These can be quite often just baseless, non-quantified mission statements or ‘core company values’, pushed via the HR departments of medium to large-size businesses, to fill corporate quotas and flesh out the blurbs of their annual company reports.

However, despite the societal push, aiming for staff diversity (particularly in service-focused industries) can truly lead to quantifiable improved business outcomes. Working towards workforce diversity can sustain a real competitive advantage as illustrated by the company exampled.

CCI Kenya (Call Centre International Kenya), which is part of the wider CCI Global Group, is a Nairobi-based customer service management center that serves as an outsourcing partner for multinational companies who have a global delivery network (mainly companies based in UK, US, and Australia). CCI serves as a business process outsourcing BPO provider to financial firms, retail firms, and telecommunications firms. 

Quite meaningfully and to evident operational success, CCI Kenya has found that by concentrating recruitment on hiring employees from low-income, underprivileged households (from the local populace of their Kenyan HQ via a recruitment initiative titled CareerBox) and by genuinely empowering female employees to progress through their management hierarchies, they’ve managed to achieve operational excellence and become what they say is the leading BPO in Africa.

CCI Kenya – Hiring from Low-Income Backgrounds and Tackling Unemployment

For context, CCI Kenya provides outsourcing services for international companies who are looking to cost-competitively streamline their processes in customer acquisition and digital customer management strategies.

They provide outsourcing services to other companies for nearly every aspect of their desired customer journey – everything from customer contact centers (call centers for inbound calls) to customer administration processing (billing and customer loyalty schemes), marketing process support, lead nurturing, and customer acquisition to billing processing, consumer sales, and back-office administration support services. They provide these services to industries including mobile technology, leisure sectors, and telecommunications.

As CCI Kenya provides services to international companies (mainly from English-speaking native countries) and given the fact that CCI’s workforce of 3500 staff has to deliver customer service to multiple diverse products across a whole host of industries, for a whole range of companies and their customers (meeting internationals service standards and SLAs in the process), CCI needs to be able to have adaptable, diligent, and qualified English-speaking staff. CCI has both domestic and international clients.

Intuitively, to achieve this, CCI Kenya has focused on identifying, training, and hiring candidates from underprivileged townships in Kenya and placing them in entry-level digitally enabled jobs. CCI has strategically done this in line with the Kenyan Government’s Kenya Vision 2030. The Kenya Vision 2030 is a nationwide policy to “transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, middle-income country, and providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030 in a secure environment.”

Working with their sister company CareerBox, which is a company created to reduce unemployment in Kenya using demand-led training to create sustainable BPO service industry job opportunities, CCI Kenya has managed to achieve the below diversity in the workforce: 

  • 76% of CCI Kenya’s staff are hired from minimum-wage households (from Nairobi and surrounding neighbourhoods)
  • 93% of CCI Kenya’s customer service agents are CareerBox recruits
  • 98% of management promotions in CCI Kenya come from CareerBox candidates

CCI Kenya’s efforts towards achieving exceptional diversity have led to the organisation becoming the no 1 destination for business process outsourcing in Africa. CCI Kenya now supports over 30 leading international brands (they also serve domestic clients) by outsourcing their customer service, and this growth has seen CCI Kenya announce a new custom-build operation site in Tatu City, Nairobi (a 5000-seat facility to be ready in Q1 2024).

CCI Kenya – Women Empowerment

Significantly another area that CCI Kenya has focused on, is achieving exceptional gender diversity. Proudly they have achieved:

  • CCI Kenya’s workforce is made up of a 67% female placement
  • 53% of their leadership is made up by female staff (team leaders, Mid & Senior Management)

Whilst female participation in the labour market in Kenya has always been pretty stable and encompassing compared to other Sub-Saharan African countries (such as Cameroon or Mali), what CCI Kenya has managed to achieve is impressive.

A sample of CCI’s female staff provided comments on the efficacy of CCI’s workforce diversity in a recent video on their YouTube channel for International Women’s Day (8th March 2023). Speaking on why there was much benefit to CCI proudly achieving two-thirds of their staff being female, Nqobile Mpungose, a CCI Org Development Facilitator, said: “Women possess a myriad of skills suited for the fast-paced customer service industry - listening skills, patience, empathy, sympathy.” Naturally, these skills are ideal for delivering excellent customer services in high-pressure environments and for digital customer management services (dealing with customer complaints).

Prianka Naidoo, a CCI Content Developer further said: “Women are very resilient through the challenges and pressure associated with customer service.” Speaking on the career development and environment created within CCI Kenya, Nozipho Mcnwabe, a CCI Voice Accent Facilitator said: “As a woman working at CCI Kenya it gives me that opportunity for a fulfilling purpose, to have self-worth, and to have the confidence to be recognized for my craft and my potential to deliver excellent customer service."

Of course, developing management literature is showing the benefit of gender diversity. Researchers from The Center of Creative Leadership found that a higher female percentage in the workforce can reduce burnout, increases job satisfaction, increases organizational dedication, and makes an organisation an empirically enjoyable environment to work in.

CCI Kenya seems to be living up to the statement detailed on their company website: “Human connection business results”.