japanese, and they undergo "listening drills" and role plays to help them communicate in a global business landscape.
The program, called Foundation Training, teaches several basic yet essential skills for new entry-level hires: verbal and written communication, reading comprehension, data interpretation, computer usage and typing skills, numeracy, and understanding the company culture. "Foundation Training develops the competencies of fresh graduates and transforms their skill sets into what is relevant for the job," says
Indeed, "holistic" seems to be a key characteristic of all these companies' onboarding programs. When onboarders-often "batches" are recruited from the same colleges and universities-are not in training, they might be working out at the learning center's gym, chatting with co-workers over dinner or tea in the cafeteria, or pursuing additional learning opportunities using the cutting-edge technology available to them. They form close relationships with their fellow onboarders and mentors, learn technical skills in the context of their actual jobs, and immerse themselves in their new employers' corporate cultures.
When they emerge from campus ready for their first days on the job,
Will such careful grooming of its employees help
Industry-academia collaborations and residential learning centers are raising the tone of
AFTER BEING ACTIVELY RECRUITED FROM THEIR UNIVERSITIES, ENTRY-LEVEL EMPLOYEES ARE THEN PUT THROUGH INTENSIVE TRAINING IN THEIR ONBOARDING PROGRAMS.
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