In Part 1 of Aiming Higher, I highlighted the concern about the lack of BPO Management to fill a fast growing industry and how transitioning managers from other industries may not be in the best interest of call centers. In this blog, I will try to outline the root of this management shortage and I am sorry to say that it actually stems from human resources; specifically recruitment.
The problem with the BPO industry is that recruitment teams follow very stereotype procedures that also mirror that of other industries. Although, some procedures are specifically tailored for call centers, this mostly applies to agent applicants while non-agent applicants go through a regimented traditional hiring procedure. Have you ever come across a manager whose communication skills weren’t as good as yours? I have encountered a lot of these in my years in the industry and it made me wonder why this was so.
The answer to that question is that recruitment looks mainly at experience as a gauge of a person’s qualification and their biases are based on that premise alone. Things like leadership potential, soft skills, talent and business acumen actually take a back seat when considering managerial applicants for a position. Experience is also an unreliable basis for competence because people have different paces in learning. A manager could have five years of experience and not learned a single thing. Although some companies have slowly seen the light, it may take years for others to even recognize this problem!
Hiring based on experience does make a managerial candidate a strong pick but I really feel it is a poor gauge of the overall competency of this person. As I can truly attest, management is not all about management alone. Leadership plays an essential part in a manager’s success. Management and leadership may be used interchangeably by everyone but we have to realize that these are two different things. Management guru, Peter Drucker, once said that Management and Leadership are not the same. You cannot manage people. Inventories can be managed but people have to be led!
In many past job interviews, I have emphasized that it is my leadership skills that will determine the success of any account I handle. As impressive as my stand may have been to recruitment managers; sad to say that recruitment directors don’t agree and I failed due to lack of experience. It takes vision on the part of any company to truly accept that managers are supposed to be leaders. In the game of experience, it is sad that a person of my potential loses every single time while those from other industries get the job without having made a single call in their life.
Another thing I feel that recruiters should take into consideration is that management can be learned and I agree that where experience may come in handy. However, leadership and versatility are things that are not easily learned and only individuals with inert attributes and talent are able to put this to good use. Let’s face it; leaders have to learn to manage but not all managers ever learn to lead properly. Many managers feel that wielding their authority like a huge sword is what makes them a leader. Unfortunately in this age of well-educated employees, this military type of leadership is no longer effective in achieving objectives and have, in fact, been the reason for mass attrition.
I feel that recruitment teams of all BPO companies should begin to have vision for the future and accept the fact that experience is not everything! There are so many talented leaders within the call center ranks that are not given the time of day because of lack of experience. Leadership does not require experience alone! Many people have attributes which make them leaders and it is unfair to shut them out due to lack of years in management. If the industry keeps on going this way, I doubt if the growing demand for managers will ever be met!
BPO companies must realise that it should be leaders that should fill their ranks and not politician managers from other industries! Only then will we see progress in the way the industry is run and we will ensure the continued growth and survival of our beloved BPO industry.
As I posted on Facebook the other day; “Like India, Philippines also need to awake to this fact that if they do not have leaders to lead the workforce, the BPO industry cannot grow”. If experience is the only way to determine who manages and leads, we are looking at a doomed industry that will eventually drag the whole nation down with it!
Dr. France Jagolino is currently an Operations Manager for TaskUs Integrated Solutions, a California based outsourcing company. He gave up a promising career in Medicine to enter the BPO Industry where he has worked in almost every position from agent to trainer all the way to management. Dr. Jagolino is not only an experienced veteran of the industry but has also worked as a Leadership and Management Training Consultant for Shell and has written numerous articles on leadership, management, business, healthcare, customer service, social media and self-improvement. He is also a former TESDA Instructor for English Proficiency/Call Center Training and an inspirational speaker who was spoken in leadership motivation seminars in Asia and the Middle East.
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