Lessons In Human Capital Development From Genex Infosys With Dipto Ghosal, Vice President, Business Support, Genex Infosys

Lessons In Human Capital Development From Genex Infosys With Dipto Ghosal, Vice President, Business Support, Genex Infosys

Welcome to our new series The State of Human Capital Development in Bangladesh powered by Kormo, exploring the field of human resource across various industries. In this series, we’ll be exploring topics ranging from strategic approaches to HR to all the way to use of technology in recruitment and people operations.

We’ll be interviewing some of the country’s most respected HR thought leaders and learn about their vision, how they are addressing issues like skills gap in the market and much more. All the stories will be exclusively published in Future Startup and you can find them here.

 

Dipto Ghosal is a Vice President, Business Support, at Genex Infosys, Bangladesh’s first publicly traded ITES and BPM company.

Founded in 2013 with a team of 4 people, over the last six years, Genex has grown into a company of over 4000 people.

Customer experience management is a complex operations, Genex has helped a long list of leading companies in Asia wrangle disparate parts of customer experience management into one place and turn it into a source of insight and growth.

Genex attributes its success to its “expertise in people interactions and its multinational team of experts with the right mix of skills and experience — from operations to research, business development and project management.” Over the years, it has invested heavily in human capital development and building a culture of excellence. “Our operational principle is that we enable our people,” says Mr. Dipto Ghosal. And the strategy has worked out well for Genex.

In this excellent interview with Mr. Dipto, we dig deeper into a wide range of topics ranging from how People and Culture Department works (Genex’s name for HR department) at Genex Infosys, the importance of investing in human capital development in the context of Bangladesh, how Genex invests in its people and has built a culture of empowering people, how you build a culture and why it is important for an organization, how Genex finds, hires and retains the right people, the most sought after skills in the market, the major skill gaps in the market, and much more.

Future Startup

Could you please tell us about yourself and your work at Genex Infosys?

Dipto Ghosal

I landed in Bangladesh on 7th June of 2013, when we started operations of Genex. We completed our six years of operations this month. From that time till date I have been associated with Genex.

My role at Genex has always been an enabler role, who enables the delivery team as well as share the knowledge to upskill the local resources. Because if you don’t upskill the local resources, the industry would not grow.

In our organization, all the people who are leading different verticals of delivery are local resources. Some of them joined us five years back as team leaders. Many of them have become general managers, assistant general managers, service delivery leaders. That’s how we operate as an organization.

Our operational principle is that we enable our people. Give them real-life exposures so that they could learn and develop themselves.

Learning is a continuous process. We assign our people to new projects and responsibilities just to give them exposure and opportunities to learn. This is how we upskill people. We have done a good job so far. But our ambition is to become great.

Future Startup

How big is your HR team?

Dipto Ghosal

We don’t call it HR team anymore. We call it People and Culture team. We have separate functions and team for each function. We have a recruitment team with whom the Kormo team is much more attached to. We have a general People and Culture team who looks after the payroll management, leave policies, attendance and everything. We have a separate function we call employee relationships and engagement team. And we have an organization development and learning team who look after the development and learning initiatives. These are the five functions of People and Culture.

Currently, we have about 25 people who are managing the entire People and Culture operations in Bangladesh.

Future Startup

If you consider people and Culture team as a mini organization within Genex, how does the department function, team members collaborate and get things done?

Dipto Ghosal

As we mentioned, we have separate teams for each of the functions of people and culture department. However, it does not mean that teams operate in silos. Although each team is responsible for different functions, all the teams work toward a single objective – delivering the best solutions to our customers and employee retention. Essentially, they need to collaborate.

There are KPIs for each function that they need to meet. Apart from that, collaborations happening all the time across functions conducted by the Head of People and Culture. So that everyone knows which function is doing what. If you confine some people with only one department then the collaboration between the teams gets hampered.

At the end of the day, two goals are the same for all the functions – you talk about admin, you talk about people and culture, you talk about operations. Two goals are the same for all. One, we have to deliver excellent service to our partners because that is the only differentiator. Second, when we are investing in a particular resource from hiring to certification to the job offer, we have to do our best to ensure that that particular person does not leave. Because the cost of hiring is huge. These are the two fundamentals around which all of the functions of our organization operates.

