Here we are, after 13 long years… and yet, it all seems just like yesterday, when we started off as Helios Global Services. Focusing primarily on BPO back-end and finance recruitments, our basic premise was to set up a service sector business – something that allowed effortless entry and where capital investment was next to none. We had no relevant qualifications or experience, no plans for scalability or creating a brand USP, and had given no thought to the exploration of investment avenues – no angel investors, VCs, external funding or even a cursory valuation. All we thought about was how to grasp as many business opportunities available with as little investment as possible.
Back then, the recruitment market was hot. The employment opportunity sections of newspapers were teeming with offers, and the exclusive job editions were thicker than the actual newspapers themselves. Manpower – freshmen or experienced, greenhorns or seasoned professionals – everyone was in great demand. To land a job, all one needed was above average communication skills in the English language. If you could read, write and speak fluently in English, other job skills and domain knowledge could be acquired through trainings. The BPO industry was just setting up shop in India, and so the domain skill expectations of employers were at an all time low. Opportunities in call centres required good English language skills; accounts, finance or back-end jobs could do with average proficiency, while data entry had minimal language requirements.
The market scenario made us apprehensive about whether we could actually survive and achieve a firm footing in the call centre recruitment arena. And so, we targeted finance and the back-end job segment. Our first success was huge. We bagged GE Capital International Services aka Gecis – now known as Genpact due to GE’s diluted stake – also considered to be the father of the BPO industry in India. Our intense labours over a period of 2 months bore fruit, when we closed our first finance associate position and earned our first pay check – a precious 5000 bucks. The amount was small but the motivation and confidence it gave us was invaluable. It was an assurance that we had arrived and were here to stay! After that, there was no looking back. Awards and accolades from clients flowed freely, business grew on its own accord without any special efforts; our client list grew by word of mouth. We had gained credibility with senior HR personnel, who recommended us every time they switched jobs.
The year 2011 marked a major growth spurt in our journey. Our new venture, Helios HR Solutions Pvt. Ltd. was founded to cater to the new avenues of contractual staffing. Our success continued as we helped our client, FIS, recruit large pools of resources in amazingly short timeframes. Deadlines were met, process delivery requirements were fulfilled, and our clients were happy! We rolled out the red carpet and welcomed MGI Infra Pvt. Ltd. and the Income Tax department, Haryana, marking a new chapter in our journey.
And so did the golden phase of BPO recruitments. The market shift was sudden and unexpected, and demand for talent dropped like a lead balloon. Cheaper manpower caused call centres to migrate to the Philippines and today, a majority of all major BPO players have an existence there. And it was pretty obvious why – lack of quality resources, dropping levels of interest in BPO jobs coupled with rocketing real estate costs and burgeoning salaries were reason enough to opt for an economical destination.
Ever-increasing delivery costs, a widening skill gap and other factors further marred the opportunities for newer client processes to flow to India. Even today, there are no ramp-ups, hiring has shrunk to more of a back-fill and even with that, organizations aren’t in a hurry to fill up open positions.
Today, the recruitment market has matured and there has been a paradigm shift in the way hiring happens. The mad rush to meet targets and numbers has been replaced by a methodical and process-oriented approach to hire quality resources – the multi-taskers, people with special skill sets, and resources that bring real and tangible value to the organization.
It wasn’t just the BPO industry that took a hit. Automobile, manufacturing, real estate, telecom, retail and other industries were equally affected by a rapidly decelerating global economy. Add to it the high interest rates and rising inflation levels, and consumers were left with very little in their hands resulting in a huge fall in demand.
Our experience made us realize that the recruitment industry was on the cusp of a major paradigm shift. Cost-conscious clients had started posing questions about the value additions that recruitment consultants could bring to their business. Job portals were mushrooming everywhere. An ever increasing social media presence made it increasingly easier for employers to hunt down the resources they needed. And there was nothing wrong with it. Clients were in no hurry to hire, we were not providing tangible value additions, and so our business plateaued first and then declined steadily.
Drilling deep into our process and functions and after rigorous and extensive analysis, we came up with a newer recruitment method – one that adds value to a client’s business and stood out from other vanilla recruitment services.
Leveraging cutting-edge technology, we achieved two important objectives of client’s requirement needs – quality of sourcing and recruitment timelines. Going beyond keyword searches, spamming client inboxes with resumes, and stressing them out with feedback emails; we took a deeper approach. Now, we scrutinise numerous profiles before narrowing down on a select few that we deem fit for client needs. This scrutiny uses technology to conduct detailed assessments, subject matter experts’ intervention and a thorough research of the client’s hiring pattern along with the need for process sustenance and growth.
To err is human…and all business run on a potent yet volatile combination of the human brain and heart. We too committed our share of mistakes which included faulty planning, short-sightedness, a reduced focus on numbers, and not diversifying our portfolio.
We made these mistakes, we bore the brunt…and we learned. Today, we are more aware of our environment, we are more focused, we understand the need of value addition to the client’s business. It is now that we talk about scalability and creating a unique value proposition in our business.
We are reborn…a totally new entity, which can almost be considered a start-up but with the energy, vigour, and focus derived from our enriched experience.
The new “us” aims to be in a consulting role for both, clients as well as candidates, and hopes to bridge the information gap for better synergy and rapid growth.
Today, we are more research-driven, with a conscious and perpetual effort to know our prospective clients well, understand their environment, and the industry they are functioning in. We endeavour to understand their current challenges and visualize the ones that may arise both, in the short term and in the long run.
If your business figures in our client list, we know you well. We won’t approach a client unless we know we can serve you well. If we can’t, we will develop the necessary capabilities and then come knocking at your door.
We are learning to diversify and our effort is to serve a maximum number of industries, without making tall claims and with the conviction that we can deliver on our promises. We are aiming for optimum delivery to our existing clients before reaching out to others. Slow but steady is our new mantra!
A number of reasons actually:
1. Heliosglobalservices.com was not easy to remember, pronounce or spell for users
2. It was a long name
3. At times, you derive newer energy and vigour by doing as simple a thing as changing your name
4. We are aware of the various government and private reports on the shortage of skilled resources in India and how it is impacting overall economic
5. Growth and employment. Our determination stems from the fact that we want to fight this stigma and contribute in our nation’s growth.
6. We have undergone a complete overhaul – newer ideas and redesigned work processes… it’s like a new “us” now.