Three Tips to Engage and Develop Employees in BPO Sector - a Look at Growth in Jamaica
by Jewel Daniels Radford
The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry is projected to generate nearly 15,000 additional jobs over the next five years in Jamaica. The opportunity to subcontract various business-related operations to third party providers has spurned an economic engine creating a plethora of jobs for the island. Many of the companies are located in Montego Bay, with the most recent addition of 50,000 square feet of space at Barnett Tech Park; and, in Kingston where the 70,000 square-foot facility formerly known as the Claro building is being leveraged for BPO operations.
While the industry is growing at a rapid rate, human resource professionals are challenged with attracting and retaining employees due to the image of BPO jobs offering limited mobility and growth as well as little, to no pre-job-training and development opportunities.
Yet, great companies can tackle the challenge by looking at where the opportunity lies which is in creating strategic development programs that bring greater clarity of skills needed for BPO jobs, standardized curriculum, and training programs that engage employees and help drive performance.
Companies must work smarter and think strategically about how they engage employees in order to unearth their passion and translate it into creative ways in which they contribute to the organization. To be effective, leaders should take three steps engage and develop employees: assess, engage and measure organizational plans that allow for growth and mobility. Here is a snapshot on how to get started - Engagement and Development Powerpoint and bonus Employee Development Plan
Jewel Daniels Radford
1. Action the 3C’s.
Acquisition and mergers are times of increase complexity and ambiguity often because of rapid changes, new policies, changes in management and much more. It is important that you are clear, concise and communicate effectively up the line of leadership, as well as with your team members and across the organization. For example, if you hold team meetings once a month, double them! This will allow you to share information and clarify expectations in a timely and controlled manner. It will also contribute toward easing employee feelings of discomfort, reduce “rumors” and make team members feel connected to the organization. Most valuable will foster two-way communication where questions can be asked and answers offered.
2. Build and maintain your network.
Relationships are the new currency of building rapport in organizations. It is critical to stay in touch and connect to with new and existing co-workers to build your network of people and resources who help you understand the operation of the company. Be certain to reach out across all areas of the organization to develop relationships because when it comes to getting things done, power exists in “who knows you” not in who you know. I mean I know Oprah but I imagine if she knew me, there would be much greater ease in closing business deals and identifying strategic partners!
3. Boost your UVP to the company.
It’s time to seriously evaluate your UVP (unique value position) to the organization and make a decision to go “above and beyond” your job description. Be willing to demonstrate how essential your knowledge and skills are, offering support and taking the initiative to contribute to projects, when possible. Exercise creativity and seek out opportunities to become a problem-solver
4..Focus on the positive.
As much as acquisitions and mergers may present great challenges, no condition is permanent! Invest most of your energy in finding the benefits of working under a new flagship. It is equally as important that resonant leaders demonstrate a positive attitude, being honest about your concerns; however, communicating how you and your team can learn, grow and excel in this new environment. You will soon find that you are accomplishing plenty, so be sure to celebrate the small and big win! Own your success stories, shining a bright light on these gems as they feel good feelings, positive behavior and give recognition to efforts made and goals achieved.
5. Remain alert to taxing and unrealistic expectations.
One of the major areas of stress during such transitions is managing increased work demands and coping with feeling as if newly imposed demands are unrealistic and unreasonable. Requests to increase production or implement changes without consideration of existing factors often cause employees to feel as if upper management is not taking a holistic look at work conditions or employee feelings. As leaders, advocate for what is best for the organization as well as the team and work toward maintaining morale. It is your responsibility to ensure that tea members condition to receive the necessary acknowledge for a job well done and appropriate forms of appreciation – whether it is words of thanks or lunch for the department.
6. Identify an accountability partner.
It is important to explore ways to navigate this course in ways that encourage, nurture and help you avoid potential pitfalls. An accountability partner – someone who will be honest about shifts in your attitude and behavior – can provide great support and conversation about unhealthy acts. During times of huge transition, it is not unusual for employees to attempt stress management by consuming excessive alcohol, smoking, drugs, and partying or even overeating and displaced anger outbursts as a method of coping. Take proactive steps to help you achieve the best results.
7. Think, Plan, Act! Decide that this is the opportunity of a lifetime.
Think deeply about the business implications of acquisition or merger. Plan on how turn it into a growth opportunity for your career. Take action to access how to support your team members in a way that positively fuels their development goals. Begin by learning from the experiences of others in your network and add lessons learned to your toolbox. Make time to pick the brains of colleagues, mentors and others, being respectful of their time by asking HVQs (high value questions) that provide critical information and lead to new pathways.
BONUS TIP: Take Care of You and Your Family. It is easy to lose oneself in the hustle and bustle of meeting work objectives. As a result, some fail to share with family members the stressors being experienced and this can cause major breakdowns in communication at home as well as unintentional neglect of loved ones. Don’t let this temporary stressful condition highjack relationships with those who love you most and support you unconditionally. Most importantly, don’t surrender making time for yourself. People often underestimate the immense need to continuously fill your tank. Remember, when it is low, it shows up in your performance; and when it is empty, there is nothing available for you give.
Creating Inclusive Business Enviroments
Jewel Daniels Radford │ July 2, 2015
Building longstanding organizations is rooted in achieving a balance between people, product, and profit. Organizations must pay closer attention to these factors, in addition to leadership strategies and services .
A core component to focusing on people is to foster a more inclusive environment. Key to this process is the ability to develop people and communicate clearly, directly and honestly.
Developing people throughout their term of employment with an organization is indicative of a learning organization. The better skilled and knowledgeable employees are allows them to do their jobs more effectively and it helps to instill a sense of proud in their work product. This can be achieved through various forms of training that is focused on job-specific tasks as well as general business soft skills training that are vital to professional practices. Additionally, organizations of the future should look to conduct more cross training that will allow team members to have a tangible perspective of the duties involved in co-workers daily jobs as well as helping to position companies to operate smoothly during times of employee absence due to vacation, sick leave or departure.
Fostering a culture of inclusiveness entails listening to the voice of all team members and valuing their input, where leaders provide clear and honest feedback. One example is supervisors who complain about the difficulty involved in reprimanding or removing an employee due to deficient work. However, in many instances leaders fail to follow procedure to properly document behavior and to communicate specifically as to the potential outcome for poor performance. Ignoring bad behavior or allowing substandard professional performance to exist has the potential to serve as a cancer that will eat away at the functionality of the team and overall sustainability of an organization.