Our operational principle is that we enable our people. Give them real-life exposures so that they could learn and develop themselves. Learning is a continuous process. We assign our people to new projects and responsibilities just to give them exposure and opportunities to learn. This is how we upskill people.

Future Startup

What’s your perspective on the value of investing in human capital development? Do you have a company philosophy about it?

Dipto Ghosal

If you invest in people, the return that they will give is what you need as a business. A few days back there was a viral post on social media, a CFO comes to the CEO and says, what if we invest in our people and make them grow and they leave. The CEO replies, what if we don’t invest and they stay.

It might happen so that you invest in your people, they grow and stay with you for a stipulated period or they don’t stay and leave. Even if they leave they will remember that a particular organization has invested in them and by which they have learned a lot of things and have been able to do well in the current field. So people staying in and people going out, investing in people do make a difference in both instances.

We always believe in the fact that you need to enable your people. Empower them. Invest in upskilling them. Train them. Coach them. We have been doing that in our organization from the inception.

That being said, you can’t enable people just by saying that okay I give you this project and you do it. You need to show and demonstrate. We have programs and initiatives within the organization that has been developed with an ambition to help our people grow.

Future Startup

As you mentioned, it is not enough to have a perspective that we have to invest in human capital development, you have to walk the talk. What are the things that you do in practice at Genex to develop your human capital?

Dipto Ghosal

To develop people, first of all, you need to understand where you need to invest to develop your people. If you don’t know what particular aspect of your people need coaching and guidance, it would be a hopscotch sort of thing.

We have a structured governance and Performance Management System (PMS) model where we review the KPIs and performance of our people. Reviewing KPIs for me is 20% of what a leader should do. Because sometimes, your KPIs would be met and it would not be met. What matters the most is are you putting the best effort to meet them. Whether your conviction and intention are right or not.

To understand the intention and conviction of an individual you have to go deeper. You will not be able to judge a particular individual only by reviewing the KPIs and numbers. Be it in personal or professional life. We have developed a specific platform called SpringBoard. At Springboard, we take the top 10% of the quarterly best performers, 5% out of the people who we feel could go up the ladder, and then we arrange one to one session for all of them.

This is a quarterly action and we try to understand where the potential lies for each particular individual. If we see someone is great at art and craft, we utilize him/her in relevant activities such as designing backdrops for our events. Then gradually we move them to a role that could help them use their skills the best.

A BPM organization or any other organization for that matter is not about sales and marketing, all other supporting functions are equally critical which supports the core business team to deliver. We might find that somebody is good at project management or wants to work in project management. He has some basic ideas, given the opportunity to learn and develop, he could become a great project manager. We make the arrangements for them to take on a role that goes along with their goals. This is how we scout and do a SWOT analysis of every employee quarterly, 10% and 5%, total 15% of overall employees, and put them in real-life scenarios.

For example, currently, there is a huge project going on in the organization wherein we are setting up a new facility and migrating a lot of people from different facilities there. Two people came from an associate-level background who are managing the project who are now part of the project team and working with us and learning. So we give people opportunities to grow them. We find out what someone is good at and try our best to empower them in that area.

We provide cross-cultural learning opportunities to our people taking benefit out of our presence in multiple geographies. We have multiple onsite exchange programs yearly, where resources are sent from one Genex Site to another to learn and share best practices.

I would suggest everybody who wants to build a career in this industry to start their career by taking calls, because that would create a base for you. You will learn the challenges a customer service person goes through. When you grow from there, you develop a far superior understanding of the business.

Dipto Ghosal speaking with Future Startup

Dipto Ghosal speaking with Future Startup

Future Startup

What are the biggest challenges you face in human capital development?

Dipto Ghosal

People still don’t consider this industry where they could build a long-term and meaningful career. But if you compare the numbers with neighboring countries such as the Philippines and India, over the last ten years, Bangladesh has seen high double-digit growth, YoY near about 20%. In India, it is single-digit growth and in Philippine, it is single digital growth. In 2009, the revenue was $1Mn. Today, it is $300Mn. The number of employees working in this sector were in hundreds in 2009. Today, it is near about 50-55 thousand. Bangladesh is the number two country in online labor export in ITES and BPM industry across the globe right after India. But people seldom see this industry as something where you could build a meaningful career. The communication is not there.

