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Youth around the world face challenges previous generations have not. No matter how much work they put in, many graduate ill-equipped for careers. Educational systems around the world aren’t reliably preparing youth for today’s careers, much less those of tomorrow. This lack of job-ready skills holds true in the U.S., just as much as it does in developing contexts. These challenges are not only for youth or educational systems to […]

Youth around the world face challenges previous generations have not. No matter how much work they put in, many graduate ill-equipped for careers. Educational systems around the world aren’t reliably preparing youth for today’s careers, much less those of tomorrow. This lack of job-ready skills holds true in the U.S., just as much as it does in developing contexts.

These challenges are not only for youth or educational systems to tackle.

These challenges are relevant to any company wanting to stay current, grow and thrive.

So what do today’s employers and companies need to do? And when they do address these challenges, what’s in it for them?

If you want to recruit, retaining and grow your young talent, training & ongoing development are key. For us at iMerit, this means that when we bring on new staff, their learning journey is far from over. All of our employees, from executives to newest hires, are expected to continue learning and gaining skills both on their own and with our support.

Employers must integrate skill-development into their company culture; when they do, everyone comes out ahead.

In practice, this learning is guided by a dedication to integration and usefulness. We need an integrated approach so that our workers can both work and learn. Also, we focus relevant skills like English and technology to ensure learning can be applied. Over the years, we’ve taken best practices from distance learning programs, MOOCs, self-directed learning programs and more to see what works best in our context.

The outcome is an integrated, self-directed system that allows our employees to earn a living while learning, deliver fantastic results while gaining critical skills. By empowering them to be self-driven learners, we see our employees quickly develop their own problem solving skills, and strengthen their own motivation.

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The results have shown in company culture, individual learning outcomes, and client results.

The same skill-building that enables our workers to build datasets for machine vision algorithms contributes to their personal skill sets. Each extra unit of productivity delivered to our clients is reflective of an extra unit of skill-development and personal growth. By integrating learning into company DNA, we’ve seen:

  • Industry-best levels of retention (95% and above!)
  • An increase in employee-driven initiatives
  • Employee-driven recognition of colleagues’ progress and achievements
  • Improved project metrics from beginning to end of an engagement
  • Energetic pursuit of new trends and technologies

For companies around the world, integrating skill-development into company culture can look different. It might be a more informal focus communicated from managers to their reports; it could be a company-wide initiative to take a particular online course; it could manifest as an increased budget for professional development.

No matter what, we are certain that technologies will continue changing at an increasing clip. We know we want each of our employees to feel motivated to contribute their best.

Learning is the only way to keep up.

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Last week, we introduced four of iMerit Metiabruz’s data experts. This week, we delve deeper into their stories, and get a glimpse of iMerit from their eyes. How did you first become interested in iMerit? Rukhsar: I would always notice how happy my cousin was after a shift working at iMerit, so I thought to myself, “Why don’t I give it a try?” Hearing about her experience with her friendly […]

Last week, we introduced four of iMerit Metiabruz’s data experts. This week, we delve deeper in to their stories, and get a glimpse of iMerit from their eyes.

How did you first become interested in iMerit?

Rukhsar: I would always notice how happy my cousin was after a shift working at iMerit, so I thought to myself, “Why don’t I give it a try?” Hearing about her experience with her friendly colleagues there got me really interested in joining iMerit. It seemed like a fantastic opportunity.

Arfana: I heard about so many different work centers, but when I heard about iMerit it sounded different. I learned that this organization is working for human development through the support of rural communities and their livelihoods, and it made me happy and very interested to work with iMerit.

Zaheda: There are lots of things that attracted me to working with iMerit, but the first of these would be my curiosity in learning about the IT sector and my desire to learn more about the professional world. I’ve always had a passion for technology and a desire to see myself as a more independent individual. Before joining iMerit I had spent my life as a student, but I had always wanted to have a profession of my own, one where I could see myself as an independent person. I’ve always loved learning about technology, and here at iMerit I learn about technology every day. I’ve added to my skill set, too. Now I’m a professional person and I have an identity that I can call my own.

How have you grown personally or professionally as an individual?

Mushtari: iMerit has given me the opportunity to really enhance myself. When I first joined, I had very little knowledge about computers and the IT world, but because of iMerit, I’ve had the platform to learn so many different things – networking security assembly, for example. It is in thanks to the iMerit community that I have had this opportunity to learn and grow as I have.

Rukhsar: Personally speaking, I was a very shy girl in my school days, but since joining iMerit I have developed the habit of interacting more with people. This has turned me from an introvert to an extrovert, and it has also brought immense confidence in me. Not only that – it’s also helped me to speak frequently in English. All these factors have definitely allowed me to grow as a person. Professionally speaking, after having observed my managers and fellow team leaders, I’ve noticed how hard they work and the way they speak and behave with others. I’ve tried very hard to embody similar leadership qualities that they have set as an example. This has helped me to get promoted as a Team Leader here at iMerit Metiabruz. It feels good to be recognized as a leader in this office.

What are some of the skills that you have learned while here at iMerit?

