“You need to be able to prioritize. The safety of our employees is paramount.” This was the main message of BPO industry veteran Bong Borja, President of Asia-Pacific Operations for Alorica, during the Breakthrough Leadership panel discussion at the Contact Islands 2021 Virtual Conference organized by the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP).
The week-long conference, themed “Re-Igniting Growth in the New Business Environment,” gathered companies in the local contact center space where Alorica Inc., a global leader in customer experience (CX) solutions, is one of the major players with over 40,000 employees across 17 sites in the Philippines.
Throughout the event, discussions revolved around new operating models that can help companies navigate through the new business environment significantly transformed by the pandemic, with employee health and safety being a top concern. This, as firms like Alorica, continue to operate business as usual while remaining compliant with COVID protocols and quarantine restrictions.
Alorica President of Asia-Pacific Operations Bong Borja shares insights during CCAP’s Breakthrough Leadership virtual round table with CCAP President Jojo Uligan and fellow business leaders Bea Lim (TeamAsia), Mitch Locsin (PLDT), Peter Maquera (Globe), Eric Simonson (Everest Group), and Dr. Jesse Sostrin (Salesforce). ANC Anchor Mimi Ong moderated the session.
Leadership in times of crisis
“You have to stand your ground,” Borja responded when asked about the toughest decision he has had to make during the pandemic. “We had to keep our employees safe, while looking after our clients, as well.”
He further adds that this entailed implementing a work-at-home (WAH) setup and ensuring that employees had access to a stable internet connection. Alorica also hired buses early on to shuttle people in and out of their sites, which was considered an unprecedented move at the time. To care for employees’ mental health as well, Alorica expanded its ongoing counseling service to ensure that employees have access to 24/7 support. Transitioning from working on site to a home office may not be a smooth process for some, so providing this service helped employees cope or even deal with pandemic-related anxieties. It was also important to maintain Alorica’s familial culture that fosters connectedness among employees, so the company still found ways to successfully organize employee engagement activities such as virtual games/tournaments, town halls and recognition events.
Aloricans transitioned to Work at Home at the onset of the pandemic, but they remained adaptable and connected with the help of wellness and engagement programs.
Borja also stressed that as a leader in times of crisis, consistency in messaging and getting clients on board are both key. “Employees look to you; they seek guidance from you. It is critical, therefore, that one delivers on their promises consistently. Over time, the results will come.”
Growth in the face of challenges
Despite what has been a truly challenging period for the industry not just in Asia but around the world, Borja himself is surprised by the company’s results, which he attributes to how everyone in Alorica rallied around shared goals. Constant feedback loops also help provide insight on the employee pulse, and this helps give direction on what initiatives to drive to constantly improve performance and increase employee satisfaction amid an ever-changing work environment.
“We expect to close the year with 32% topline growth compared to the prior year,” he shares. “We’re setting records both in revenue and profitability which is remarkable considering we’re in the middle of a pandemic.” This growth is mainly driven by clients from industries that have seen increased demand, such as telco and e-commerce. Growth was also seen as Alorica continued to hire amid the pandemic, even welcoming workers who have been displaced from pandemic-impacted industries such as hospitality and travel.
Returning demand for offshoring
Painting an equally positive picture for the broader contact center industry, Borja sees demand for offshoring—the practice of outsourcing operations overseas—returning to the Philippines, and along with it, a spike in the need for contact center employees as well as digital solutions.
As that continues to happen, Borja says, Alorica is ready as ever. The company has moved beyond the traditional voice-based services, and continues to innovate in its offerings to help optimize the customer experience. Content moderation, CX analytics, and other cloud-based, multi-channel solutions make up Alorica’s broad portfolio to meet client requirements.
“The nice thing about being part of an experienced and scalable company is that you’re able to fulfill your promise towards career growth and progression, which has consistently been demonstrated across our leadership team.”
Alorica in the Philippines continues to grow and hire for roles spanning customer experience operations and corporate support functions. To find out more about our job opportunities, visit our career page at www.alorica.com/careers/philippines/.