Nearshore Americas

Alorica Bets Big on Guatemala, to Add 2000 New Staff

Alorica is embarking on an ambitious expansion program in Guatemala, with the BPO and call center services provider announcing plans to add more than 2000 people to its payroll in the Central American country.

As part of the expansion, the BPO provider has unveiled a new contact center in Guatemala City.

With 82, 667 square feet of floor space, the facility boasts an array of amenities, including a pharmacy, barber shop, convenience store, and health clinic. “It’s also close to public transportation and a variety of restaurants,” says Alorica.

Launched in 2009, Alorica is an early entrant in Guatemala’s nearshore services industry and currently has employed more than 5,000 people across four sites. The latest delivery center is the company’s fifth in the Central American country.

Miro Batista, President of Latin America and the Caribbean at Alorica, said in an interview with Nearshore Americas that all the centers in Guatemala will provide customer care and sales support to its global clients in the communications, retail, energy, and media industries.

The Irvine, California-based company is looking to hire bilingual candidates who can speak in both English and Spanish.

Miro Batista, President of Latin America and the Caribbean at Alorica.

When asked as to how the company can take on board so many skilled talent in a short period of time, Batista said: “We take the time to identify key talent–employees who are truly people-oriented and able to provide quality customer service as well as those who are interested in learning and building a meaningful career.”

Once hired, the employees will be trained until they find it easy to handle their roles. “Many of our leaders started as entry-level agents and moved up the ranks through training and mentorship,” Batista added.

It has also deployed Alorica Academy, a six-week training program that teaches managerial skills in addition to industry-related tasks.

“For those interested in working for Alorica but need improvement on their conversational English, we have Alorica Language Institute (ALI), a course that covers everything from pronunciation and fluency training to confidence-building through role playing,” Batista said.

To enroll in the ALI program, the candidates need to possess intermediate English skills and a high school diploma.

To attract quality talent, Alorica is offering an array of incentives to Guatemalan employees, including free medical insurance, tuition discounts, bonuses, and night transportation service.

Alorica’s confidence in hiring enough talent in Guatemala stems from its own experience. “Since we were the first BPO company to operate in the country in 2009, we’ve established a strong leadership team and been able to grow from there. In fact, 95% of managers are promoted from within the company through a robust career progression plan,” Batista said.

Guatemala became one of the flagship operations for Alorica after it acquired Expert Global Solutions (EGS) in 2016. The company went on bulking up in the country as wage costs rose in the United States on the back of robust economic growth.

Today, Alorica is a US$2.3 billion company, and its current expansion programs are designed to make it worth more than US$3.14 billion by January, 2020.

Alorica Nearshore Expansion

Over the past few months, the call center provider has expanded significantly in the nearshore region, including Jamaica and Mexico. Batista says the company is seeing an ‘increasing demand for nearshore capabilities’ by both US-based and local clients.

He went on to say that his clients are becoming more ‘savvy on geopolitics and diversification as key to a global customer service strategy.’

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None of Alorica’s Guatemalan sites serve local or regional clients, though. “This is an area that we are hoping to tap into more through our strategic expansion,” Batista said.

Finishing Schools

While Guatemala has historically lagged in its development of strong English capabilities, the country in recent years has speeded up efforts to boost the bilingual talent.

In 2015, the Guatemalan Export Association collaborated with over a dozen BPO players, including Alorica, to develop a finishing school certification for call centers. The 10-week intensive course is estimated to have equipped more than 4,000 Guatemalans with English skills.

In addition, thousands of Guatemalans return from the US every year. Reports say that more than 33,000 Guatemalans were deported in 2015, and 55,000 in 2014. These individuals find it easier to handle BPO roles.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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