When the first wave of lockdowns was implemented across the globe, enterprises were still in the process of rebooting their operations amidst travel and social distancing restrictions. On the other hand, talent pools of tier-1 cities mass-migrated back to their hometowns (tier-2 and tier-3 cities). Downsizing capacity at physical workplaces, and investing in remote digital operations was a common trend across industries, but the shift was quicker in the BFSI industry, owing to the criticality of financial products and services in mobilizing resources in the economy. Going forward, the talent strategy for these enterprises must reflect one major trend.
Tier 2 & 3 in focus: here’s why
The BFSI sector in its current shape relies strongly on the workforce to scale capacity across functions - be it customer-facing sales and support roles, asset and risk management, or back-office processes. To resume operations after the lockdowns began, digital investment allowed companies to support these functions by letting their employees work remotely. As employees return to their hometowns to quarantine with their families, enterprise operations are now digitally interconnected and geographically distributed.
This shift is also confirmed by the declining property rates and lagging construction projects in tier-1 cities while tier-2 cities are seeing a flourishing real-estate sector. As employees work remotely from their hometowns, tier-2 and tier-3 towns are also undergoing a concurrent shift in telecommunications infrastructure. A surge in demand for high-speed broadband connections and digital devices will ultimately render these geographies ready for the future of work, where enterprises orchestrate their operations efficiently while leveraging a workforce distributed across the country.
Apart from improving infrastructure, the demand for outsourcing from offshore companies is also trickling down to India’s tier-2 and tier-3 towns. In fact, a US-based company is already scaling its operations by leveraging talent from towns like Bhopal, Indore, and Lucknow. But what does this shift entail for enterprises in the BFSI sector?
Enterprise operations: then and now
As the visibility, accessibility, and viability of hiring talent beyond tier-1 cities rises, enterprises are set to differentiate themselves by reducing costs and bringing newfound resilience by maintaining a reliable talent pipeline distributed across the country. While hiring beyond tier-1 cities remains limited to entrylevel jobs and expanding customer support capacities at reasonable costs, thought leaders forecast a new paradigm of skill-based hiring for senior roles too, in the future.
To leverage this newfound talent pool, enterprises must bring themselves up to a level of digital maturity that supports distributed, digital and remote operations by:
- Investing in remote enablers: As team members connect from their homes, supporting inbound customer queries on mobile devices, enabling device-agnostic connectivity to the enterprise network, and ensuring secure connectivity is critical to efficiently orchestrate BFSI operations remotely.
- Shift to cloud solutions: Cloud-hosted IVR and chat services, security solutions like virtual enterprise firewalls, and customer data management solutions bring not only enterprise-wide visibility into a geographically distributed workforce, but also centralized control and responsiveness. A key by-product of cloud adoption is the newfound location-agnostic agility that can be injected into operations - in the BFSI sector, this has enabled many enterprises to salvage their legacy products with rapid modernization through the cloud.
- Build reliable information highways: While enterprise networks were previously limited to physical workplaces, today, the network structure looks very different. The variety and number of devices and locations in conjunction with a global shift in network traffic patterns call for reliable smart internet solutions that effortlessly handle bandwidth allocation with near-zero downtime and at low latency.
- Securing operations beyond walls: For BFSI enterprises, cybersecurity should now be a strategic initiative built into the operations strategy from the get-go. Securing the flow of data with connectivity and endpoint security solutions is critical to building trust and winning digital business.
Trends in talent relocation might be here to stay for several job profiles, and enterprises must therefore reinvent their talent strategy to reflect these changing dynamics. To leverage this new pool of resources, companies must build a solid enterprise core that can support remote operations efficiently in the first place. It is only a matter of time when leading companies leverage talent beyond tier-1 cities to find costbased competitive advantage.