Global In-house Centers are characterized as global locations away from the home office or headquarters. Functions handled from the GICs are technology and back office functions that do not require a face to face physical interaction with external customers or internal stakeholders. Technology support, application development, software product development, finance and accounts, accounts payable, receivables, call center, contact center, customer on boarding, query and dispute resolution, campaign selling, payroll queries, etc. are some activities – also referred as processes – which are housed in the GICs. The selection criteria of GIC location is a combination of factors like talent availability, cost of resources time zone affinity, cultural familiarity, among other factors.
Importance of HRA (health check and readiness assessment):
While traditionally viewed as cost centers, GIC or captives are evolving into centers of excellence and profit centers. As cost pressures have increased, and revenue growth is limited and rarely greater than single digit percentages, organizations are looking to establish and grow headcount in the GICs. Onshore reduction of staff and contractors has a direct impact and reduction of operational expense in wages and salaries, expensive corporate real estate costs and benefit costs. In addition, higher volume processing is achieved as weekly productive hours are 10-15% more in an offshore GIC. The desire to expand GIC headcount, without due diligence and planning can often lead to implementation challenges and sub optimum benefits.
A Health check and readiness assessment provides valuable insights;
- Does the GIC have strong processes, practices and methodology in place to handle expansion?
- Is the GIC management team equipped with the right experience and competencies to handle growth?
- Are the cost reduction targets being managed and reported to the CFO?
- Does the GIC have sufficient head office support for a seamless migration?
What will the HRA deliver to the client? Benefits?
A professionally conducted health check assessment will highlight the existing manner of functioning of GIC, as well the manner in which the corporate executive team (or HQ) is aligned to the organization’s objectives and vision. Using an approach of collaborative engagement, interviews and fact finding, it considers the following aspects;
- Planning stage: opportunity identification, design of solution, transitions
- People aspect: recruitment, onboarding, training and career management
- Infrastructure and tools
Adequacy of methodology and practices OR gaps in these are reported in the Health Check Assessment Report.
The Readiness Assessment reports the findings and corresponding remediation steps to embrace wherever the GIC/ HQ methodology and practices are not at par with industry leading practices. A few common examples of findings:
- Process transitions are not managed with a Quality / toll gate methodology
- Recruitment practices are such that the candidate is interviewed 4-5 times
- Process selection (to send to GIC) is with the lens of cost savings, however complexity aspect is ignored
- Solution design often ignores supply side talent availability in GIC location
As next steps, the recommendations of the HRA would underscore the importance of fixing process gaps, practice area gaps and gaps in the competence of key leadership functions in the organization.
How to plan and conduct a HRA engagement and prepare for success:
- Solicit clear sponsorship
- Stay above the board on objective of HRA and its benefits
- Communicate regularly
The watch outs
- Do plan, budget and schedule to meet a cross section of stakeholders. This should not be limited to the senior levels but also include mid-level supervisors and managers.
- Opinions that you hear should be backed up by reports and MIS that support those opinions.
- A constant reminder of a failed project / poor quality transition may be an outcome of a poor solution design – and therefore it does not speak of poor project management capabilities. Dig deep in such areas to separate fact from noise!
Imagine yourself to be a chef in fine diner that can cater to 60 dinners on any night. Would you accept to handle 100 people on a given day, without the planning for additional raw meats and food material, additional staffing hands and corresponding infrastructure and tools?
Visualize an offshore GIC having 100 FTEs, performing on 20,000 queries per month for an airlines client gets a seasonal spike of 25% volume. This increases man hours and concurrent staffing requirement. A good forecasting, planning and implementations of resource management process will help sail this ship; or will lead to dis-satisfied customers and missed service levels. An HRA assessment would report out the robust nature, or gaps in volume forecasting and workforce management practices.
A GIC would require a well-defined Health Check and Readiness Assessment to prepare for expansion, or just to preserve its scale without losing competitiveness.
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