Enshored’s COO Sang Won Hwang explains why building a people-first culture is key to solving the content moderation problem and protecting your brand.
Q: What kind of people are you looking for in Enshored for content moderation?
A: We are looking for people who are analytically savvy and emotionally intelligent. They have to be critical thinkers while also being creative. We’re looking for problem solvers. We are solving problems for brand risk, brand uncertainty, and value.
Q: How does your ‘people first’ culture drive productivity?
A: We have a community-based mentality. If you don’t have a community approach to this, individuals will fail much faster. If you’re isolated on your desk and just absorbing challenging content without sharing, then how do you think you’d feel? You’d feel terrible.
So we work in tight-knit groups, and we share experiences. ‘What did you see today?’ ‘How did that make you feel? And then we talk about it. We help people and take steps to empower them and overcome negativity. That talk often turns to home, and our team will share why they’re working. Some are working because they have a family to take care of or a grandma. Or they’re putting their daughters through school. And others will say, ‘I’m doing the same. It creates a natural bond of togetherness. Everyone has each other’s back.
Q: How do you look after staff at a time when content moderated services for user-generated content are fast becoming a C-suite priority?
A: Content moderators indeed get to see the worst of humanity. We’re a people-based business and believe that people should not be treated just as workers. They’re the invisible heroes of the internet that filter out the worst of human behavior. We are taking criminal acts off the Internet, and we don’t see people as just worker bees. These people are acting as curators for the visual experience. We’re moderating based on values of quality, safety, decency, and intelligence.
But our people are very motivated and they have a lot of heart and soul. Humans are built for challenge and constant complexity. That’s where we soar, and that’s why our people are the most important thing.
We take care of their psychosomatic needs. They absorb a lot of toxic material and this can sometimes manifest itself in physical illness. So we have professional psychologists that work with all the moderators. But we also use the content as motivation. We don’t see the job as removing x amount of inappropriate content. The job is to protect your child and everyone’s children and keep the Internet safe. There is a critical social mission at the heart of what we do.
It’s very much a Coach Carter approach.
“We don’t believe humans are inherently selfish. We believe humans are ultimately powerful if they can liberate their best selves. We support this through a robust management infrastructure, solid one-on-one mentoring, and intense emotional intelligence training.”
Q: Does this result in good staff retention levels?
A: Yes, it does. We have a high level of retention because of the culture and the sense of community. We pay people above market rates, and we want to work with clients with a social mission. We aim to pay people 10-15% above market rate. Why? Because we want to empower staff. That way, you get higher productivity, higher quality scores, and more alignment with your value proposition as a company.
Q: Does your journey inform these values? What attracted you to the BPO world?
A: Yes, my values do owe a lot to my upbringing. I grew up in a rice field in Korea, and my grandfather and father were rice farmers. I moved to America and went on to teach social entrepreneurship at a leading university. The issue of poverty was never far away from the discussions we would have in class, and I wanted to participate in that problem by empowering people. The area where I thought I could make the most impact was in an emerging market working for a BPO. I’m fundamentally interested in the development of people that have business implications.
Q: How do you see the role of people in content management moving forward?
A: People will always matter. The future of work in content moderation is greater transparency. We need to be open, out, and proud that we are the real people behind the brands. We are dealing with brand risk, we are in the Philippines, and we’re proud of this role. Why? Because we’re the ones protecting the world’s community from the worst of humanity.