Sudeep Mishra, Co-founder and Managing Director, TresVista, a global outsourcing service provider, gets candid with All Things Talent as he talks about TresVista’s business journey and growth over the years, the company’s policies toward human capital, and how they help their employees find a new job.
Could you give us an overview of TresVista’s business services?
We have been in the business for 16 years now and have essentially diversified our portfolio. Primarily, we are still serving private equity, but today we also serve industrial banks, real estate hedge funds, and even public and technology companies in the US. Our cost service still remains researching investments so that hasn’t really changed, and that’s the backbone of who we are – finance professionals for the most part at TresVista in terms of delivery, but that service portfolio has grown – CFO office services, data analytics which includes predictable analysis, etc to help portfolio companies.
CFO services are more around bookkeeping for these funds, BDS services managing CRM, and design services as well. We process support services to manage low-end activities for BPO and low-end KPO. We have now doubled in size with about 1200 people, scaling extremely fast, and will be close to 2000 by the end of this year. In the last two years, we opened multiple offices, Bangalore is one of them and we are opening three more just this year itself. So, in a nutshell, that’s where things are right now.
Where do most of the business come from? What is India’s contribution?
If you look at our business and what we do in terms of diversified services, it mostly comes from overseas. Primarily, it’s linked to a large extent to assets and management and a lot happens to be in the US and Europe. I would say two-thirds of our revenue is coming from the US. The balance is kind of split evenly between Europe and the rest of the world. So it’s just not India versus the US – it’s the Middle East, Africa, and Hong Kong. It’s all very global. There is some Indian revenue as well but it’s not a significant contribution as of today.
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Tell us a bit more about your company’s policies toward human capital.
We pitch ourselves as HR solutions providers. But I would look at it more as a value system. Everyone hired in TresVista in any department has to give an aptitude test, so they need to have raw intelligence. We also believe a lot in empowering the employees and training them. On the delivery side, everybody goes through an extensive training program that is almost like a boot camp, and we are in the process of mimicking that across all non-delivery teams as well such as HR, marking, etc.
I’ll just give you some context on how important human capital is to us. We have a training team whose sole role is to focus on how we can train people better and what long-term training should look like. The training is delivered by senior people, and that training team reports to our director Vishal Shah, who’s been with us since the beginning.
We also have a professional development department in our organisation. It’s one of the departments that not just look at the best practices across departments but it makes sure there is consistency, people are well trained, they’re been utilised in the right way, they are being upskilled, etc.
Outside that and within HR, we have a very large engagement team that is not just involved in mentorship but other team engaging activities like cricket league and online hobby clubs which vary from yoga clubs to money matters to a cycling club.
A global edtech company we spoke to has HR on the board of directors and would be part of the key decision-makers. What do you think about the same?
Whether HR is on the main board or not, I would say that a senior person in HR today is much more in the crosshairs of decision-making. As for a board seat, it has a different context in different firms. In a very large firm, it is more about allocating capital, deciding what business line to enter, which country to enter, things like that and in some cases, it’s mostly operational decisions but I think in essence, the board seat is sort of an anecdotal example.
“Whether HR is on the main board or not, I would say that a senior person in HR today is much more in the crosshairs of decision-making. As for a board seat, it has a different context in different firms.”
In terms of managing a distributed workforce, are you also seeing investors commissioning enough work for you, to study this further?
I think 80 percent of firms have made some right adjustments. There is a very small minority who have gone back to the way things were before. We aren’t from that 80 percent lot. We have moved to a hybrid arrangement. Employees can be in the office 3 times a week approximately. People have seen that they can work from home, and this paved the way for a hybrid workplace that went in line. Some say you have to be in the office 5 days a week, that is a very small subset. I would say those extreme subsets are dominated by sort of the task at hand. I think there is a chance that 5 years from now we’ll all be back in the office for 5 days a week because I feel the specs of remote and hybrid work will take a while to set in and people are only going to assess how these companies are doing over time.
What has been done to manage the entire distributed workforce? Were there some investments done in the HR Investment Division?
We made investments to enable a distributed workforce like a lot of companies did. But we are not looking to be completely distributed. We have brought people back to our key locations like Pune, Bangalore, and Mumbai. However, the training is still going to be remote.
The other thing that we are able to do is to reach more colleges. With the sudden transition to remote hiring due to the pandemic, we switched to a virtual campus recruiting model. Instead of giving a presentation physically in just one college, the info sessions are compiled into pre-recorded videos to expand our reach. So, instead of hiring candidates from one place, we can recruit from different colleges from different places at the same time.