Arfana: I have learned so many things here at iMerit – it’s hard to put them all into words. I’ve been working with iMerit for around five years now, and in that time I’ve definitely developed and advanced my leadership skills. For example, I’ve learned how to motivate others, like the members of the team I lead. I’ve improved my communication skills and also learned how to learn from past failures and shortcomings. I have learned that leadership can play a large role in our career development.

Mushtari: I have learned so many things during my time here at iMerit: IT skills, management, and workplace etiquette, for example. I’ve also had the opportunity to improve my English communication skills here, too. All of these things relate to one another, so the skills I’ve

learned here get practiced again and again.

What is your favorite thing about working at iMerit?

Mushtari: My favorite thing about iMerit is that here we can learn and work

simultaneously. This is the only center in this area where girls can work; so many

girls love to join our office.

Arfana: My favorite thing is the Communication Training by Anita, the Annual Functions, and that we can learn and work simultaneously.

What would you tell someone who is interested in working with iMerit?

Rukhsar: I always talk about my office work environment to my relatives and friends. I tell them about how much I enjoy working in iMerit, as this is a center where mainly girls work. We work as a family together. iMerit gives a great opportunity to all educated girls of Metiabruz to work and earn a livelihood and become self-dependent. Not only that, several girls also help to run their family by working in this office. Lots of girls I’ve met in my community have been inspired by my experience here. After listening to my story, some have also joined iMerit.

What has been one of your most memorable experiences here at iMerit so far?

Mushtari: At the 2016 iMerit Picnic, my name was announced as the recipient of the Ownership Award. I was so shocked – I really can’t express my feelings in words now, thinking about that moment when Radha Didi (iMerit CEO, Radha Basu) presented me with the award. It was really one of the sweetest memories of my life.

Rukhsar: In the last iMerit Picnic in February, I sang a song in front of a huge, appreciative audience – it felt very good to do that. It also gave me a lot of confidence and courage to face similarly daunting challenges in the future.

Zaheda: In the beginning when I first joined, we were working a lot and faced many issues. We didn’t have very reliable internet then, but all of us were driven by our ambition. We had the curiosity to do this kind of work to the best of our ability, and we were also a symbol of women’s empowerment from our locality. All those people who thought that girls are not able to work in offices were proved wrong. We showed them that we have the power to do these things. Now, many people love to see their daughters working here in Metiabruz. Working with iMerit has been one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

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iMerit’s Metiabruz center has no shortage of drive n and talented young women redefining the role of women in their community, and blazing a trail as iMerit’s resident data experts. Four of these women take part in the Advanced Leadership Communication Training, led by Senior Communications Trainer Anita Chakrabarti. These four women – clockwise from top left, Zaheda,  Arfana, Rukhsar, and Mushtari  – are leaders among their peers, examples […]

iMerit’s Metiabruz center has no shortage of driven and talented young women redefining the role of women in their community, and blazing a trail as iMerit’s resident data experts. Four of these women take part in the Advanced Leadership Communication Training, led by Senior Communications Trainer Anita Chakrabarti. These four women – clockwise from top left, Zaheda,  Arfana, Rukhsar, and Mushtari  – are leaders among their peers, examples by which to follow. Recently, we sat  down to learn more about their journeys.

Arfana completed her Market-Aligned Skills Training (MAST) course at Anudip Foundation following her graduation, at which time she joined iMerit. After joining iMerit, she says, “[her] real life started.” Arfana began as a Data Entry Operator, and quickly moved up to the position of Team Lead at iMerit Metiabruz. In the Advanced Leadership Communication Training sessions, Arfana is jovial, happy to share with the group her thoughts and opinions. On the floor she is poised, accessible, task-oriented, and hardworking. She displays sound leadership qualities and sets an example for her juniors and colleagues.

After finishing her graduation, Rukhsar considered finding a job in Kolkata. A cousin of hers told her about an opening at iMerit, so she pursued the opportunity. She had heard that iMerit was a good office environment, and that it employed cooperative managers and support staff. Members of her family were supportive, encouraging her to pursue what they saw as a great opportunity. Rukhsar quickly completed the MAST course at Anudip, was granted an interview with iMerit, and earned the position of IT Executive, a position she holds today. On the floor, Rukhsar displays a calm and confident sense of leadership. When leading her team through a new project, whether image-matching, sentiment analysis, or something entirely new, Rukhsar remains poised, approachable, and gentle. She is a delight to work with and have as an integral part of the Advanced Leadership Communication Training.

Mushtari began her journey to iMerit through word-of-mouth knowledge from a friend of hers at school. After completing the MAST course at Anudip, Mushtari joined ExperTech Solutions as an entry-level Technician. After two months of working in this position, iMerit Chief Delivery and Development Officer Anindya Chattopadhyay called her and asked if she would be interested in being a Technical Associate at iMerit. Since then, Mushtari has advanced to the level of Senior Technical Associate. I have had the pleasure of working with Mushtari, both on the floor and in the Advanced Leadership Communication Training sessions, where her quick wit, clever mind, and conscientious spirit always add to our training sessions. As an IT expert, her know-how and contributions to the Advanced Leadership Communication Training team and the greater iMerit community are invaluable.

