This approach has kept attrition rates "healthy and below the industry average", along with a 70% referral rate, shares Sudhir Agarwal, Founder & CEO, Everise.

Everise, a technology-enabled outsourcing firm, specialises in transforming healthcare and technology customer experiences globally, through a combination of customer and technical support services with AI, robotic process automation, analytics, and secure cloud-based technology.

The firm currently operates in seven markets: Malaysia, the Philippines, Ireland, Guatemala, and Colombia, with headquarters in both Singapore and the US. Behind its success is a workforce of 15,000 employees and a dedicated leadership team led by its Founder & CEO, Sudhir Agarwal, who took home the gold award for Most People-Focused CEO at the HR Excellence Awards 2022, Singapore.

In this interview, he shares how his leadership team's people-first focus has kept the company buoyant, and even grown it, through uncertain times, while continuing to drive talent attraction, management, and retention across markets.

Q Congratulations on the achievement! Could you take us through the highs and lows of your winning strategy?

Being people first has always been the foundation of everything we do at Everise. By putting people first, we ensure we have a great team in place that is clear and aligned with our goals and objectives. Our team sits at the heart of all we do, and my leadership and management strategies have always focused on ensuring we hire, engage, and reward our people well. This has served us well, enabling us to create world-class customer experiences and stand today as one of the most awarded healthcare CX companies.

While not strictly lows, there have been challenges, as is the case for any journey. Our pandemic response is a perfect example of how our people-first focus buoyed us, and even grew us, through uncertain times. We were among the first companies in the industry to pivot to work from home, equipping our people with the right tools and infrastructure they needed to work remotely and stay safe amid the pandemic.

We seamlessly transitioned our employees to work from home with minimal service disruption and the highest standards of security.

It was also of utmost importance to us to retain our employees with no layoffs, instead focusing on growing the company by winning new business and expanding our team.

Q How did the HR team identify and align the business & employee needs, and craft this perfect solution?

In a short span of six years, we set up our headquarters in both the US and Singapore, and grew our operations to seven strategic markets and a hugely talented workforce of 15,000 people. I’ve always believed in a talent-first business and Everise has been centered on that from day one. Our HR team plays a huge role in this, driving our culture of openness, respect, and diversity & inclusion.

There’s no doubt talent management and the hiring process became challenging during the evolving pandemic situation, but with their deep understanding of the various market and industry requirements, the team continued to excel in meeting the demands of our workforce and ensuring HR excellence.

We prioritise hiring the right talent for our customers and provide them with a platform where they can see themselves thriving in their careers with a supportive work culture, innovative environment, and a winning spirit – a combination that is extremely current. Staying inclusive in our hiring also means we recognise the need to provide job opportunities in key markets, and we value abilities over differences.

This approach has worked out very well for us and we are keeping pace to meet the changing needs in the industry, such as moving our sites closer to suburban areas to provide better accessibility to the workforce.

Q Could you share the results that your strategy has delivered – be it on the business, HR, or people side?

Our people-first strategy is as simple as it sounds – it can be applied to all corporate avenues and has greatly helped us in talent attraction, management, and retention. Creating meaningful and trusting relationships with our employees has helped unlock their potential, thereby increasing overall business performance. We have developed a strong employer brand that is rooted in employee motivation. This is a foundation that has helped us overcome hiring challenges and keep employee turnover at a minimum.

Some of the numbers we are proud of achieving today include – healthy and below-industry-average attrition rates, an incredible over 70% referral rate, as well as industry-leading Glassdoor and Indeed scores of 4.7 and 4.4 out of 5 stars respectively. We are honoured to also be recognised by some of the world’s leading recognitions, including being named one of Newsweek’s 100 Most Loved Workplaces in America for two consecutive years in 2021 and 2022, and bagging the Gold Stevie Award for Employer of the Year — Consumer Services in 2022. 

Q What is your message to all the stakeholders who have supported you in this journey?

Our Everise leadership team is by far the most high-performing group I have had the honour of working with. The executive team functions as the organisational and cultural DNA of the company, leading by example. The strategic focus, collaborative approach, and meaningful interactions have helped create a culture where employee engagement, talent retention, and diversity goals are not only the responsibility of the HR team but of every leader in the company.

I am immensely grateful for my team and partners who believed in my vision of building a futureproof healthcare services company, by leading with innovation.

With technology continuing to transform the way we work and live, I hope to provide more opportunities to expand our footprint, hire people from more diverse backgrounds, and upskill existing talents in an AI-powered customer experience in the years to come.

Q What are you most excited about when you think about the future of HR?

I am passionate about providing a unique employee experience at work. I strongly believe in unlocking the potential in everyone and empowering them to bring that value to the table, with personal and professional growth as their key drivers. We are also expanding into more regions and unlocking the talent pool to support our vision.

Image / Provided (Featuring interviewee leader)

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