If you talk about Genex, we started with 4 people in 2012. Now in 2019, we have near about 4500 people. We are the first publicly listed ITES and BMP company in Bangladesh.

When all these things would be put into a package and communicated, then only people would start thinking, yeah this is a great industry where we can make a career out of it.

Today, every graduate wants to join either a bank or a multinational or telecom or other FMCG company but why not BPM because we could not showcase to them that this is an industry where you could get all the benefits that you could get if you join a bank and build a meaningful career. If we continue to build this awareness, gradually people will consider building a career in this industry.

This is the biggest challenge we are facing that people don’t see this as a potential industry to build a career. I will not say everybody but most of them because they don’t know. Even when people come and join, they don’t plan to build a career. What happens when you don’t want to build a career in an industry, you stay and try to find other opportunities and you don’t dedicate and develop yourself for the industry. This is what happens in this industry. People come for a short period and leave at the first chance they get. People need to be educated so that they consider the industry as a potential sector where they could make a career out of it.

There are other challenges such as attrition and delivery. But everything is related to this because since people don’t see they could build a career in the industry, they don’t learn and delivery is not up to the mark. It is a vicious cycle. One approach to addressing the challenge would be telling good stories about the industry and educate the market.

Future Startup

Where do you see the most potential in growing human capital? Where do you see the most potential, it could be vertical, sectors, where there are opportunities to develop human capital and build a meaningful career?

Dipto Ghosal

You should not treat me as a biased guy because I started my career by taking calls under the operations department but to start with, I would suggest that everybody should go through that phase of life because then only you know what the customers are saying and wanting, how the other people sitting beside you putting headset for seven hours/five hours think and work. To me, that is the toughest job in this industry. To put the headset, listen to the customers, and solve their queries with patience for hours.

Trust me all customers don’t treat you as their brother. They might treat you as their brother, they trash you as well. Listening to all those things and keeping your cool and doing your job is the toughest job. If you learn the art of doing it, you can flourish in any vertical, any function of this industry or any other industry for that matter.

I would suggest everybody who wants to build a career in this industry to start their career by taking calls, because that would create a base for you. You will learn the challenges a customer service person goes through. When you grow from there, you develop a far superior understanding of the business.

Future Startup

What are the HR values of Genex?

Dipto Ghosal

Our people are our assets. This is an industry that depends on people. We empower our people. We engage so that they grow. Hiring is difficult and expensive. We make an active effort to make sure that we engage with our people to help them grow. It is better to retain your people than hiring new ones.

Future Startup

How do you hire for your company? What does your hiring process look like? What are the priorities? What are the skills you look for in people?

Dipto Ghosal

For different accounts, we have a different hiring process. If we are hiring someone for managing social media, how well he speaks is not a skill we look for. If he can speak properly, that is fine. But how good he is at understanding a customer who is not speaking to him or her but writing, that is important for him or her. And when we are hiring for a position where the transaction is voice-based then obviously the voice modulation is an important skill we look for.

We don’t ask direct questions to candidates in the interviews because when you ask direct questions such as would you be able to work at such and such hours, they would often give an answer based on impression. Instead, we try to find out through indirect questions what makes a candidate tick and whether he would be able to do certain things or not.

If you ask people questions that are related to the answer you are looking for, your chances of getting an honest answer improves. We try to go around instead of asking direct questions. This is how we try to find out whether a candidate would be fit for this dynamic industry or not.

We have some psychometric test to understand the mindset, understand the logics and the IQ of a particular candidate.

For the voice test, we do it over the phone from one room to another. We have set-up for voice testing and a standard process.

Future Startup

What does your recruitment process look like? How many steps are there in your recruitment process? Someone applies for a job, you screen the CVs and then…?

Dipto Ghosal

In the early days, it was a little lengthy process. We used to call people for interviews. That’s not the case anymore. Now we don’t have to call people for interviews. People apply and come. People come directly to the office to apply and take their interview time and date. People also apply through Kormo and get their interview dates through Kormo and come for the interview.

We are doing interviews every day. If a particular person comes and apply and wants to know whether any slot available for interview, our security guard knows whether there are slots available for interview today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. So if the slots are available today, he faces the interview today. If tomorrow, he would be given a number and the next day he comes and gives the number and he is then put in the interview according to schedule.

