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Monday February 6th, 2023

Diversity, inclusion, and values: How Voigue empowers businesses in a volatile world

Hansani Bandara, General Manager (right), and Onali Induruwage, Manager – People and Culture, of Voigue

Large-scale businesses typically turn to BPOs for several reasons: to benefit from cost arbitrage or for greater focus on their core operations in an intensely competitive and volatile business world, while offshore companies in another country or continent, micro-manage their non-core functions like accounting, finance, and human resource management.

Voigue is an Australian BPO company specializing in value-added Human Resource Outsourcing (HRO) solutions out of its hub based in Sri Lanka. What makes it a unique HRO enterprise, and an impactful one at that, is its singular focus on helping small- and medium-sized businesses, or SMEs, scale faster by offering an extensive range of solutions that go above and beyond traditional HRO services.

Voigue’s Hansani Bandara, General Manager, and Onali Induruwage, Manager – People and Culture, explain how uncompromising values and a meritocracy fostered a culture of diversity and inclusion is helping Voigue succeed in transforming SMEs in Australia.

Voigue is a relatively young company. What sets the company apart from the rest, and why does diversity matter to you?
While we provide all HR-related services to our clients, we also offer several other services, from accounting and finance to tech support. Our other services include network support, software support, virtual assistance, contact centre services, digital marketing, technical support, e-commerce solutions, customer service solutions and quality assurance. So, for example, apart from taking care of every facet of human resource management on behalf of a client, we also help them source the best talent and the best fit to help them deploy technology, develop better products and services, improve processes for greater efficiencies, enhance customer service or increase online sales, and much more.

SMEs often do not have the means, nor the resources, to access the talent and tools necessary to scale. Voigue bridges those gaps so that companies can grow faster. So Voigue helps businesses manage their human resources and scale them for faster growth. In other words, we give them the reach to access talent that larger companies typically enjoy.

That is one aspect of what makes Voigue great. The second is the breadth and depth we bring to decision-making, management, and employee well-being for clients. We provide an elevated level of managerial sophistication that most small and medium enterprises may not possess, including effective communication across widely-dispersed teams and crafting policies that foster innovative work cultures and enhances employee well-being. With work-from-home and outsourcing gaining traction since the Covid-19 outbreak, businesses struggle to engage meaningfully with scattered teams.

Bringing people together wherever they may be around a strong culture and shared vision is what we do best at Voigue. Fostering diversity, inclusion and employee well-being is our primary concern – they are essential elements for us to succeed in empowering our clients and critical attributes of who we are at Voigue.

What makes Voigue successful in what it does?
We are successful in what we do because diversity, equality and inclusion are part of the Voigue DNA. In turn, we pass on those values to our customers, and together we make a difference.
The nature of our business requires our employees to directly engage with customers and get involved in their decision-making processes.

However, we are connected to them only virtually, with around 40% of our people working from home permanently. Making the work of everyone under our wing visible as they work on different projects with different companies is crucial. Hence, the need to ensure a higher level of honesty, integrity, and connectivity among our teams to exceed customer and employee expectations of Voigue. For that reason, we are governed by a value-based business proposition called EPICT – equity, productivity, integrity, compassion, and togetherness. Facilitated by EPICT, we encourage employees to be open, constantly communicate and engage with each other and managers, and deliver on expected outcomes on time.

How has better inclusiveness impacted the business?
We believe in the unique ability and strengths of everyone we recruit. Our goal is to enhance those skills and nurture our teams to match the requirement of the clients. Our hiring and promotions are performance-based and professional development and qualifications matter. That approach to people management has created a vibrant and diverse workforce at Voigue – 53% female and 23% minorities.

That itself fosters further diversity and inclusion among the team. We have realized, through various experiments we carried out, that a balanced representation of both males and females helps retain the best people and makes hiring quality employees easier. This has strengthened stakeholders and internal partnerships throughout the years and the Sri Lankan operation has grown beyond anyone’s expectations.

How do you build acceptance for a culture that is inclusive across the organization?
We ensure that every action the company takes follows our EPICT values, allowing us to deliver excellence, every time. In terms of the team, they are hired and promoted solely on qualifications, experience, and performance.

Meanwhile, we practice a transparent culture where anyone is welcome to discuss with the management the grievances or suggestions they have. We are a single team driven by shared values by our people and our clients. Our clients rely on us to instil these values and build an enterprising culture. All these factors despite the nature of the work we do, have allowed us to build a well-connected and diverse team with exciting prospects for growth in the near term as we enhance our relevance as not just an enabler of small and medium businesses, but a transformer.