Then for the employees who are already there, we did a lot of things around mental health. We had a mental health consultant on call for all employees and their families so that everyone could have a therapy session with the professional at any time during the last year and it was completely paid for by the company.
We focus more on career progression so setting up an “out-placement cell” is quite good for a company like our size, we are over a thousand people. We are going to set up a department which is purely going to help people who want to leave TresVista 3 to 5 years down the line. We will help to place them through our connections in the industry. “We focus more on career progression so setting up an “out-placement cell” is quite good for a company like our size, we are over a thousand people. We are going to set up a department which is purely going to help people who want to leave TresVista 3 to 5 years down the line. We will help to place them through our connections in the industry.”
“We focus more on career progression so setting up an “out-placement cell” is quite good for a company like our size, we are over a thousand people. We are going to set up a department which is purely going to help people who want to leave TresVista 3 to 5 years down the line. We will help to place them through our connections in the industry.”
The out-placement department, is it already functional or you are working on it?
It’s in the building process. It’s going to take some time to be fully functional, sometime by the end of this year. It will involve everything from having good relationships with the other organisations to training people to even mock interviews. It’s a sort of career enhancement program and it’s going to give people one more reason to be at TresVista. We already have an alumni association that’s quite powerful. It’s a great place to connect with people to keep in touch. We run a panel and sessions of successful people who had left TresVista to set up their own companies and went to great colleges globally. Hence, it’s a way for the employee to connect with them.
You’ve said that you are looking to increase the workforce to 2000 this year. Are there any specific new roles or skills that you are looking for?
We are looking for people in management in our delivery department for all the service parts which I have mentioned. The CAs, The CFAs, the marketing team, and the design team are hiring. There are very few departments in TresVista that are not hiring. But I think the one which is really taking off is data analytics and software. If you are building any kind of software product or building more software capabilities that involve coding and data analytics, the demand for that has skyrocketed.
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What are your thoughts on the huge attrition rate?
If you are well-positioned where your demand is going up and you have the existing problems of not getting enough talent, then it’s a challenge. We are caught in a perfect storm of calling it a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem. Our demand for services is unprecedented, we haven’t seen this type of demand ever. We have been good payers, bad payers, and excellent payers at different levels, and we have been through recessions. Generally, things remain constant from an attrition standpoint. As we adapt to the new world where we have the hybrid setup, where people collaborate and work with colleagues outside the office, organisations will require to plan for the future of work, including workforce and employee planning, greater flexibility to talent, retention strategies, etc.
I think as things ease out, people will also realise over time that moving around from company to company is probably not the best thing.
“As we adapt to the new world where we have the hybrid setup, organisations will require to plan for the future of work, including workforce and employee planning, greater flexibility to talent, retention strategies, etc.”
You mentioned you look for talent from the premium colleges. So, is there any channel which has been opened up for talent sourcing for you in the last two years? People are now hiring from everywhere possible, has a new channel opened up for TresVista anywhere?
Before the pandemic, we had expanded the reach to colleges three-fold, and we were going to places like Jaipur, Kolkata, etc. When we were in Bombay, we primarily hired people locally. As we were going outside in search of talent, we opened an office in Pune. We even expanded our reach for colleges in the South by opening an office in Bangalore as well. But I don’t think these channels/offices have been driven by the pandemic. It’s just that with the pandemic and things being remote, we are able to do that more.
Year of Incorporation: 2006
Employee Size: 1,200
Founders: Abilash Jaikumar and Sudeep Mishra
Key Executives: Abilash Jaikumar, Sudeep Mishra, and Vishal Shah
Business Line: TresVista is a global enterprise offering a diversified portfolio of services, including investment diligence, industry research, business development, fund administration, accounting, and data analytics
Hiring Pipeline: TresVista is working toward extending its team size to over 2,000 employees by the end of this calendar year.
Workforce Pie: As a percent of total employees working in the non-delivery to delivery department is 25:75.
Key HR Factors: Every individual at TresVista experiences a steep learning curve, contributing to their success in the organisation’s growth story. The training structure proves to make all individuals into strategic thinkers, with measurable and effective guidelines. An initiative for the women in the firm is Women in TresVista (WiT), a network of women, by women, and for women providing a platform for professional and personal growth aimed toward fostering a learning culture.