First – we do face to face screening. Then we have the written test. The third round is being taken by the user team. The user team who manage the operations. They interview the candidate and asks the questions that are necessary to understand them well. Then we offer that candidate for training.

When a candidate comes with a little bit of understanding about the organization, it shows his seriousness and passion for the organization. So a candidate should come with at least a little bit study of the organization.

Future Startup

Do you look for any particular set of characteristics in a candidate? There are job-specific skills that you look for but are there general skills that you look for in people?

Dipto Ghosal

How they have come for the interview. My trainer in this industry told me that a lot of people might say that the world is changing, people don’t wear formal dresses any more to go to the office, they move with business casual and so on. But it is not true. How you dress continues to be an important issue.

We are not asking you all to come to the office wearing suits and ties and all that. But when you are coming to the office, you should look like you have come to the office.

It does not matter whether you wore a polo shirt or jeans. The point being everything should be proper. It should look that you are not dizzy and coming right out of bed. This is the first thing that we see.

Dipto Ghosal at Genex Infosys HQ in Dhaka

Dipto Ghosal at Genex Infosys HQ in Dhaka

Future Startup

What are the challenges in finding the right candidate?

Dipto Ghosal

It is very hard to understand whether a candidate would be a great fit for us or not from an interview of 10-15 minutes. What we try to see is that whether he is coachable or not, whether he has that patience level or not, whether has come to the interview studying something about the organization.

When a candidate comes with a little bit of understanding about the organization, it shows his seriousness and passion for the organization. So a candidate should come with at least a little bit study of the organization.

Future Startup

What are the skills gap you see in the market in terms of what you desire in a candidate and what you receive?

Dipto Ghosal

Many people apply for jobs without properly reading the job post. For example, you posted a job for a senior position. What happens nowadays is that many freshers also apply for that same position without paying much attention to the requirements of the job. This is a challenge for recruiters because you receive a tonne of CV for a single position and from many people who are not simply eligible for the job. As a result, often good applications go unnoticed during the screening process because of the unwanted applications.

We as an organization accepted the fact that BPM is a new industry in Bangladesh. We would not get a lot of readymade resources in the market. We will not get people with 5-10 years of experience in this industry. But that does not mean, we will not be able to hire people. So instead of looking for relevant experience in the BPM industry, our policy is to keep the best, leave the rest. We hire if we find someone has the right attitude and has the basic skills to handle the operations. What he lacks in skills, if he has the right attitude, he would be able to learn by doing. We hire and coach people.

Over the past years, I have seen that skill is not that big a problem in Bangladesh. We have people who are good at what they do. The only deficiency that I see is in self-confidence. People need to have the confidence and own who they are and come out of their shell and project themselves positively. It does not matter how good or bad you are at speaking English. Not being able to speak English is not a sin. Present yourself confidently with what you know.

To my reading, most people I come across are decent and good people. They simply lack confidence. The skill gap is not a major challenge. Lack of confidence is a major challenge in our market.

Future Startup

What does your job entail – what are the top 3 things you do every week? What have you done to improve or to be better?

Dipto Ghosal

We are a process-driven organization. We have developed systems and processes to ensure the smooth running of the company. Similarly, we have built various platforms within the organization for our people so that they could speak up, participate, contribute and feel appreciated.

For example, every week we have a leadership connect meeting where all the departmental heads have sessions with multiple groups of people to listen to issues they are facing, suggestions they have and so on. So we have created a platform where people are being heard. We listen to people. Take their feedback and implement those that could be implemented immediately and if we could not implement something immediately, we inform them that we would follow it through at some later point in time.

Every month, I sit with reports of my direct reports. This is an organization-wide practice that all senior people do. My direct reports don’t attend the meeting, his/her reports do. This is to check whether people are being treated properly or not, whether they have any issue or not. They can open up about their challenges and predicaments and share their opinions openly.

We have another platform called Enrich. It is a knowledge-sharing platform where we bring people from within Genex as well outside Genex to share their knowledge and best practices. It might happen that a particular associate created a wonderful format for customer call management. We bring that guy or girl in one of Enrich session to share his/her lessons with others.

Third, we do the reward and recognition program every month, every quarter and yearly. We recognize the best performers and it often works as an inspiration for others to do well.

These are some of the things we do.

