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Neal Meets.... Firstsource Solutions

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Laura Hourican Web

Name: Laura Hourican

Title: Head of HR UK & Ireland

Company: Firstsource Solutions

Years in Post: 6.5

Firstsource employees: 4,500 in UK with 30,000 globally  

Best thing about my job: Variety and challenges, no two days are the same

Previous jobs: Before my role in HR I worked for 7 years in retail and leisure in various management positions

Key Responsibilities: Strategic and operational HR delivery, which covers 4500 employees across eight delivery centres in UK and Ireland.

Career Highlight: Having the opportunity to travel to India

If I didn’t work in HR: Food critic!

 

 

 

  1. What are the key aims for Firstsource over the next 5 years? What challenges do these aims present to HR as a function?

 

Firstsource Solutions is a global Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company specialising in customer management services for leading UK brands. It is one of the UK’s top ten contact centre providers with four contact centres in Belfast and Derry, employing 2,365 people across the province.

 

Our aim is to become one of the two top providers in our market segment and become an employer of choice. HR has an important role to play in this development as we contribute to building a brand that employees aspire to work for.

 

 

  1. What impact does HR have on the wider Firstsource business strategy?

 

HR feeds into the business strategy from the outset, as it is integral to attracting and retaining talent across the sites. Firstsource differs from other contact centre providers because as a company we are committed to offering opportunities to employees, which help to create meaningful career paths.

 

In the last year the HR team have introduced a number of innovative schemes to benefit both employees and the business. Home working was introduced last year to expand diversity within the workforce. It enables people who have difficulty travelling to the office or who have childcare or dependents responsibilities, to work more easily. We offer more home-working opportunities than any other NI contact centre provider with over 150 employees opting to be home-based at the moment. Other flexible working schemes such as Term Time, Flexible Working and Back to School have enabled Firstsource to continue to provide excellent service to clients, boost motivation and reduce attrition rates and absenteeism.

 

  1. What are the key inhibitors to you implementing this strategy?

 

It is not so much what inhibits us but it is about getting the right balance. When moving to an organisation people assess the company, the job suitability, location, development opportunities and so on. In the HR department, we in turn need to continually review these factors and improve to set the company apart from competitors.

 

  1. How do you motivate your own team in delivering your HR strategy

 

I am very fortunate to have a great team at Firstsource who are all highly driven, have passion for what they do and are extremely motivated. I feel that it is always important to empower employees and give them ownership and responsibility to deliver results to the best of their ability.

 

  1. What impact does the wider Firstsource Group have on the site in Northern Ireland?

 

In NI we employee 2,365 people across four centres.  The growth we have experienced over the past six years shows the value that NI has to offer a global organisation. In fact, many of our innovative strategies and CSR schemes are piloted here before roll out to other regions. Being part of a wider group in turn offers excellent opportunities for career progression, empowerment and experience in a wide range of disciplines like finance, operations, IT, HR and workforce management.

 

  1. What sort of culture do you try to create for your employees and how do you go about sustaining this?

I am often asked when interviewing candidates to describe the culture at Firstsource, in short one of our six values is ‘People Centricity’, and our culture is centred on this core value. We are a people business, everything the organisation does has to have our employees at the centre of it and we like to have some fun on the way!

 

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring HR professionals to help them advance their career?

 

You need to fully understand the business you are supporting. HR needs to be fully aligned to the business strategy and is often a vital part in advising on core decisions.