Who are RuralShores?
As a social enterprise, RuralShores, that started with 15 employees in 2009, they have grown in to an organisation of 3,800 strong across 18 locations, who work with the local communities to skill close to 14,000 people and counting.They have clients across multiple industries and we started working with them in 2013, providing supporting services to 7 key accounts as well as providing services for Accenture internally.
Their mission is to Enskill – Employ – Empower – Engage, with the objective of creating sustainable employment for 1 Million rural youth across the 500 rural districts of India. Many of these young people will be able to support their seasonal family income with a steady monthly income, by up to an additional 50%, without having to migrate to the next big city.
The first thing that strikes you is the passion and commitment that the leadership team shows towards making this a success. We met with 6 of the people who make RuralShores great and each one of them spoke with conviction about the social enterprise that they have created, continue to grow and develop.Their passion is replicated on the floor where we have over 400 people, across 7 processes, 4 delivery centres (soon to be 5) and servicing clients in F&A, Digital marketing, Order entry and management, Data management, Learning & Development and Mortgage services.They also honour all our security requirements (they have fingerprint scanners for access) and we have worked with them to ensure data security and compliance.
The things that impressed me about RuralShores
They have worked with the local community to drive diversity in to the workforce, encouraging woman to come in shift periods that suit them.All though we only have 20% diversity on our account, this is significantly higher than expected because of the local community constraints, such as families not wanting their daughters to be working or spending late hours in an office.The RuralShores team have also done a great job of attracting and developing some key female leaders within the team which again encourages other women to join.
Added to this, they employ close to 10% specially-abled resources (31 speech and hearing challenged and 4 physically challenged) who compete with their able-bodied counterparts in exceeding their performance targets.Their dream of inclusivity and diversity found its roots in the Bagepalli Center near Bangalore and RuralShores continues to drive these initiatives across all their centres.
They report 8% attrition but in the centre that I visited, it was closer to 2%.Their “home grown” operating model supports building a sense of community and this ensures their attrition is low. They do see people leaving after 4-5 years but this is generally to gain more growth and development and can be natural migration to the larger cities.
Their confidence in presenting their journey, their deep content knowledge, their enthusiasm for the work is inspiring.I personally could not enter the data they do consistently, 300 times a day – and in some instances, they are entering close to 30 fields in the space of 50 seconds and it is in a foreign language (the example I saw was Polish).
They have also invested in their leadership which means they are driving the right Operations behaviors.
Their attention to detail and ability to process complex data fast and accurately – meeting all their SLA’s every month, is impressively consistent.With a learning curve of 12 weeks in the beginning, they have reduced their average handling time from 15 minutes per transaction to under 3 minutes with 96-100% accuracy in critical fields.
The teams were excited to show their control charts and despite the short period they have been in operation, the productivity they had driven though learning curve and process improvements.They have also started seeding experience in to upcoming waves to make sure we get consistency in service for new processes/countries and provide year on year cost benefit to both us and our clients, achieving a 5% productivity release to date.
The things to bear in mind
If you have data entry services with limited to no voice, RuralShores should be considered.
The cost vs benefit equation on this one for me is a no brainer. You won’t always get experienced CA’s, C1 language skills or graduate level knowledge but for half of your cost, you will get unmatched stability and high quality output (and you get the feel-good factor of supporting a local social enterprise while doing it).An example of this on my project is that despite a 300% spike in volumes, the team still managed to process 88% within the 15 minute required turn-around-time and maintained the accuracy SLA, which even our client commented was an incredible success story.
This is an English only service offering but they can do multi-country delivery.
We have worked with the RuralShores team to build capability for them capture transactions with similarly high accuracy and average handling time metrics for Poland including recognising Poland individual and place names. Based on this success, we are now exploring with them to take on all European, Middle East & China transactions.
Moving service to RuralShores does requires strong Transition leadership.
Strong Transition leadership, who understands the strengths and capabilities of RuralShores and works with them and the delivery teams, is instrumental in getting the right interlock. Because if the robust training model and performance expectations they have, it may take longer to mobilise and train which will need to be factored in to any planning.You will need to ask your transition teams to work closely with RuralShores to ensure that the right work is sent to them in a structured way and that they are given enough time to reach the proficiency that they are comfortable with (they take tremendous pride in what they do and hate to fail)
Plan to visit, at least once.
It is hugely impactful for them to see the client and our leaders on the floor, especially during their recognition cycle. I also found it incredibly inspiring to see their performance and enthusiasm for the services they were providing.This was one of the highlighted of my 2 week visit to India and if you ever get the opportunity I would say go! And if not, then definitely find an opportunity to work with them! For more information on RuralShores, check out their website: http://ruralshores.com/ and for guidance on how to work with them in Accenture, please reach out to Jay Bajaj at email@example.com
Heather Orton – Global Transition Lead, Accenture.