The result for me in terms of HR is how many people are leaving my organization every month. That is the number on which the performance of the People and Culture team is being measured. This is the number that we all look at.

Then we do a satisfaction survey through an independent global company. This is done mostly online. We take that score seriously as well.

All the things that I mentioned, we are doing it to improve the satisfaction of our people. We have built a culture that empowers our people. We have an open-door policy, anyone can go directly to any senior leader without permission.

We ensure that people are being heard. This is the culture that we have been trying to build since day one of our company. I say trying because this is something that you have to work daily.

We value our people. Almost 80% of our leadership hiring is being done internally. When there is a senior position available, we first try to find people from within the company. We induct Talent from outside the organization if only we could not find someone for that position within the company. We ensure that our people have a regular and consistent career progression.

Allow people to make mistakes. Not the same mistakes time and again, but if they make a mistake and learn, it is should be encouraged. If you are not allowing your people to make mistakes, it means you are not allowing them to grow. If someone is making mistakes and learning from them, it means they are trying.

Future Startup

What technology have you integrated across your HR such as recruiting?

Dipto Ghosal

Genex is a technology company where we have Genex Infosys, which is our BPM business, Genex Solutions, and Genex Digital. Our operations are pretty complex and diverse.

We use a People and Culture management software built in-house considering the specific needs that we have. It is a robust application and allows us to track a particular employee from hiring to his/her exit. It has a robust data collection mechanism. It allows us to record everything about an employee starting from their leaves to performance to everything in between. It is complete solutions and we keep on making it better.

Apart from that, we use a platform like Kormo. Kormo has been of great help, particularly for screening people. Previously, a lot of time used to go into screening people. Since we started working with Kormo, it has made our life easier since Kormo has a pre-screened profile that is tracked end to end. Although these are early days of our collaboration with Kormo, the numbers are improving gradually. Kormo could play an important role in any organization that aims to structure and digitize their hiring process.

Future Startup

What advice would you give to companies and people who are looking to invest in human capital development?

Dipto Ghosal

You treat people right. That’s the first rule. If you treat people the best, in 90% of the cases they would deliver. The moment you offer someone a job, s/he is a member of your team. Treat him/her accordingly, as a part of the team. This mindset should be in the DNA of every organization. People should say that I love working there. Every industry needs good word of mouth otherwise you would not be able to attract talent. And without talent, no business can grow.

Give your people a platform to speak. It does not matter what they talk about as long as they talk. In most organizations, there are repercussions of what you say. As a result, people usually don’t speak out of fear of consequences. This kind of environment is detrimental to the growth of the people and the organization. Build a culture that encourages people to speak out. Share their ideas and concerns. That encourages people to speak freely. It’s not only an organization getting new ideas, but it also improves the productivity of people because they feel a sense of freedom.

Make an effort to understand your people. Things they like. Give them exposure to things they are passionate about. People thrive when they see that their talent is appreciated.

Allow people to make mistakes. Not the same mistakes time and again, but if they make a mistake and learn, it is should be encouraged. If you are not allowing your people to make mistakes, it means you are not allowing them to grow. If someone is making mistakes and learning from them, it means they are trying.

Future Startup

What are some lessons you have learned about work, life and BPO industry?

Dipto Ghosal

In life, everything will be fine, if you want to make it fine. If you get demoralized or demotivated by a particular situation and blame others, then the problem is in you. There will be hardships and there will be ease. As I said before, sometimes your KPI would be met, sometimes it would not, but your effort and intention should be there and you should be honest about them.

Treat people right. Don’t just say it, put it in practice. Action is the best representation of what kind of person we are. At the end of the day, nobody will remember how much money you have or how wealthy you are, they will remember how you treated them. The reality of life is such that you would not be able to take anything with you at the end of our life no matter how rich or poor you are. The only thing that would come to any use is how people remember us – do they have pleasant memories with us or bad memories with.

 

This interview is brought to you by Kormo – a job matching and career development app that connects job seekers to businesses that are looking to hire. For job seekers, joining the Kormo community gives them access to relevant job openings and information and tools to help them grow their careers. These include the Kormo CV that allows job seekers to create and maintain a digital CV and the Learn Tab, which consists of tons of targeted educational content. For employers, Kormo makes hiring the right candidates easy and effortless through a combination of automated screening, matching and more. You can learn more about Kormo here.

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