How Invensis hires under-qualified people and converts it into a competitive advantage

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InvensisAccording to statistics, education plays an important role in enhancing employment and fighting poverty. But in a job market where a higher degree stands a better chance, competition for a job becomes tough. In such a scenario, under-qualified people are at a disadvantage.

Today we will tell you a story of a company which is giving another chance to under-qualified people.

Started in 2000, Bangalore-based Invensis is a BPO which works for clients in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, SEA and other European countries.

SocialStory spoke with Arvind Rongala, Business Development Manager of Invensis, who told us more about the company and how they are including under-qualified people among their employees. “Our company started in 2000 and over the years we got more projects to execute.  The cost of doing the project is quite low. So price competition is pretty high. Being in a city like Bangalore, where costs are pretty high, salary plays a big role. This prompted us to ask ourselves: should we go with under-qualified people too? Will they be able to deliver?  It was 2004-06 and as we gave them this opportunity we saw they wanted to really work hard and they delivered with their amazing work,” says Arvind.

Giving an opportunity to under-qualified people was not a CSR project, but a strategy that brought different advantages to the company. “We give our employees equal opportunity. And we always experiment. That’s the best way to excel. You can hire an MBA graduate, but sometimes you can have the same results from other people thus saving money at the same time. For sure, this can’t be applied everywhere, but is worth a try. We don’t believe in differentiating people based on education qualification. We look beyond that. Unfortunately, when companies become a certain size, policies/strategy change, but for now we are really open to what we are doing. Multinationals will not do what we do, but we are not IBM. We want to give opportunities to other people,” explains Arvind.

The impact of this strategy is pretty high and has already reached a good scale in the company. “In the last 14 years, we have given opportunities to over 200/300 employees who are under-qualified. We have also moved into tier 3 cities in Andhra Pradesh. We had 30 employees and now they are 200+. We were skeptical about the fact that we didn’t have enough qualified people, but after giving them an opportunity with basic education, they were able to make our company big,” adds Arvind.

When we asked him to share a story of impact inside his company, Arvind didn’t have any doubt. “Our account manager is not even seventh grade pass, but he was with us for 37 years (in my grandfather’s business). He is part of our family. He was employed in a gas station and we saw that his handwriting was really nice. So we taught him how to manage accounts. He has now joined Invensis. He is more qualified than a chartered accountant. If you give an opportunity to people and show them the right direction they are able to outperform,” shares Arvind with pride.

Besides including under-qualified people, Invensis employs people with disabilities. “We have also employed differently-abled people.  Most of them have data entry job descriptions and they are tracked and their incentives are decided based on the quality and on the quantity of their performances. This is not just a project about inclusion, it’s more a policy and a strategy,” says Arvind.Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 16.33.50

Even though this strategy is working out very well, Arvind wants to underline that not all their employees are under qualified. “We don’t take only under-qualified people. We just don’t say no to them. But we do have a lot of qualified people. So it’s very important to manage them in the perfect way. We don’t differentiate qualified and under-qualified people and we don’t encourage any distinction,” says Arvind.

This new approach to HR is very interesting and for sure not common, judging from his answer to this last question. “If I should define a perfect employee I would say people who understand the business side of the project and those who are doing quality work. But especially people who want to excel for every task they do,” adds Arvind.