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8 Essential Skills for Excelling in the Dynamic BPO Industry

The Business Process Outsourcing industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, with start-ups and global brands turning to outsourcing their operations to cut costs, streamline...

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The Business Process Outsourcing industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, with start-ups and global brands turning to outsourcing their operations to cut costs, streamline operations, and improve customer satisfaction. With this trend, the demand for skilled professionals in the BPO industry has also increased. If you're considering a career in customer support, data annotation, back office, etc,  there are certain skills that you'll need to master to succeed. In this article, we'll explore the eight must-have skills essential for advancing your career in this exciting and rapidly growing field.

Curiosity and Continuous Learning

Curiosity is the number one skill everyone should cultivate. No matter your age, experience, or industry, adopting a mindset of continuous learning, will help you thrive in tomorrow’s workplace. It makes you flexible and helps you embrace our fast-changing world. By expanding your knowledge of the industry you are in, you hone your skills and open new opportunities for you as changes take place. 

So, If you want to be successful you must adopt a growth mindset and spark your desire to learn. You will stay relevant to employers and give yourself the best chance at building a successful and fulfilling life. One of the great things about this skill is that you can improve it by asking questions!   Remember every question is important, and when you find yourself in a room with experts, don’t let the opportunity pass to ask questions.  You can also do your own research.  With available technology, you can find information on your own and teach yourself about topics. 

Empathy for Yourself and Others  

Empathy is actually more important to a successful business than it has ever been.  Studies directly correlate employee empathy to company growth. Being comfortable, confident, and compassionate when communicating brings your empathy to any situation.  While this may seem like an obvious skill for any job, it can take practice and focus.  Sometimes customers are upset about something that has gone wrong.  While they are not angry at you specifically, it can come across that way.  You want to be sure when you are looking for a company to work with you can ask for de-escalation training or work with your university to find relationship-building opportunities.  We can’t emphasize the human component enough.  We often focus on hard skills like learning software, equations, and processes, but soft skills are a key factor that you don’t want to overlook.  And we can’t forget about ourselves. In today’s fast-paced world, we work with our employees and help them with the tools to take care of their mental and physical well-being.  If you don’t feel well, then it is hard for you to do your best no matter what field you decide to go into.  

What can you do to improve the skill of empathy?  One thing you can do is to make listening a priority.  This can sound easy but our brains are wired sometimes to give input.  Just slow down and take your time to hear and learn from others – and again ask questions to be sure you understand what they are asking or saying.  Try to put yourself in the shoes of the person who is talking to you and think about what they might be going through.  So, give your full attention, then wait a moment to digest what is being said, and then respond.

Critical thinking and Creativity  

In the world today you see multiple viewpoints in the news on social media and across digital tech.  All of this information and viewpoints can create information overload, so it is important to think critically to cultivate your success. Thinking critically really means analyzing issues and situations based on evidence rather than hearsay, personal opinions, or biases. When you are practicing critical thinking, you can look at different viewpoints people might have because of their history, their background, and their culture.  You can also review the validity of something and figure out what is true, and how people come to a consensus having different viewpoints. that's where the creativity part comes in.

We define creativity as the act of turning imaginative ideas into reality. So, it goes hand in hand with critically thinking about something to be creative in the solution of it. Creativity is one of the most desirable skills in the workplace, especially as more and more routine tasks are completed by machines. Improving your critical thinking and creativity skills can be similar to improving empathy but with a little more research into understanding the situation and problem-solving for it.  

Collaboration and Communication

We think about collaboration and communication as explaining your ideas and perspectives in a way that people you are working with, can easily understand. Today the nature of collaborating and building teamwork is changing.  Teams are no longer all in the same office -teams evolve to include hybrid workers, fully remote workers, contractors, and other employees who flow between projects and teams.  It can be more challenging because you are not face to face just figuring something out.   Written words don’t have inflection or verbal/visual cues and body language that can help us understand the tone of the person sending us the message.  

And once again  one of the keys to success here is active listening.  If you want to improve active listening skills, challenge yourself not to look at your various devices during meetings — instead to focus completely on speakers and take notes by hand, it’s also possible to draw pictures in your notes to help with memory retention. You can also be more collaborative if you focus on having a positive outlook.  Some people just focus on having polite conversations, some people meditate to train their brains to be positive, and some people focus on their ability to overcome challenges.  It can be a very individualized thing to determine how to be a better communicator. 

Flexibility and Adaptability

You should assess how willing and open you are to change.  Change is really hard for some people, and it can be a stressor.  In the workplace of the future, change is going to be even more of a driving factor than it is today.  There will continue to be new technology, automation of processes, the rapidly increased pace, and more and more disruptions. It is a skill to develop mental resilience to thrive in times of constant change it is about being flexible and adapting.  Flexibility and adaptability are the ability to adjust to new conditions.   Adaptable and flexible people are open-minded, curious, and willing to learn new things because they focus on opportunities, not obstacles. 

How to foster your flexibility?  The best way is to work on getting out of your comfort zone.  I watched a movie once (called I bought a zoo), and they talked about just needing 30 seconds of bravery to put yourself out there when you are not comfortable.  If change is happening that you don't feel comfortable with, it is good to write down your feelings and reactions, so you can determine why you feel a certain way and be able to distinguish major concerns that should be addressed. 

Time Management

This can be a really tricky skill since the amount of information coming to you and the ways in which information is sent to you is increasingly expanding. How you optimize your time and stick to deadlines and objectives makes all the difference in the world.  It doesn’t matter if you work from home full time, work full-time in an office, or work a flex schedule with some time in the office and sometime in the home - your ability to manage your time effectively is essential, increasing your performance and giving you an appropriate work-life balance.  I’m sure you have all heard that time management is about working smarter rather than harder. Putting in extra hours shouldn’t be necessary if you can become a master at managing your time.  If you are in tune with yourself, you can get to know when you feel most productive and use this time wisely.  

Cultivating effective time management is also critical for your mental health. When you can manage your time effectively, you create a better work-life balance to ensure you have room in your life for the things that are most important to you.

Digital and Data Literacy  

These skills can navigate you in our very digital world.  You can’t possibly know all of the tools that any future employer can use, but overall digital and data literacy skills involve your ability to use modern devices, software, and apps with confidence.  It’s important to research technology and what is possible in technology.  You can be trained on specific software easily if you understand how tech works in general and how it can help you manage, organize, and simplify work. 

In addition to understanding digital tech, data literacy is now one of the most valuable business assets.  Companies are looking for people who can manage data and use it effectively. If you think about the average business, the amount of data that an organization has is massive and it continues to grow every day.   Data literacy means being able to access data and work with it confidently.

To cultivate this skill, you can work on extracting meaning from certain data points you have access to and figuring out the best way to communicate to others what insights and conclusions you find in data. People often say data is useless unless we do something with it.  So, we have to understand what it is telling us. 

Leadership Skills

Good leadership is about bringing the best out of other people and making sure they can thrive. And leadership skills are not just necessary for managers and executives. Leadership skills will be important for every individual throughout every company – whether they are leading a specific project, process, or team. 

To grow your leadership skills, I encourage you to focus on having a growth mindset and using the tools above to create a frame of mind that reflects viewing your abilities, talents, and intelligence as skills you can grow and improve on.  If you can build a growth mindset you can look at challenges and setbacks as opportunities to identify your strengths and weaknesses so you can better tackle the next goal.

These eight skills can help professionals thrive in any industry. By adopting a growth mindset and cultivating these skills, you can stay relevant to employers like Helpware and give yourself the best chance at building a successful career.

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