Business Process Outsourcing: An Industry with a Social Purpose - TELUS International Europe

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  • Business Process Outsourcing: An Industry with a Social Purpose

    By Jeffrey Puritt 

    (Selected excerpts from Outsourcing for Social Good)

    The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry was born out of a desire to cut operating costs. However, the industry is changing considerably. Today, progressive BPOs are focused on creating an exceptional customer experience while delivering top-line value to their clients in a way that also addresses social inequities in the countries where they operate.

    At the same time, clients are evaluating BPO suppliers on more than the conventional value proposition. Clients have come to recognize that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a vital way to assess the values of a company.

    The Need for Social Change

    The need for social change is as urgent today as at any time in history. About 1 billion people around the globe will go to bed hungry tonight, 200 million of them children. But how can we align short-term business goals with long-term social objectives? What is the business value of social change and the social value of business performance?

    Progressive companies are already making social change a core pillar of their business. This includes BPOs that have now become deeply connected to and rooted in their communities in a way that is inextricably linked to the success of their businesses.

    Success in our industry can no longer be measured strictly by costs per call or number of seats in a call center. The original BPO business model has led to high attrition rates among call center agents which can translate into a gradual diminishing of customer satisfaction as brand continuity is minimized and agent dissatisfaction interferes with the customer relationship.

    Outsourcing for Social Good

    The DNA of the emerging model for the BPO industry is based on the value of a caring culture. By responsibly and ethically employing hundreds of thousands of people, BPOs have a role to play in shifting the social landscape in emerging economies around the world.

    Helping communities address basics like housing, education and clean water, enhances a company’s reputation. It becomes a sought-after place to work, making recruitment that much easier. Retention increases substantially. Agents are engaged as they feel they are making a real contribution to their families and communities through their employer.

    In creating thousands of well-paid jobs, the stability of the community is improved. People no longer have to leave their home country and family behind to earn a living. Instead they can build a more prosperous life and community right where they live. The middle class expands. All of these factors have the potential and ability to transform society in a profound way.

    What are BPOs Doing to Create Social Change?

    At TELUS International, we are dedicated to creating ongoing, long-lasting partnerships with our CSR partners, matching team members’ dedication to volunteerism with charitable organizations that need support. During the past five years, through a partnership with Gawad Kalinga (GK), we have created two villages in the Philippines. Team members volunteer at the villages every few weeks, teaching life skills, tutoring children, and empowering previously homeless people to take control of their lives. In Central America, as well as in the Philippines, we also focus on youth and education, building schools from the ground up impacting thousands of children and their families.

    Other BPOs like Convergys, Sykes and Teleperformance support everything from education, to feeding the hungry, to delivering clinical health services in the countries in which they operate. From large scale programs to individual stories of giving, BPOs are embracing this new imperative around both customer experience and social change.

    Next Steps: Outsourcing and Corporate Social Responsibility

    TELUS International will continue to explore the relationship between community involvement and social purpose, and its impact on better business performance. The objective is to advance the interests of the BPO industry and its clients in ways that also create meaningful social change.

    We’ve explored this topic in more detail, partnering with Impakt Corporation, a leading global CSR consultancy – and welcome your thoughts on our insight paper: Outsourcing for Social Good: A BPO Perspective. 

    Jeffrey Puritt Jeffrey Puritt is the President of TELUS International.


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