A Company with a ‘Difference’

The following post by Jerry Brady was originally published on the Accion Ambassadors Blog. Among Accion’s founders, Jerry Brady is currently working alongside Accion’s portfolio company, Vindhya, as part of Accion’s 2012 Ambassador Class. Vindhya – a company that provides data processing services – is eighty-percent staffed by “differently-abled” individuals. CFI is working specifically towards achieving full financial inclusion for differently-abled individuals through its Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities project.

On the first floor of the Vindhya office in Bangalore, India, excitement is building on a Friday evening in October.  Soon we’ll learn who won the best employee awards for the third quarter.

I’ve staged many of such events myself, but this one buzzes with a higher energy because of who is gathering and the momentum Vindhya has gathered in the last quarter.

Staff has been at work all day, as usual, on 15 projects that demand a high degree of concentration, working side by side in tight quarters. Some have been digitizing documents into master files; some recording data, often translating from one of seven languages into English; others have been making or receiving phone calls. After a full day, you might expect them to be tired.  Doesn’t look like it.

To the outsider, the work done by the Vindhya staff may look like the classic, back-office work we’ve come to associate with India, and what one expects to be truly mind-numbing. But closer examination shows skill, judgment and experience are just as important as discipline. For example, one team has been calling people who have just signed up for the first pension they have ever known. ‘Are you in the right investment, are you keeping your money at work (and not withdrawing it for a wedding, for example), can we answer any questions for you?’ they ask, 900 times a day.

Another team is analyzing business expense reimbursements. A third is assessing the qualifications of applicants to become insurance agents. A fourth is handling requests for infant and baby products out of Ireland. And so on through the list of another dozen jobs.

Beneath the veneer of sameness, there is a wealth of discrete and precise undertakings. As a small company, Vindhya has focused on the small, unique needs larger competitors might have overlooked.

On the other hand, Vindhya’s first client was Wipro, one of India’s largest companies, who is still a mainstay. Others are Indian companies in partnership with global insurance giants.

Vindhya’s clients remain loyal because their staff remains loyal – and not for months, which is often not the case in the rapid-turnover BPO (back-office processing) industry, but for years.  The reason for this longevity is evident as the first floor fills up for the award ceremony.

To read the rest of this post, visit the Accion Ambassadors Blog

Image Credit: Accion Ambassadors Blog

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