Nearshore Americas

Applying the Science of HR: Four Keys for Nearshore Success

Attracting and retaining talent remains a key challenge for BPO companies as the industry continues to face high levels of attrition. This problem affects the operational core of a business as it makes it incapable to develop robust institutional memory, impacting productivity and workflows.

Multiple BPO firms are increasing their compensation and benefit packages, hoping for it to be enough to retain the human resources needed to deliver their services. However, the reality is that, for a growing number of people, this approach is not enough. Firms operating in the nearshore are not incorporating new human capital management trends fast enough.  

The industry has seen an influx of a new generation of workers. The sector is going through a process adaptation to this new segment of the workforce. Younger workers bring a level of informality with them. Millennials and Gen Z employees put less emphasis on following a traditional way of doing business.

Companies need to understand that even when they provide benefits and traditional compensation packages, one of the most important components is to offer them in a different way. Offering bonuses to cover wellness needs, free healthcare appointments and gym access on site, yoga classes and free nutrition guidance are good opportunities to approach employees’ wellbeing in an unconventional but meaningful way. Younger professionals also want flexible work hours as they make sure to secure a right life-work balance.

Companies in the sector need to understand that there is now a holistic approach to competition. BPO companies used to focus on outspending competitors to attract top talent, but that is not enough anymore.

Businesses should focus on building an internal culture that understands the needs of this new generation of workers, as most workers want a different relationship with their employers.

Social Activism is Attractive

This new generation of employees is looking for more than a paycheck. There is a clear hunger to extract meaningful value from work. The business world is paying attention, and concepts such as environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors as well as social corporate responsibility are now mainstream trends. 

This is not new. Even back in 2015, the Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study conducted a survey that showed that 9 in 10 millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause. Employees want companies to replicate their values.

The CNBC/Momentive Workplace Happiness survey in 2022 showed that a significant number of workers support their companies speaking out on social issues regardless of whether they agree with them. Younger professionals, especially millennials and Gen Z individuals, are invested in the concept of the “activist business”.

This is becoming essential for employee satisfaction and retention because it allows employees to find comfort in the footprint their organization is leaving in the world.

Promoting Inclusion and Engaging with Mental Health Issues

Workers are showing more interest in internal diversity and inclusion efforts within their companies. In the US, firms are responding to this, and an increasing number of CEOs are signing onto the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge.

BPO companies operating in the nearshore should expand their efforts in this area.

Younger professionals are also more conscious about the burden of imbalanced work-life schedules and mental consequences of this issue. Companies need to make it clear in the recruiting process that this issue is considered and addressed as part of the company culture.

Remote Work Remains a Priority

Some companies are pushing for their employees to go back to the office. This has been met with significant backlash from employees who prefer to maintain a remote or hybrid work arrangement. According to a ManpowerGroup Solutions survey, 40% of job candidates cite flexibility, which includes work at home options, as one of three top considerations in making career decisions.

Some employees even consider pay cuts in exchange for maintaining a remote or flexible work arrangement.

Many companies have real estate contracts that they cannot break, and that is an important driver behind the push to return workers to the offices. However, the industry is adapting, and many firms are finding creative solutions. An example of this is the so-called microsites: decentralized locations that allow employees to complete their tasks along with other coworkers without having to move long distances to reach a central office.

Remote work is clearly beneficial for employees’ satisfaction. However, it complicates the job of HR departments across the nearshore. In a way. HR departments lose some access to employees when they work remotely. HR had to modernize its approach and reassess the traditional way of doing business.

One of the main tasks remains to stop employees from feeling like satellites and instead maintain a cohesive workplace, even without a centralized physical location.

Remote work has serious implications: from communications and technological infrastructure, to preserving corporate culture. Many companies only considered it a temporary arrangement during the pandemic, but reality is that workers do not want it to go away.

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This needs to be a priority consideration for HR professionals in the industry in order to effectively manage a team. A remote first strategy is essential to guarantee business success nowadays.

This long term approach to remote working conditions must consider remote recruiting, safety and compliance policies as well as productivity, cybersecurity and physical infrastructure. 

Carlos Montenegro

Based in Guatemala, Carlos Montenegro is the Human Resources and Compensations & Benefits Director at [24], where he has been working since 2013. He is Guatemalan, and has worked in the BPO industry for over 10 years.

Carlos’s responsibilities include People management, Compensations for employees, Alliances, Employee Benefits, Operations talent management and Employee awareness strategies. He works with a team based in Guatemala that oversees locations Nearshore.

1 comment

  • Way to go Carlos!
    I totally agree with the article, I looked for a remote job because it’s more convenient and fullfils my daily life activities.