BPO sector, a long term career option. Does this sound contradictory to you? Perhaps it's time to revise this traditional opinion. The industry today boasts of its own band of faithfuls. Meet Shwetabh Kumar who has, within a span of just 7 years in the industry, climbed the BPO ladder of success. From a simple call center executive to Manager HR, Training and Corporate Affairs at Globerian, Kumar has been a dedicated employee and his commitment and loyalty have paid off. Still life hasn't been a bed of roses for Kumar. He truly deserves his success.
Hailing from Muzaffarpur, a small town in North Bihar, he had many inhibitions joining this industry. He had come to Delhi in pursuit of higher education and then went to Pune for a professional degree in management. After graduating in commerce, MBA was a natural choice. "I took the step without much thought," says Kumar. Armed with an MBA degree from the University of Pune, Kumar now started planning for his future.
His entry into the BPO sector is an interesting story which he recalls smiling, "I was visiting one of my friends in Bangalore when I saw an advertisement for Hinduja TMT. It was all by chance. I had never thought of joining a BPO company". Once selected, I realised the career potential in this sector. Although he says he had never been serious, he always made it a point to listen to his seniors.
Kumar started working as a call center executive in the BPO. Says Kumar, "Working in a BPO at that time was as normal as anywhere else. "Later, he was rigorously involved with the quality development of the organisation. Since Delhi was where his heart was, he relocated to Delhi and joined Globerian (then Alpha Thoughts) on 17th June 2003. Within six months of working as an executive, Kumar was promoted as a process expert in the training department. Kumar then saw the opportunity of expanding the whole training function. Since the organisation was in the developing phase, with the help of his seniors he was able to establish a training department. He was also involved in development of training manuals and modules for new entrants and trained many batches himself.
From this point onwards, there was no looking back for this young man. He was promoted within a year again and now 'Transition' was added to his profile. He religiously worked towards acquiring new US clients and transitioning different processes for the company. He headed the function with 10 to 12 voice, accent and processes trainers working under him.
Kumar says, "The organisation was evolving. Since we were expanding and hiring more hands, it was felt that 'Recruitment' should be added to the training function profile, so that hiring and training are done by a single department and the trained agent finally sent to the operations. Thus recruitment was also added to my profile. Marketing, gradually came under my work profile as well." Corporate communications, whether internal or external along with business development function was also handed to Kumar. But all these feathers in his cap did not affect the humble boy.
Kumar has been at the centre of many activities in the organisation. He says, "The best part of my career is that I have been involved in almost all the functions." Ask him what motivates him to work round the clock? and he quips, "I have always worked toward achieving the best for my company, for this will not only help the organisation to grow but would also be beneficial for the employees."
Although he accepts that joining this industry was a matter of chance but he says, "This industry offers growth opportunities which are not just uni-directional, they also help enhance multitasking ability." This he realised soon after joining the industry. He believes, "Job hopping does not pay in the long run." He advises new entrants to take BPO career seriously and not just as a stopgap in their professional journey. He adds, "Although the scenario has changed in the last seven years with the industry maturing and people taking it more seriously, yet most still have a casual attitude towards a career in BPO sector. Discipline and dedication are missing".
He believes that challenges have always been a part of the job but the biggest challenge he has faced in the recruitment and human resources department, is "convincing new entrants about the seriousness of the job and the promising future ahead."
Kumar says, "From just being vendors to the parent companies in the US, now the Indian BPO companies have started partnering them. This is definitely changing the future of the whole industry and as a natural corollary, its employees." Kumar is grateful to the BPO industry for helping him develop his core strengths, of which he was himself unaware. He says, "At every stage of my career, I have enhanced one skill or the other. Even as an agent, I worked on technical skills and later in the training department, it was more about understanding the psychology of the trainee and since I too had similar background, it was easy for me as a manager to understand employees' aspirations."
This industry offers growth, personally and professionally. His role models are Thenny Mejia, Sr VP Operations and Naveen Trehan, CEO. Kumar is grateful to his organisation for providing him the opportunity to realise his capabilities and for "reposing trust in my capabilities".
"I enjoyed being a bachelor, " says Kumar when asked about the time when he was working night shifts. He says, "Once you have a fixed shift whether night or day, you adjust to it. He adds, "Trust me once you have worked night shifts you would not like working in day shifts. It's so much fun".
Does being married to a working partner make personal life tough? Answers Kumar, "I have been lucky to have an understanding spouse". He says, "Since my partner too is working, it is easy for me, as she understands the importance of work". She is my strongest support and strength".
Kumar spends weekends reading and watching movies. â€œI watch one movie each week," he says. Does that qualify him to be a movie bug and he laughs heartily. He also loves spending time with his family.
Kumar's aspirations and goals keep him going. So where does he see himself in the future? Answers Kumar, " I want to be in a strategic position, where I can work towards the growth and success of the business".