Zaheda has been with iMerit for quite some time. She was one of the original members of the Metiabruz team when it opened. Like the others, she also completed her MAST course from Anudip, after which she joined iMerit. Zaheda was very happy when she learned that there would be an iMerit center in Metiabruz. “We were all so happy because it had always been our dream to be more independent. We wanted to do something for ourselves and for our community. This dream came true when we learned that there would be a center here in Metiabruz,” she says. But many community members opposed the opening of the center in the beginning. Some didn’t have much faith in the idea that this center would really prove to be fruitful and supportive. But through hard work and perseverance, Zaheda and her colleagues here have changed some of these perspectives belonging to those who did not believe in their first steps. “Many people who were against this organization now appreciate these wonderful opportunities and jobs that Anudip and iMerit have created for us.”

Keep an eye out for next week’s interview with these four data experts!

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New technologies, more inclusion It feels as if new and diverse technologies are continually arising (and in some cases disappearing). In some parts of the world, new technology brings excitement and an easier way of life. In others, new technologies might leave out entire communities. Rural and suburban areas of developing countries, which often have minimal infrastructure and resources, often make up these excluded populations. However, that needn’t be the […]

New technologies, more inclusion

It feels as if new and diverse technologies are continually arising (and in some cases disappearing). In some parts of the world, new technology brings excitement and an easier way of life. In others, new technologies might leave out entire communities. Rural and suburban areas of developing countries, which often have minimal infrastructure and resources, often make up these excluded populations. However, that needn’t be the case. iMerit and other companies like Digital Divide Data and Samasource, are working diligently to bring not just resources to these often-excluded countries, but knowledge as well! Furthermore, the newest of these technology trends can reach marginalized populations more and more quickly over time. One of these newer skills sets that iMerit employees have become experts on is what we’ve dubbed SMAC or Social media, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud. Together, these are the shapers of the present and future trends in technology.

Why SMAC?

With a focus on SMAC technologies – Social media, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud Technologies – iMerit teams are entering directly into the forefront of digital trends. Whether they come from technical backgrounds, or if their work at iMerit is their first engagement with digital technologies, learning SMAC skills prepares workers for the future. At present, companies that are not using data to learn the needs of their clients, or engaging with their supporters on social media, or providing mobile-friendly ways to interact are behind, perhaps even out of the race entirely. Having knowledge of the best ways to engage with these technologies, build them, and leverage them for growth prepares our workers for a sustainable future in technology. So, how do we do it?

Building inclusive training at iMerit

Implementing a training program during working hours – encouraging workers to take a break from their work to attend sessions, and counting their training hours as work hours – may not be the traditional practice by crowd companies, or even traditional BPOs, but we are neither a traditional crowd or BPO, are we? At iMerit, we have in-house teams that continually train our workers. We also partner with Anudip Foundation to provide initial and ongoing training to our employees. In one recent training session, we worked with Anudip Foundation and joined hands with the Udemy portal, which offers more than 1000 courses in diverse skills. After the completion of many Udemy courses, students can earn valuable certifications.

For our SMAC training, we offered our employees a full course on social media, mobile, analytics and cloud platforms entirely free. Anyone who was interested in the training program could attend, and we held trainings at each of our centers. With Anudip training partners, we divided our workers into groups and cycled them through the Udemy course. Two Anudip trainers visited each of our centers to oversee the training. In our Salt Lake center in Kolkata, training was divided into two groups. One from 12:00- 2:00 twice a week, and the other from 2:30-4:30. In this training our workers – and myself as I attended the training, too! – learned about the basics of HTML; social media marketing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest; how to use the cloud securely and efficiently and much more. The training took us to the core of each topic, giving us a good foundation upon which to become an experts. It was a great learning phase for each of us, and prepared all of us to take on ever more complex and exciting projects.

This is just some of the training we have access to as iMerit workers. Check out how we get ready to work on sentiment analysis projects, too!

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via Devex Impact iMerit’s dedication to connecting marginalized youth and women with global digital employment opportunities was featured in Devex Impact. iMerit is part of a growing movement in companies and organizations seeking to direct what is a $300 billion outsourcing industry towards people in developing countries seeking skills and employment opportunities. “Socially responsible outsourcing,” where technology is used to connect poor and marginalized communities to digital work, forms part […]

via Devex Impact

iMerit’s dedication to connecting marginalized youth and women with global digital employment opportunities was featured in Devex Impact.

iMerit is part of a growing movement in companies and organizations seeking to direct what is a $300 billion outsourcing industry towards people in developing countries seeking skills and employment opportunities. “Socially responsible outsourcing,” where technology is used to connect poor and marginalized communities to digital work, forms part of the future of work.

This future of work features young mend and women benefiting from the fast-pasted tech industry to get out of poverty.

iMerit and other organizations in this movement – like Samasource and Digital Divide Data – hope that this impact-ledmodel of building supply chains and meeting critical business needs will create a system where socially-conscious decisions are the norm.

In the end, this could open up millions of highly relevant opportunities for a wide range of communities around the world.

[Read more.]

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