BPOs relocate senior staff to expand ops in smaller towns

Written by Diksha Dutta | Diksha Dutta | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 24 2011, 08:24am hrs
Imtiyaaz Khan, a team leader at Aegis BPO in Gurgaon recently got promoted as assistant manager. However, the promotion came with a relocation he was shifted to Srinagar. Manish Singh of Spanco BPO was shifted to Dehradun from Delhi as site HR head with a greater role and responsibility. Similar is the story of Shashi Kant Dabral of Hinduja Global Solutions who was moved a couple of months back from Chennai to Guntur as head of operations.

These shifts underline the larger changes happening in the countrys $14-billion BPO industry. A trend that was till recently confined to select bigger cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Pune is now slowly moving on to smaller, tier-II and tier-III cities.

It makes business sense for the BPOs to move to smaller cities. With more business coming from domestic companies, which do not pay as much as global clients, it is wiser for them to have centres in smaller cities and towns where rentals and salaries are lower than in bigger cities.

While recruiting at junior levels is not difficult in smaller places, the BPO firms need senior-level managers to man them. It is to fill this gap that BPOs are increasingly offering their mid-level managers to move at senior positions to smaller towns.

It is a win-win situation for both. While the BPO companies get trained personnel to manage their growing business, the employees not only get promotional avenues but since cost of living is lower in smaller cities their disposable income increases.

Articulating the growing trend, SM Gupta, chief peoples officer at Aegis BPO, said, We opened our Srinagar centre in November last year and 25% of the total 430 people in this location have moved from the metro cities. Almost 10% of the employee population in our small town centres comprises middle and senior level. Out of this 10% staff, half of it is found through internal job promotion from our other centres in the metro cities. Gupta noted that contrary to smaller towns almost 100% talent at top level is found from within the city in metros.

Aegis has opened centres at Hazira in Gujarat and Srinagar almost a year back. It also has presence in other tier-II towns like Lucknow, Jamshedpur and Bhopal.

Similar is the case with Hinduja Global Solutions. Our entire leadership team is filled from within the company when we enter a non-metro to establish a new centre, noted Jessy Christin, vice-president of HR at the BPO.

He further explained that though the positions at the associate level and team leader level are filled by local hiring in small cities, the company has an all-India level hiring programme for posts of assistant managers and above for the smaller cities. Hinduja has delivery centres in tier-II cities like Durgapur, Mysore, Guntur, Siliguri and tier-III locations like Nagercoil.

Debashish Das, chief human resource officer at Spanco BPO added: More than 60% of mid and senior level people are from metros in our centres like Coimbatore and Dehradun. People are willing to move if they see growth potential in the tier-II and tier-III cities."

Thiruvengadam P, leader, human capital advisory services, Deloitte India, said, Talent above a particular level is not easily available in smaller towns. However, with time as the BPO culture gets engrained in the smaller cities companies may be able to find talent at senior-level also in these places.