New hires lack generic skills: Alok Narain
The key skills for entry level are the functions of specific requirements within each of the business lines that we operate in. Quatrro currently operates in very diverse business lines including mortgage solutions, risk management solutions, finance and accounting outsourcing and technical solutions. In addition we are also in the knowledge services space where we do content enhancement work, data services and ITR work. And lastly, the other business line is in the area of games, where we do games testing and localization work. All these businesses have a combination of both onshore and offshore delivery centers. Quatrro’s entire play in service delivery is based on the domain expertise, which we do not find straight from the market. As a result, the skills we look for when hiring, include customer handling skills, problem solving ability and communication skills. Beyond that, we invest in bringing up the people to the required skills level with respect to the domain knowledge or skills requirement. We do find that we need to make substantial investments even if it comes to generic or softer skills.
Like most organizations, we work through a multichannel hiring strategy. The Idea is to get the best from the talent pool available through our internal referral program ‘Q Amigo’ as well as through direct channels. ‘Q Amigo’ is a very important channel for us, as people who work with us are best in finding people who are suitable for the kind of profile that exists here. Other than that we would work with our multiple partners across the country. We also go to campuses on a very selective basis.
Once we hire people at the entry level, the learning curve to make them productive takes at least 3 to 4 months. With respect to the financial investment on making a person productive, on an average, an equivalent of about 5 to 6 months of the salary of a frontline recruit is spent.
The skill training programs are divided into 4 phases, with assessments and certifications built into 3 phases – pre-process, process and on-the-job training. Phase 1 is orientation, which is the first step to getting an employee inducted in Quatrro. This is a daylong session that covers an introduction to Quatrro, HR and EFA policies, infrastructure and information security policies. Phase2 is a pre-process training that provides an overall perspective on the business/industry, its scope and various sub-processes/businesses within the industry. Based on the business requirement, this phase includes modules providing in-depth knowledge about specific business the trainees would be assigned to, and primarily focuses on process specific conceptual training. Phase 3 involves process training that focuses on customer’s brand specific training and systems knowledge. The initial batch including the ‘Train the Trainer’ program is facilitated by the client. And lastly, phase 4 is the on-the-job training, which facilitates hands-on practice and application of skills learnt during the classroom training. It helps in smooth transition from training to operations. During this phase, a Subject Matter Expert (SME) on the floor is assigned to the graduating trainee batch. The SME follows a structured mentoring process with a focus on continuous improvement to ensure all trainees achieve defined productivity metrics within the specified time.
Based on the nature of work, the training could be from 2 -3 weeks followed by 3-6 weeks of on-the-job-training. Refreshers are done regularly based on inputs from clients, quality reports, supervisor feedback and TNI assessments conducted by the trainers.
We believe that Quatrro may be contributing in a limited manner when it comes to employability and within that providing employment, I don’t think our view is different from any industry. There is a huge skill gap, the point is that unlike the structures that operate in the developed world like manufacturing in Germany or Japan for example, the skill development, skill enhancement, training infrastructure does not keep its pace with the industry, but it kind of leads the way when it comes to providing the support to the industry through extremely well trained manpower. If you look at the vocational training structure that operates for example in Australia or UK, it is extremely rigorous and we know that if we were to have someone or hire someone who has a certain vocational degree or certification, the need for the in-house training would be minimum. I think we have a long distance to travel, but we have started taking the steps to reach the goal.