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No different from the best

The differently-abled are the engine of growth at this company.

E. Kumar Sharma | Print Edition: Feb 6, 2011

Javaraiah Siddaiah was just 28 when he joined Vindhya e-Infomedia, a business process outsourcing, or BPO, company, as a data-entry operator and as one of its first 10 employees in 2006. Today, in the high-attrition BPO industry, the differently-abled Javaraiah is still with the company. He handles a team of 45 and looks after a process that accounts for 30 per cent of the Bangalore-based company's revenues.

Number of employees: 187

Number of differently-abled employees: 170

Rate of attrition: 10%

Male, Female employee ratio: 4:6

Training per employee in a year (hours): 100
Javaraiah, as he is better known, is not alone: the differently-abled account for 95 per cent of the staff of over 180. "Of the 23 employees who joined us in the first year, 17 are still with us," says D. Ashok Giri, Founder and CEO. Giri and his wife Y.S. Pavithra, the Managing Director, founded the company. Their focus was on hiring differently-abled people. First, regular employers ignore this segment. Second, good talent can be found here to run a for-profit business. Says Giri: "We hire people from different sources. The selection process is divided into three rounds. The first thing we look for is attitude… if a person has an attitude to do something in life, he can achieve anything. Second, we look at skills such as typing speed, and we have a written test with English and computerrelated questions. Finally, there is an interactive session."

Giri runs Vindhya e-Infomedia like a regular business, with weekly and monthly performance incentives for the best workers. "The top performers get a cash prize and recognition.'' But does he fire people, like in a normal business? Just one or two since inception, says Giri, and only for behavioural concerns. "We try and help employees improve their performance and skills," says Giri. The twostoreyed office was designed for the differently-abled.

Giri says the opportunity given to them cements the emotional bonding with the company. "For more than 90 per cent of our employees, Vindhya is the first workplace... The loyalty factor plays a very important role among them. Also, being with others and helping them to cope and mentoring the new recruits helps," he says. All this has translated into good business. Giri claims it has doubled each year. "From a turnover of Rs 7 lakh in our first year, 2006-2007, we hope to touch Rs 2.5 crore this year," says Giri. Among his major clients are Wipro, MindTree, IndusInd Bank, Ujjivan and Janalakshmi.

MindTree has been working with the company since mid-2009. Says Sindhu Subhashini, head of human resources, or Anuka, the Sanskrit word MindTree uses for the post: "It sticks to timelines and delivers with zero error." In the first six months, the company digitised all of MindTree's employee records. Now, it works 15 days a month to handle the digitisation of records of new recruits.

Says Abhijit Ray, Director and Co-founder of Unitus Capital, who has known the company for the last 18 months: "Their business model addresses both commercial and social needs and yet is successful with timely delivery and quality. The company also stands out in the way it treats its employees, particularly the rural manpower that it hires and brings into the mainstream."

Giri says he would like Vindhya to be a 5,000-people company five years from now, specialising in processing documents for microfinance institutions as well as for banking, financial services and insurance, apart from HRrelated services. "We are sufficiently funded," he says.

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