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Human Competence Master Standards (HCMS)

Professional Excellence in BPO finally defined & coded.
Across 21 capability spheres. In over 150 professional attributes.

HCMS21 Through The Years…

BCI’s birth was an upshot of the birth of the Human Competence Master Standards (HCMS) a little more than a decade back. That was Release 1.0 of the Human Competence Master Standards (HCMS) for Agents and call center executives. The advent of BCI HCMS heralded a new era in international BPO service provider industry as it was the world’s very first set of service-provider dedicated competence standards/ benchmarks for Agents who were working on even non-voice-based services like transaction processing and Finance and Accounting. The approval of HCMS as a credentialing base by the BPO Professional Certifications Council at the turn of the millennium, spurred HCMS to establish the world’s very first universal pre-certification assessment system under an independent examination body – the Human Competence Examination Board, popular as HCEB among BCI partners. Needless to say, HCMS has kept evolving at a pace as scorching as the pace at which the BPO industry has transformed over the years.

Starting off with 14 competence and professional capability parameters for only the Agent/ Associate level operatives in late nineties, the HCMS today enunciates professional standards across 21 competence attributes and professional pre-requisites (and hence HCMS21) and covers all six levels of BPO operatives and functionaries – from business & functional leaders and mangers to team leaders, senior associates and fresh, young service officers and agents.

Here’s a run-down on how the HCMS 1.0 has evolved into HCMS21 Release 3.5:

HCMS Version

Year of Launch/ Introduction

Professional Levels covered/ Added

HCMS14 - Release - 1.0
(codenamed BigLeap Standards in 1999)


For Senior Associates working on inbound voice-based customer service processes as well as on non-voice transaction and back-office processes.

HCMS14 - Release 2.0


ADDED: for Senior Associates working on voice-based tele-sales/ marketing processes.

HCMS14 - Release 2.1- HCMS14 - Release 2.3


ADDED: for Senior Associates working on non-voice finance & accounting and technical helpdesk processes; Team Leaders; Operations Manager.

HCMS14 - Release 2.4


ADDED: for Training Manager, Quality Manager and People Manager; pan-domain applicability.

HCMS14 - Release 2.5


ADDED: FOUR new standards added for Manager-Level Certifications

HCMS14 - Release 2.6


ADDED: FOUR new standards added for fresher level; non-voice-based for technical support services; pan-domain applicability.

HCMS14 - Release 2.7
(First Market Release Version)


ADDED: for Operations Leader; pan-domain applicability.

HCMS18 - Release 2.8


ADDED: for Quality Leader and People Leader; pan-domain applicability

HCMS18 - Release 2.9


ADDED: TWO new standards added for People Leader

HCMS20 - Release 3.0


ADDED: for Business Leader; pan-domain applicability

HCMS21 - Release 3.1


ADDED: ONE new standard added for Business Leader with a condition that these credentials will only be honorary and awarded upon invitation.

HCMS21 - Release 3.2


MODIFIED: Assessment Structures for Team leader and Manager Level Certifications. Referee reports added as an assessment component.

HCMS21 - Release 3.3


MODIFIED: Assessment Structures for Specialist Level certifications rationalized; referee reports added as an assessment component for upgrade-registrants; new skill-sets added to Manager-level certifications to make them relevant even for non-BPO professionals

HCMS21 - Release 3.4


ADDED: ONE new standard provisionally added for BPO Master Trainers;
MODIFIED: Entry level certifications in Finance & Accounting (CFPA™) and Transaction Processing (CBPA™) underwent restructuring in core modules.

HCMS21 - Release 3.5


MODIFIED:Transaction Processing (CBPA™) certification renamed CBSA™ - after BackOffice Services – replacing the Transaction Processing term. The Business Leader Certification was restructured and released for open offer. Standards-bits added in all levels for Impact Sourcing versions of certifications.

So that’s how the BCI Human Competence Master Standards evolved over the years. This latest version has 6 sets of professional/ human competence standards corresponding to one each for Business Leader, Functional Leaders, Managers, Team Leaders, Sr. Associates, and Fresh, entry level associates/ agents. Each of these sets has standards spelt across 21 role-critical knowledge- and competence- attributes and the HCEB has structured methodologies for pre-credentialing assessments for these levels.

To know more about how HCMS21 can help your organization transform workforce quality, please write at   or

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