Amidst digitization: Marry innovation with people

Capital One’s GM shares views on how to remain relevant in the IT-BPM industry

A growing number of consumers today are increasingly going online to purchase their goods and pay their bills. Customers are leapfrogging from traditional brick-and-mortar banks to online banking because of the flexibility and mobility it provides. Being mainly a customer-focused industry, players in the Philippine information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sector are developing ways to become a top-of-mind organization amidst the changing landscape it serves.

General Manager Paul Townsend of Capital One Philippines Support Services Corp. (COPSSC), the global business process services arm of US-based Capital One Financial Corp., has barely served eleven months in his office, but he has been paying attention to the arduous demand to stay relevant amid the fast-evolving requests and preferences of its clientele.

Townsend mentioned marrying innovation and people as a critical response to the gradual complexity of client behaviours. “Deepening the organization’s core competencies and creating a people-led ecosystem are imperatives that need to be married in order to properly respond to clients in need for speed. Indeed, as we expand our core offerings to expand our service portfolio, it is also vital to give priority to the engine of every IT-BPM service: our people,” Townsend shared.

Townsend explained that IT-BPM companies need to develop how their people interact with their clients, updating and arming them with the necessary skills and technology in dealing with customers. He stressed the need to implement a strategy that will ensure a talent pool and a company that are adaptive in a highly competitive and digitized IT-BPM environment.

“We need ‘armed’ talents who can adapt to the changes in the industry and who can effectively respond to the needs and demands of varying clients,” Townsend shared.

People-focused strategy and the amazing talent

COPSSC serves as the business process outsourcing and servicing centre of Capital One Financial Corp., one of the 10 largest banks by deposits in the United States. Having to deal with varying customer profiles based in the US, , COPSSC maintains a people-strategy that ensures the delivery of quality client management. Such a people-focused strategy is defined by key programs that boost the well-being of COPSSC associates.

Chief among these programs are high-impact trainings that upskill COPSSC employees. COPSSC associates undergo regular employee development courses that cover all critical BPO domains and bring about reliability to the work. Performance management cycles allow COPSSC to gauge an employee’s current performance and track his progress in his work.

COPSSC also boasts of employee facilities that promote work-life balance. Stimulating workstations were put into place to provide associates with an environment where they can meaningfully interact with their colleagues and clients. Facilities such as quiet sleeping rooms, nursing rooms, a meditation room, as well as a gym and entertainment centers facilitate the health and work well-being of employees.

““If you bring about people who operate with competency and credibility, supplemented with a safe and creative environment where they can perform well and explore new possibilities – it births a company that takes care of itself. Putting up innovations is the start button to keep you ahead. But key to driving results from these innovations is the people – the amazing Filipino talent,” shared Townsend.

He added that COPSSC’s infrastructures are capped off by the innate qualities of its people. He shared that one thing that makes the organization a standout is the dedication of its people to provide great service.

“We often get feedback from our customers that they can hear our associates ‘smiling’ through the phone. One can have a standout plan with the best strategies. But it all boils down to execution. And who can better execute them but our talented people,” Townsend shared.

All about ‘us’

COPSSC started its operations with over 2,200 employees, and it still plans to grow its employee headcount by another 10-12% by end of this year to support growing business needs. With a massive workforce size to overlook, Townsend stressed the importance of a participative style of management, which he learned early on in his career.

“When I was leading a small group in the US, there was a woman I was working with whom we asked about her work experience. She shared a lot about the daily grind but as we ended the conversation, I reached out to give her a freebie and she said, ‘we need tools not trinkets.’ That has stayed with me and has helped me become a better team captain, constantly listening to know their beat so we can respond to their needs,” Townsend said.

Indeed, since his arrival in the Philippines last October 2013, he lost no time walking through every single floor in the Alabang office in Muntinlupa City, visiting associates in their workstations to personally talk to them and hear their daily pulse. Together with his senior leadership team, he arranges regular get-togethers and town halls to ensure a participative culture among the associates.

“There’s a continuing dialogue here at COPSSC, encouraging them to tell us what we can do to better our work. We also share with them the organization’s vision so we move in the same direction. In the end, it’s not the “I” but the ‘us’ that makes the team advance to success. We’re making banking support services more human and simple. Here it’s not just mechanical talk, it’s also becoming part of a family,” Townsend shared.

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