The TA team of Bharti Airtel built ‘TA Centre of Excellence’ (CoE) to provide its stakeholders, a uniform, One-Airtel hiring experience
Bharti Airtel, a leading global telecommunications company, is ranked among the top 4 mobile service companies in the world in terms of subscribers. It has operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa and had nearly 287 million customers across its operations at the end of December 2013.
In India, the company’s product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G wireless services and mobile commerce. In February 2014, Bharti Airtel acquired Loop Mobile and its revenue market share has shot up to 27 per cent.
In light of changing business requirements, it was imperative to align all the TA processes with the organization goals and mandates. The team was facing concerns around quality of hires, utilization of existing resources, resource productivity, hiring cost and optimization of channels of sourcing talent
Coupled with this, the low productivity of resources and the declining quality of hires had a direct impact on business metrics. Because the TA leads spent a lot of time on non-core activities – their contribution in improving the quality of hire and serving business quickly and effectively, took a backseat. All this had further ramifications on increased cost per hire. Also, since too much focus was on operational activities, this was resulting in forming an army of disengaged recruiters. All this led to a struggle in providing a consistent, positively impacting experience to the stakeholders.
To combat this situation, a strong need was felt to relook at the existing TA processes and its functioning. Bharti Airtel’s TA function came up with the idea of building a Centre of Excellence (CoE), which would ensure standardization of the recruitment process across locations. This led to uniformity in centralization of sourcing the candidates, background verification checks, employee file management and onboarding.
The recruitment reengineering process was done in a phased manner. The immediate results looked like this – Activ (internal) talent sourcing contributions to the overall closure went up to 56 per cent and this reduced the high costs of recruitment. Productivity of the TA function increased by 30 per cent and this had a direct impact on the business productivity as well as lowering the TA headcount. A reduced headcount with centralization also transpired into a lower cost per hire and a lesser dependence on consultants. Process compliance was also brought under control and this also had a positive impact as the TA community gained the trust and credibility of the business. After seeing the success of first leg, the next step is to extend the benefits of TA CoE gradually to other business units at Airtel.
The TA leaders of other companies can take a leaf out of Airtel’s book by following some key parameters for getting the buy-in of the business leaders such as a clear segregation of core and non-core jobs, rationalization of headcount by improving productivity and cross utilization of resources.
Even more, what is commendable about Airtel’s move to consolidate its talent is presenting a unifying face to the external world through its employer brand communication. Not only did that show to the world that the company was unified, but the CoE also became a one-stop shop for all the staffing requirements. The initiative also had peripheral benefits such as greater job satisfaction leading to higher engagement scores and extended focus on employer branding.
Another key practice worth noting is that the learning from this intervention has been documented and even shared with their African counterparts. Also, the learnings are being shared, communicated and cascaded at the HR leadership level in such a way that it has become a way of life.