What is your position at Gorkana and what does this entail? My role has evolved several times and in its current form involves running the day to day operations of 3 teams, planning, setting targets and ensuring consistency of delivery across the group.
The database feedback team deals with incoming enquiries from customers, the search team writes Boolean strings to support customer briefs, and the Quality Assurance role involves ensuring a consistency of delivery in terms of product to our customers in the monitoring line of business, so each area requires my attention and input in a different way. One of the key parts of my role has been to introduce and implement processes which ensures that we appropriately plan and set achievable targets, and have key metrics in place, measurable data and KPI’s which help to improve the efficiency and impact of the customer service team.
I work closely with the customer service team and product teams across the group to ensure a consistent quality of product delivery, and from a technical perspective ensure customers are receiving and viewing correct/appropriate content, and that internal production processes are consistent and measurable. I also work with our Chief Technology Officer on development issues, Director of Product Development, the Customer Service team management, Analysis Operations & Database Management teams, and the heads of the Production department Susie & Huw.
What do you enjoy most about your job? On the 15th Sept 2014 I will be celebrating 15 years with the business, and I still enjoy working here. First of all I love a challenge and hate being bored, and I can state unequivocally that there is very rarely a boring day at the Gorkana Group. Secondly I am blessed to work with some very talented people, and not just that they’re nice too! Decent and pleasant people. I genuinely enjoy coming into work every day. In fact I recently cancelled a day’s holiday to come in and help out on a project – it wasn’t a hardship, and no one asked me to do it, but there was an issue to be resolved and I knew I could lend a hand. It’s that type of place and I know that most of my colleagues would have done the same thing. In short I guess you could say that I like to be challenged, constantly stimulated, and work with creative people that deliver results, and that’s exactly what you can expect to find here.
How would you describe the culture of the business? In 3 words: Focused, Entrepreneurial and Evolving. There is a constant drive for achievement, but without the constraints of an overly corporate environment. The business has very high standards and each individual is aware of and dedicated to reaching the bar they are expected to meet, but unlike other businesses we have the flexibility and openness to change. It’s a very agile mentality, constantly seeking to improve and develop, and in order to optimise you cannot be afraid to innovate. Here we have the freedom, support and ability to do this, at a high level, and as a result over the past 15 years we have continuously seen the evolution of the business as it has adapted to technological advances, product innovations and structural changes. In terms of the atmosphere within the offices you can definitely feel the impressions of our client industries. We are not free spirited media, or the glitz and glamour of PR, but there are influences and hints of this in the workplace. It’s a very long way from working in a corporate bank for example.
What’s the biggest perk of working here? I know it sounds a bit geeky, but I just cannot get over the fact that I get to investigate things that really interest me, and I get paid to do it. I love my job, and the subject matter is such that if I would be reading the same publications and interacting with the same individuals regardless of whether it were under the guise of work or not. I also truly feel like my opinion is valued within the business, I love to share knowledge and as part of my role I get to communicate and translate complex ideas to people of various levels within the business. Seeing the light in their eyes as they finally understand the technical complexities and solutions I have created gives me a buzz every time.
How have you progressed your career so far since joining Gorkana? Wow – I’ll need to go back a long way with this. So first off I started as a night reader in the production team, and not long after I joined the team diversified to also take on some summariser responsibilities. After about 2.5 yrs I was getting a little tired of the night shift though and so requested a move to days, again working as a summariser and reader. I’m the type of person that is always wanting to do more and develop my own skills so after a little while I jumped at the opportunity to join the quality assurance dept, and once I understood the business better I was able to pursue a technical role called Search Manager. This was a fantastic role and the one in which I feel I was really able to leave my mark. Basically I created and built the search team, and introduced measurement processes to this area of the business. Both the team and I then matured in line with the business expectations and began to introduce six sigma techniques that meant we were better able to measure performance and show continuous improvement. As a result of our input error rates were reduced from 10% to a measly 0.008%. My next challenge was then to take on the day to day management of the Quality Assurance team, in addition to my other duties, and so I replicated what I done previously in terms introduced better targeting and measurable KPI’s, spending time focused on mentoring the team, and understanding of outcomes / structure and organisation, which has in itself paid dividends. Then last year the decision was taken to migrate the database feedback team from our news team to customer service, so I absorbed the day to day operational management of this team in addition the the other two already under my command. For the last year I have been up-skilling staff, training them on how to analyse and measure data, how to become effective people managers etc, and we have seen some fantastic results. We have reduced the time taken to resolve issues, and improved morale internally. Now I am proud to say that I am the manager of three autonomous and well run teams. In view of this achievement and the fact that I feel I have turned a corner in the past year it is inevitable that I started to seek out my next challenge, which has actually just been confirmed. Starting in June I will take on the role of Customer Experience Manager, which will benefit from my strengths in terms of organisation and structure, but develop my skill set in different areas because I will be performing a more customer facing role. It’s a challenge I am really looking forward to rising to, and have no doubt that it won’t be my last within the business.
Why do you think someone should choose to work here rather than anywhere else? For those that seek it and are not afraid of hard work there is always opportunity in this business. Plus you have the opportunity to work with incredibly talented people. I would also say that it is a place where you can achieve own goals and get involved in very interesting and fulfilling projects. You can come in and have fun with colleagues, but know that everyone you are working with is focused, hard working and committed to getting the best possible results. When I interview for my team I make the point that this is the type of business where expectations are high, and so those coming in need to be at the top of their game and ready to rise yet further. For those that step up the opportunities are endless – and I’m proof of that.