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Home > India > Business > Business Headline > Report

BPOs design in-house curricula to train staff

Kirtika Suneja & Shivani Shinde in New Delhi | May 24, 2008 11:19 IST

Prominent BPO firms like Essar Group's Aegis BPO, WNS and Capgemini are designing in-house curricula to suit the sector's requirements while others like Wipro [Get Quote] and HCL Technologies [Get Quote] are partnering key universities for certified courses.

The broad idea is to help freshers and high-potential employees develop soft skills not generally taught at universities, and simultaneously increase retention rates in an industry that has attrition rates between 30 and 50 per cent.

The industry, according to Nasscom estimates, accounts for almost $11 billion and employs slightly over 700,000 professionals (in terms of direct employment).

The Aegis BPO Ace programme, which addresses work-life issues, is based on employee feedback. The company initially invested close to Rs 6 crore to design the curriculum.

The Ace programme offers in-house training to all its employees. It has covered almost 3,500 employees so far and by the close of this calendar year, it will cover 6,500 people in India and 1,000 in the US.

"Ace was started nine months ago to increase employee productivity and as a retention plan. The result is that our monthly attrition has fallen from 6 to 4 per cent," said Aparup Sengupta, managing director and group CEO, Aegis.

Capgemini is another case in point. The firm has been running as a university in Les Fontaines near Paris since 1989.

Last year, on an overall basis, the company trained close to 55,000 employees.

The concept is now being replicated in Hyderabad. The company is designing a curriculum in India that will be circulated to all its employees.

"The university is the single largest investment that the company makes," said Steven Smith, director, Capgemini University. In India, over 1,000 employees have opted for the course.

"Our retention rates have gone up considerably. Among those who have taken these courses, the retention rate is as high as 95 per cent," Smith added. 

Mumbai-based WNS has seen similar benefits. The company trains all of its 17,000 employees depending on their roles. The company has more than 28 programmes that include leadership programmes for freshers to senior V-P levels.

Its LEAP programme, which focuses on skill enhancement for potential leaders, was launched in July 2007 and has covered around 850 employees.

The company said the projects have shown significant business impact in terms of savings, increase in team accuracy, productivity improvement, retention improvement and better customer satisfaction.

Some BPOs are also partnering key universities for certified courses. One such tie-up is between Bangalore-based Wipro and Symbiosis Institute of Business Management called the People Ambassadors Programme, which selects non-engineering graduates within Wipro and grooms them over three years to become high- potential HR professionals.

"This is an approach for nurturing and building our HR talent pool that would be aligned to organisational needs," said Pratik Kumar, executive vice-president, human resources, Wipro.

About 17 students were selected this year from 1,000 who took the test and are being given courses designed by senior HR leaders.

HCL's "GoPro" programme aims at offering training in non-technical and soft skills to prepare students to become professionals. The company has tied up with VIT University in Chennai, and recently with NSIT and JIIT University in the National Capital Region.

The colleges that it expects to sign up shortly are PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore; Delhi College of Engineering, Delhi; and Thapar University, Patiala. Around 10,000 people are to benefit from this programme in which the training is imparted by 50 managers from HCL.

"This is a first step in our engagement with educational institutes to equip students to face corporate challenges," said Ravi Shankar, global head, Talent Management Group.
Going forward, HCL plans to associate with various other colleges across the country including in Delhi and Bangalore.

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