Sunday, March 4, 2007

Teledevelopment Training Conference

Last week I was privileged to speak at my friend Jon Kaplan's Call Center Training Conference hosted by his company, Teledevelopment Services. Obviously the topic of conversation was Training and how to do it more effectively and more economically. Talking about how BPO people learn seems to be the trend of late.

No wonder: Discourse on the lack of qualified candidates for BPO positions is considerable (with justification). Mushrooming call center academies and English training centers have recently created an industry paralleling the BPO scene.There is even an English-is-Cool initiative in a bid to attract hipsters and tastemakers archipelago-wide. Growth has created a real sense of urgency amongst recruiting staffs and industry pundits.

Urgency is just what the industry needs. That and with thoughtful ways to deal with the challenges that stand before us. These challenges pale compared to those faced during the early days of the industry when, for example, eTelecare secured an exemption to Article 130 of the Labor Code of the Philippines to allow women to work at night.

One way to address these obstacles is effective communication within the industry. Group-think about how we can cohesively build upon government initiatives like TESDA's recent scholarship program to provide subsidies for prospective BPO employees that require additional education to qualify for entry-level positions in the industry.

I think Jon neatly summarized this during the closing remarks for the speakers of the Philippines' first BPO training conference after-party. The notion that professionals can put aside competitive differences and openly address common concerns of learning engagement and organizational management is truly gratifying. His observations — how cooperation transpires within a group of competitors so tightly concentrated — speak well on the relative harmony of the Philippines BPO industry.

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