[Executive Edge] PH is 'demographically perfect' for businesses
Traditional thinking holds that the closer the Philippine entrepreneur gets to the city, the larger the opportunity.
Bryce Maddock, the co-founder and CEO of BPO TaskUs, thinks differently. In 2009, he founded TaskUs in provincial Cavite.
The American entrepreneur found inspiration in the country’s economic rise. “I think once you've actually stepped foot on the ground in the Philippines, it's impossible not to get excited about the potential of this country,” he said.
Maddock called the country “demographically perfect” since over 50% of more than 100 million Filipinos are under the age of 25. He believed that this opportunity cut across many industries, including education, consumer, and of course, business process outsourcing (BPO). “There are just tons and tons of opportunities here," he said.
Jobs for the people
Maddock also sees America in the Philippines.
"I think what makes the Philippines a unique place, at least from an American perspective, is that there's such a connection between our two countries. English is spoken fluently here so it's very easy to get around. And the people are just so nice," he said.
That connection proved fruitful, especially in the province. The Cavite location brought TaskUs better results than would have come from being in Makati City or anywhere else in Metro Manila.
If the firm had been located in such a central location, their employees, like most urban call center agents, would lose several hours commuting each day. This level of commuting would presumably affect both work and home, making them more tired between 9 am to 5 pm.
“And so we wanted to be an employer that didn't expect people to come to us,” Maddock said. “We want to be an employer that brought jobs to where people actually lived."
This approach has clearly paid off. TaskUs recently raised a $15 million series A round and it now provides support to some of the hottest tech companies in Silicon Valley, including Tinder, Uber, and Groupon.
What’s interesting is that there is arguably little cultural divide between TaskUs and the Silicon Valley companies that it services. Maddock made it a point to model TaskUs’ culture after some of the top tech companies in the world.
It begins with their environment. “We just built a new 3-storey facility in The Fort, on the corner of 24th and 7th,” Maddock said, and added the office also boasts of a gym, massage room, and sleeping facilities.
The top 2% of performers at TaskUs have even sweeter rewards awaiting them. Every quarter, TaskUs treats them to a company vacation. “I go on the trip with them,” Maddock said. “We drink, we party, we have a really, really good time.”
Last quarter, TaskUs went to Boracay; for the next one, they will be going to Palawan. TaskUs employees also have a flexible working arrangement. “You let them decide what their breaks are going to look like, what their schedule's like. You give them the ability to have a little bit of fun,” he said.
Such perks and policies may seem like mere bragging points, but they do serve a business purpose, as with the case of flexi-time. “They then own the outcomes of their work in a much more responsible way for them," he said.
“And that helps us deliver a very consistent level of service which we feel is among the best in the industry," Maddock said.
Maddock added that his parents’ generation would not have done these things.
“And certainly most people running outsourcing businesses think like that generation,” he admitted. “I think having a fresh perspective is really helpful to identify what the employees are actually going through and what motivates and gets them excited about coming to work."
Ultimately, Maddock wants to share the prosperity of the BPO industry to as many Filipinos as possible. Since he believes that the future of work will go mobile – on phones, on tablets, on netbooks – this brings opportunity to the more than 85 million Filipinos living outside Metro Manila.
Building a platform that allows Filipinos to service their enterprise clients in a flexible arrangement, one in which they can work remotely is what Maddock wants.
“We feel that responsibility to bring work to the people, to empower them to work whenever and wherever they are,” Maddock said. – Rappler.com