Setting benchmarks in operating a commercially sustainable company, B2R has demonstrated that a remote, rural BPO can stand tall among the world’s best impact sourcing providers. Since its inception in 2009, it has disbursed direct wage payments of US$ 3.8 million (approximately INR 26.3 Crore) to employees from about 135 villages in the difficult mountainous region it operates in at the Himalayan foothills. In a region that earns an estimated US$ 20(INR 1500) a month, spending capacity of families of B2R employees has increased nearly six to seven times to US$125-150 (INR 10000-12000).
However, the outcomes for erstwhile unemployed youth who now support their families with this secure employment go beyond the economic empowerment they and their families benefit from. Because they are professionally employed in full-time jobs, they are guaranteed government-mandated minimum wage and benefits like healthcare, gratuity and paid leave. This protects them from the vagaries of the informal economy that characterizes 88% of India’s workforce.
Identifying potential leaders early, team members are given additional coaching and skills building training sessions to prepare them for higher roles. Many former staff are employed in leadership positions in large companies and have gone on to meet their life goals with confidence and robust skill sets.
B2R places great emphasis on creating a positive work environment, and several initiatives reflect this ethos. Since its inception, the priority accorded to employee health and happiness, their professional growth and skill building has resulted in an exceptional sense of ownership that has served the company well in difficult times. During the COVID pandemic, for example, the teams devised creative ways to ensure uninterrupted delivery of client services. When a complete lockdown was announced overnight across India, team members sourced and transported computers to employees’ homes in the villages, resolved connectivity issues, redesigned processes to work securely with limited infrastructure and set up small self-managed clusters that delivered the desired results.
The benefits to the growth and stability of the business are manifold. Since its inception in 2009, B2R has done business of US$ 8.11 million (INR 57.10 Crore) with year-on-year growth of about 20% to 30%. From an approximate monthly revenue run rate of INR 2 lakhs ($3,200) in 2010 it now generates a current monthly revenue run rate of approximately US$ 96,000 (INR 75 lakhs).
B2R’s customer base has grown from two Indian companies in 2009 to 47 international and domestic companies at present. One Fortune 500 client has seven other global sites in South Asia for the same work done by B2R, and for the past three years, B2R site has been ranked one of the highest in quality and cost efficiency, further evidence of the value of blending social impact. Satisfied customers in small, medium as well as Fortune 500, customers have grown their business with B2R, some even shifted their work from other low cost geographies back to India.
Since Impact sourcing is at all levels of operation, all staff are hired from villages near the centres. A positive outcome is the remarkably low annual attrition rate of about 10-15%, a stark contrast to the industry standard average of 25-50%. Low attrition rate also enables process stability, as a result of which some clients have been retained since B2R’s inception in 2009. With increased customer confidence, B2R has built a reputation of reliability and quality, enabling its growth and domain expertise across several business areas like publishing, financial, legal, HR services, localization and data annotation.
Since hiring is done from Tier C and D locations as part of impact sourcing in B2R’s hiring policies, the operating costs are lower by 25% – 45% as compared services offered by a traditional urban BPO services provider. This marks a substantial advantage when bidding for client requirements and enables the company to garner larger business volumes, which in turn, enables further employment opportunities for rural youth.