When Technology Changes Lives: The Harambee Story

Genesys has many great customers, all using our technology to improve customer experience around the world. But some customer stories really stand out. I had the pleasure to meet and film the Harambee story. It made me realize the potential power of our technology and the life-changing impact on those who need it most.

South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, including about 6 million unemployed young adults. It’s an astonishing number. And yet, many large global firms in South Africa express frustration with having thousands of unfilled positions.

One innovative organization set out to solve this problem. Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator is a not-for-profit business that connects poverty-stricken South African youth with employers looking for entry-level talent.

Connecting businesses with qualified candidates

Bridging this gap presented unique challenges, including education, lack of experience and a complex unemployment ecosystem. Many youth, whom Harambee considers their customers, have no access to networking or a way to learn where the jobs are. Despite popular belief, there are not internet cafes on every corner.

“Our goal is to bring our customers into the formal economy by eliminating the barriers to entry and doing it in a way that can scale,” says Harambee CIO, Evan Jones. “We have had to build credibility with businesses and brand credibility with the youth.”

Harambee builds their customers’ skills by working with assessment specialists on individual aptitude, behavior change experts and job simulation at an in-house training facility. This gives the youth valuable insight into what they’ll be doing as new employees. For businesses, Harambee has unlocked new labor pools with in-demand skills and reduced attrition.

Initial success limited by scale

With a multichannel contact center and expertly run outbound campaigns, Harambee connects and matches candidates to jobs in which they’re most likely to succeed. Yet, performance couldn’t scale with manual dialing operations. They had tens of thousands of contacts but could only connect with about half of them. In addition, they had no insight into the “why” behind missed connections.

“We were having a huge drop-off after initial contact with target customers, which meant a poor use of spend at the front end of our process,” said Jones. “We wanted to have more impact on more customers.”

Advanced technology enables growth

Using Pivotal Data for deployment, Harambee selected the Genesys PureConnect solution, which enabled them to increase call volume and cut capital expenditure. They also realized higher pick-up rates, thanks to new features such as chat, advanced IVR, workforce optimization and outbound dialers. In just four months, Harambee realized a return on investment which includes:

  • Increased engagement with candidates by 32%
  • Improved workforce productivity by 45%
  • 30-time increase in outbound call volume

Today, the business spends nearly twice as much time ensuring that employers invite candidates for interviews. Attendance rates at skills assessments, training seminars, and other events are up by as much as 50%. In addition, Harambee looks forward to using social media as a way of closing the employment divide even further.

The human value behind the results

Harambee’s work has had a profound impact on me and the Customer Marketing team. In fact, it inspired a new category in the Genesys Customer Innovation Awards, “CX Gamechanger: Best Story of Making a Difference with CX Technology.” Regionally, Harambee ranks as the seventh most recognized brand in South Africa.

“When customers get that call from Harambee that they are candidates, it’s an opportunity they’ve never had in their lives,” says Jones. “That interaction means the world to them and it has the potential to be a transformative experience.”

Moving forward, the Harambee contact center will be at the center of their business model. With massive data sets, Harambee is not just servicing customers. They are also learning more about them in every interaction along their journey to employment. Plans include offering their services outside of South Africa.

Watch the video for the full Harambee story.